Van Halen Concerts Suck According To Sammy Hagar
If you believe Sammy Hagar, every upcoming Van Halen concert will occur after a too-long of a bus ride or a night with a faulty thermostat.
On July 5, the 2015 Van Halen tour of North America gets underway in Seattle, Washington at the White River Amphitheatre. Their tour concludes Oct. 2 at the Hollywood Bowl.
The band has scheduled 39 dates in a route that will have Van Halen crisscrossing the continent.
On July 20, look for Van Halen at Red Rocks.
On August 7, they’ll be in Toronto for a show at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre.
Washington D.C. welcomes the band to Jiffy Lube Live on Aug. 29.
Van Halen begins their return westward on Aug. 21 with a performance in Austin—it’s their first of three shows in Texas.
They San Diego on Sept. 30.
In case you’re wondering, this tour, like the last, will feature David Lee Roth on vocals. For most bands, the lead singer is usually the lone constant, but with Van Halen you never know.
Also on board are the usually subjects of guitarist Eddie Van Halen and drummer Alex Van Halen. Bass duties will once again fall to Eddie’s son, and Alex’s nephew, Wolfgang.
Van Halen is not touring to support a new studio album but a live one.
The live album dropped March 31 and is called Tokyo Dome Live In Concert. It was recorded June 21, 2013 at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. The show was part of their 2012-2013 “A Different Kind of Truth Tour.”
It’s Van Halen’s second live album overall and amazingly their first with Roth.
Eddie wanted to do something Van Halen-ish but realized a studio album was out of the question–both his son and Roth were off doing their own things.
He wanted to remix and release some demos but he couldn’t find the original tapes. They’ve slipped into rock’s irretrievable dustbin.
Eddie thought about doing something with recordings from the band’s “club days,” but the recording quality made such a project problematic.
He finally decided to produce a live record.
Back when musicians walked uphill in the snow, both ways, to the studio, to make a live record you needed a lot of equipment, a lot of manpower, and a lot of set-up time. Nowadays, you just hook Pro Tools to the console and click record. Thanks to this digital technology, Van Halen has recorded hundreds of their shows.
While this massive catalog is priceless to Van Halen fans, it’s a giant time-suck for anyone tasked to listen to them all and find the best cuts for an album.
To streamline the process, the band asked Dave to pick one Van Halen concert.
“Alex, Wolfgang, and I were pretty consistent every night. For a singer it’s more difficult. Because if the bus ride is too long, or you slept with the air conditioner on or the heater on and your throat is [messed] up, [it can change one’s voice].” — Eddie Van Halen
Dave suggested the band use their Tokyo Dome show. His decision was supported by the fact that there was no opening act that night and the band played longer than usual—nearly two hours.
Bob Clearmountain mixed the album and it contains 25 tracks.
The Las Vegas Review Journal put flame to fuse when they asked former Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar what he thought of the live album:
“They’ve got some pretty rough vocals… Standing back, I’m just going, ‘What the (expletive) are these guys thinking?’”
That’s some caustic criticism especially considering Roth selected the recording thus suggesting that he picked a night when he sounded the best.
“I’m trying to tread lightly on the whole thing. Every time they do something, I’m like, ‘Oh my god, can these guys do anything worse to their reputation and to the level of the music of the band?’”
That’s damning criticism but perhaps Hagar’s haranguing is nothing more than the by-product of bitterness and grudges. Meanwhile, Frank Hannon, guitarist for Tesla, who has no axe to grind with the Van Halens, thinks a bit differently.
"If you are a fan of truly 'live' albums, as I am, and have stated, this album rules!”
Hannon gushes about Eddie’s “guitar tones” but does issue a cryptic review of Roth’s role. He echoes Hagar’s sentiment although with far less vitriol…
“As for Dave, well, he's included a six-page book with lyrics to read the words he don't sing… and to hear him tell of the spotlight operator in 'Ice Cream Man' is priceless, not to mention all the Japanese BS he rambles.”
We can extrapolate from Hagar’s and Hannon’s observations that Roth is riding the bus too much and/or needs to fix the environmental controls of his sleeping quarters. Then again, who wouldn’t be the weakest link in a band with three Van Halens?
Van Halen will be touring with Kenny Wayne Shepard.
Eddie believes that after the band’s upcoming tour they’ll assemble in the studio to cut another album. The guitarist says the band has enough material, it’s just a matter of getting everyone together.
Van Halen’s last studio album, A Different Kind of Truth, dropped in February of 2012.
In the meantime, enjoy remastered reissues of the band’s classic albums Van Halen and 1984. Those reissues also dropped on the last day of March. The rest of Van Halen’s catalog with Roth at the helm will also be remastered and reissued. Look for that batch to come out later this spring.
Thanks to Joe Bielawa for the photo.
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