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Great to see the original Van Halen in Toronto!

This was an outstanding show, with a lot of deep cuts from the first batch of original Van Halen albums– the David Lee Roth era. Some Van Halen fans hate Dave, some hate Sammy, but I like them both! The band made great music in both eras, and a lot of these songs will stand the test of time – both hits and deep cuts alike.

Mixed bag of feelings regarding not having Mike Anthony in the band, but to see Ed be able to play with his son was a sight to behold (and Wolfie has talent that’s off the charts).  It’s great to see Eddie play with such joy. Wolfie did a good job with the vocals, but the songs did miss some of what Mike Anthony’s vocals originally brought to the table.

Was able to pick up on the set list ahead of time as it was on the monitor mix board – I can comfortably share here as the tour is long over:P1090610 This was a fantastic set list!

Sure, the guys are older, the screams and jumps not as high, but there was a lot of passion on stage this night:

P1090633Dave and Eddie have had their battles over the years, but seem to have a good rapport onstage. The focus was on giving fans a great show:

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Eddie was sober, and was playing all those signature guitar parts very close to the recorded versions. Even back when I originally saw Van Halen a couple of times at the old London Treasure Island Gardens Ed was straying, sometimes markedly, from the recorded solos.  Unfortunately, what I saw Eddie with Sammy and the band in 2004 he strayed wildly from the recorded solos in many cases (and from what I understand the show I saw in Toronto was nowhere near as bad as some others later in the tour).

P1090650Dave is a little less over-the-top, but still brings his trademark swagger and attitude.

P1090685Oh, and don’t forget ego (a GOOD thing, IMHO)!!

P1090702it all mixed together very well. And, overall, this was easily the best I’ve ever seen Van Halen perform. Yes, there was a lot more fire back in the day, but it was great that precise musicianship ruled the day!

P1090715 I have to be honest, Dave can’t hit all the high notes anymore (but he was sober too – and there are a lot of YouTube videos of him from the old days where he was not, and what that did to the vocal performances – Everybody Wants Some from the US Festival being maybe the best example!), and his voice is not quite as strong as it used to be.  But didn’t Eddie once say vocals are only an opportunity to break take a break between guitar solos!

Still, I did not mind at all, the essence of the songs was still there, and it was a real privilege to be able to see these guys together again.

P1090732 Eddie played one guitar for most of the night, the new Wolfie Special (with a rosewood fingerboard!) if I’m not mistaken. He did play a red Frankenstrat on “I Will Wait” (and “I Will Wait” really took on a life of its own live).

P1090735Ease the seat back…

P1090753 Got to admit, Wolfie looks so much like Valerie and dad – no question about being switched at birth here!

P1090775 It was kind of hard to see Alex Van Halen from where I was sitting, but was able to get some decent shots during his drum solo.

P1090810 P1090820Alex looked well and played solid. Have to admit, there is going to be some real truth to the notion that siblings can have a real special musical bond and simpatico.

P1090826The red button on Ed’s guitar is a “Kill Switch” that c that cuts the signal to silence to produce that rapid on-off staccato effect that you hear an “You Really Got Me”.

P1090911 Dave still loves the applause – and he got a lot!

P1090918 P1090920 Here’s Ed on a white Frankenstrat during the opening to “Women in Love” (which was another highlight live!):

P1090938Everybody seemed to be having even more fun as the show progressed!

P1100037 P1100046Dave hammed it up during “Ice Cream Man”, but also took some time to show some video of his Border Collie’s herding Sheep, which is something that Dave apparently competes in regularly!  Got to hand it to Dave, he can sure pick some diverse hobbies.

P1100076 P1100101 I was happy to see Eddie concentrate so much on his solo. It was fantastic!

P1100143 Tapping up a storm!

P1100148 Yep, that’s Dave!

P1100185 P1100187Again, it was great to see Eddie so into this show.

P1100218I love it when I see a band have this much fun on stage:

P1100228 P1100230 P1100232There were some great moments with just Ed and his son jamming it out:

P1100234 P1100235 And the show ended with a fun version of “Jump”:

P1100251Was very disappointed to hear that they had canceled the final leg of this tour as I had great seats for the show that had been booked for London Ontario. Since that cancellation the band has played a string of dates in Australia and Japan, as well as two shows this summer in the States. Hopefully a more extensive tour will follow, as I would recommend seeing these guys live to any fan, I would love to see them again myself!

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