Some observations about the Van Halen concert in Charlotte

Van_lHow much do you love the ’80s (and late ’70s)? Probably enough to notice that Van Halen have just launched a 40-date tour with David Lee Roth. In fact, they’re already three shows in and they haven’t broken up yet! For a review of the Charlotte concert on Sept. 27— the band’s first with Roth in almost 23 years — check out Friday’s issue of EW. In the meantime, I present eight points of interest from kickoff night.

(1) Sobriety seems to be treating Mr. Squealy well. Yessir, at age 52, Ed shreds.

(2) Things that David Lee Roth played: Maracas, tambourine, guitar, harmonica. Things that David Lee Roth rode like a bull: Oversize inflatable microphone.

(3) Wolfgang Van Halen is the best 16-year-old replacement bassist for a major rock band that I’ve ever heard. If we unqualify that, he’s still pretty good.

(4) That said, we must have a moment of silence for this tour’s lack of Michael Anthony-ness. Mikey, if that upcoming tour with Sammy Hagar doesn’t pan out, you can play the hell out of your Jack Daniels bass and sing like an metal angel at my house anytime. (Sundays and Mondays are no good for me.  Also Thursdays.)

(5) Number of bass drums in Alex Van Halen’s drum set: Don’t know; lost count after four.

(6) Number of punches Eddie and Dave threw at each other: 0. Number of happy-good-time looks they threw at each other: A lot. To quote from Women And Children First, could this be magic? And if so, will Lloyd’s of London insure it?

(7) (WARNING: Set list spoilers ahead.) The Top 5 Oh-Man-I-Can’t-Believe-They’re-Playing-That! Surprises: 1. "Atomic Punk" 2. "I’m the One" 3. "Little Guitars" 4. "I’ll Wait" 5. "So This Is Love?"

(8) Before the show started, I decided to play a little game called Spot As Many Rock Band T-Shirts As You Can. Here’s what the fans were wearing: Van Halen (duh), David Lee Roth (semi-duh), The Atomic Punks (amazing Roth-era VH cover band, by the way), Ratt, Motley Crue, Judas Priest, Def Leppard, Black Sabbath, Down, Rush, Godsmack, Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Tesla, KISS, Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Foreigner, Alice In Chains, Boston, Pantera, Guns N Roses, Black Label Society, Metallica, Styx, Dave Matthews Band, Journey, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, The Police, Grateful Dead, Triumph, The Allman Brothers Band, Testament, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Keith Urban (really?) and Run DMC (really?). I did also see someone in a protest t-shirt that read "It Ain’t Van Halen Without Michael Anthony," and there was a picture of Anthony on a milk carton with the slogan "Got Mike?" Made me chuckle. Poignantly.

What are your thoughts on this plus-Roth-minus-Anthony tour, PopWatchers? What songs are you dying to hear? And if you went to one of the first few VH shows, did your world get rocked again? What’s the most random band shirt you’ve worn to a concert?

addCredit(“Van Halen: Kevin Mazur/”)


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  • mark in nyc

    I am seeing VH on Nov 13th at MSG and am very excited. I saw them once when I was about 16 in the 80’s, but got drunk and passed out missing most of the concert. Can’t wait to hear the Hot for Teacher, and Panama…..very happy to see thye are plaing ICe Cream Man…that is my goto song when I play my acustic guitar.
    “I reach down between my legs…ease the seat back….”

  • –Josh

    I’m glad the show was good, but so were the Cherone shows. After all of their BS I refuse to go to this supposed re-union with Eddie’s middle-school kid replacing Michael Anthony. Van Halen? More like Van Hanson.

  • Melissa

    Come on, everyone knows you don’t wear the concert T of the concert you’re going to! And of a different band?!? Pfffffttttt.

  • Q

    VH ROX!! I wish he was playing the Kramer tho! I LUV that hockey stick lookin guitar.

  • Joe C

    As an 80’s child, this is the reunion(along with the Police) I really wanted. Van Halen’s last tour with Diamond Dave opened here in Tampa, back in 1984! ‘Jump’ was just hitting the radio. I didn’t go, but I thought I’d have many more chances. Well, it’s been 24 years now, lol! Van Halen came here several times with Sammy, but I wasn’t interested. Hopefully they’ll include Tampa on the second leg….

  • Tracy

    I was one of the lucky millions (that’s what it seemed like) there at the Charlotte concert. I got tickets for my husband and I and went expecting a so-so time. I’ll be the first to say that I wasn’t a huge fan of VH. Wellll…..let me say that has changed! Great show, the guys looked good, and guess what? It doesn’t matter that Eddie brought his boy, because as a group, they totally rocked the arena. I can also report that I saw more grown men crying, high-fiving and air guitaring than I have ever seen in my life. Get tickets if you can, and ladies, it will turn your 40ish husband into a 16 year old quicker than anything on this earth.

  • cRAIG

    i’ll be at the Garden show as well. here’s hoping they’re still “On Fire”…

  • Jay

    I used to wear shirts of the band I was going to see in concert — until every show I went to ended up with me interacting with someone who’d seen “PCU” (“Don’t be that guy…”).
    I purposely wore my Van Halen shirt to the Greensboro show because I don’t really like “PCU” anuyway, and, thankfully, nobody went Jeremy Piven on me. Besides, people who buy shirts at the show immediately put them on. Isn’t that the same thing?
    [steps down from soap box] That said, the show is amazing. If you’re anything of an old school Van Halen fan, it’s worth every penny.

  • Ames

    Is there a rational reason why Michael Anthony isn’t on tour? I’ve only heard vague “Eddy decreed it” reasons. How do they hit the harmonies without him?

  • Stephanie T.

    I did not like PCU when I saw it in a movie theater…the I went to college. What was in the movie is an exaggeration but even in junior college, everyone had their “sections” so to speak. With that being said, why is David Lee Roth dressing like Doctor Teeth?!

  • Anonymous


  • TV Addict

    I once wore a shirt with a picture of a pink colored Sigmund Freud on it to a Pink Floyd concert. “Pink Freud”. Some stoned concert goer was so impressed he gave me $30 for it. Yes I watched the entire concert shirtless.

  • Stephanie T.

    I don’t think that I have worn band shirts at concerts, though I am most likely going to wear my blue Robert Smith T (not concert) when The Cure comes to MSG on 6/20. However, my boyfriend did wear a REM shirt when we saw REM in concert three years ago.

  • Winona

    I’ve *never* worn a band t-shirt to that particular band’s concert. Duh, you know I like you, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. I have worn Beatles shirts to other concerts, though. But seeing as I’m temporarily unemployed (and I didn’t want to deal with what I thought was the inevitable implosion of the tour and therefore ticket refunds), I didn’t get tickets. I just might regret that decision.
    And Snierson, the Atomic Punks are indeed awesome – I’ve sung on stage with them twice!

  • Dinkydunc

    I saw Van Halen on the 1984 tour when I was 13 and all I could think when I heard about the reunion tour was please don’t let David Lee Roth wear the chaps this go-round…

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