Well what can be said that hasn’t already been said? It had been some twenty eight years but finally Van Halen with David Lee Roth at the helm returned to Buffalo for the first time since 1984, Friday evening. The buzz around town made this a highly sought after ticket.
After a few days off, the boys decided to open the show with The Kinks cover “You Really Got” as it had done earlier on in the tour (the past few shows featured “Unchained” as the opener.) For the fans who never had the chance to experience Van Halen with Roth, they were treated to some new material from the bands’ latest offering A Different Kind Of Truth. Songs like “She’s A Women”, the single “Tattoo” and “Chinatown” did not sound out of place mixed into the set right beside the old standards. The band also dished out some tunes that no one ever thought they would see in concert such as “Women In Love” and “Girl Gone Bad”.
Roth is still the entertainer, the man behind the mike, could not help but ask the crowd “Is it Ladies Night In Buffalo?”. Of course the crowd ate it up as he made the quick reference to one of his solo songs from his past. When Roth wasn’t telling a story or sliding around on his mat center stage, he was smiling and interacting with the crowd. While Roth’s voice may not be what it once was, it did seem to improve as the show went on.
Besides Roth the band featured the three Van Halen’s. Of course guitarist Eddie along with his brother Alex on drums, and Eddie’s son Wolfgang on bass. Original bassist, Michael Anthony was not asked to join when the band first re-united in 2007. It felt great to hear songs that the band had not performed during the Hagar era. “Beautiful Girls”, “Dance The Night Away” and “Unchained” alone were worth the price of admission.
The show seemed to really hit its stride when the band first delved into their classic 1984 release. “I’ll Wait” appended by as what Roth referred to as “Diamond Dave’s Day Care Center” aka “Hot For Teacher”, really seemed to be the a high point of the show leading up to the moment many really came for. The other imperative piece to the puzzle that made the whole night magical, Mr. Edward Van Halen. Eddie looked rejuvenated and had not sounded this good in quite a while. As Eddie started his solo, all eyes were fixed on him as he sat on the steps leading up to the drums. After an amazing solo that featured “Eruption”, it was vintage Eddie as coming out of the solo, he played the familiar riff of “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love” that brought the First Niagara Center audience out of their seats. Dave shouted encore to the crowd and obliged with “Jump” to bring the bash to an end. As the confetti shower rained down, Dave flew a huge checkered flag signaling the end of the gala.
The return of “Diamond” Dave and a revitalized Eddie Van Halen to Buffalo was a triumph. Many people will be talking about this show for years to come. Especially with two or perhaps even three generations of families in the crowd. Those who were indecisive if they should have attended this show have to be having a hard time sitting down right now!
You Really Got Me
Runnin’ With the Devil
She’s The Woman
Everybody Wants Some!!
Somebody Get Me A Doctor
Hear About It Later
Oh, Pretty Woman
The Trouble with Never
Dance The Night Away
Hot For Teacher
Women In Love
Girl Gone Bad
Ice Cream Man
Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love
Special Thanks to Anna Loynes for the Photo Pass
Also Special Thanks to Ray Halm for the use of some of his photos