The Van Halen show

So after all that waiting, the concert was last night. It was…not everything I’d hoped, but damned close.

The Good:

  • Eddie was sober.
  • Eddie got his tone back. New amps + cable + proto EVH Wolfgang sounded wonderful.
  • Eddie was in shape.
  • Alex was in shape.
  • Dave was in amazing shape.
  • Truly classic setlist. (“So This Is Love” was a nice surprise.)
  • No bass solo!
  • Two Charvels (both to go to eBay, no doubt to be bought by overzealous rich middle-aged guys), and a little Frankie for “Little Guitars.”
  • Eddie and Dave smiling and goofing around. I don’t care if it was scripted. My heart leapt.
  • Mike Weigand went with me and we had fun spending time together.

The Bad:

  • Bad house mix — Genesis sounded great in the same space a few months ago…
  • I don’t remember seeing Michael Anthony.
  • Wolfgang has all the stage presence of a walrus…
  • …And twice the body weight. Kid just looked unhealthy in comparison to the ripped geezers. Now we know where all the brown M&Ms went.
  • Wolfgang is not living in Michael Anthony’s shadow so much as his dad’s. The striped bass, complete with poorly routed humbucker and reflectors on the back, was more than a bit much.
  • Wolfgang flashed a bumper sticker on the back of his bass that said “I can barely see the road” when Dave sang same lyric in “Panama,” and Dave stopped to plug the fact that you could buy that sticker before you left the show.
  • Eddie only pulled out Frankenstein for the encore.
  • Ed’s solo was just uninteresting. I hate to say it, the tone was there, but it really sounded like random wankery this time.
  • Surrounded by trailer trash and women who wanted to be MILFs but just weren’t.

I’m glad I went. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss it. I had fun. But it wasn’t transcendent, though it could have been if the sound mix was up to snuff. I’d love to see (or rather hear) a DVD. And I hope they make good on the promise of doing an album.

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