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