Show Reviews

REVIEW: VAN HALEN AT TD BANKNORTH GARDEN IN BOSTON, MARCH 11, 2012

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Not at all from the show reviewed herein. More pics from the band’s NYC gig a couple of weeks earlier here.

Van Halen has been one of those bands I’ve loved since I was very little, even if I didn’t know it. “How can that be?” you ask? Well, it’s kind of an embarrassing story.

Growing up in Europe in the ‘90s opened the door to many, many, MANY bad styles of music for me. Dance, techno, house… basically anything that falls under the “nn-tss nn-tss nn-tss” banner. A lesser evil among those bands was Apollo 440, who had a song called “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Dub”:

I think you can see where I’m going with this. I loved the guitar intro they had so much that when I finally heard “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love,” I went, “VAN HALEN SAMPLED APOLLO 440?!” Shameful, I know. I was nine if that helps my case at all.

Honestly, even if you don’t really like them, Van Halen are worth seeing. They put on a good show, simple as that. You get what you pay for with Van Halen. David Lee Roth, whom I hereby re-dub “Dandy Dave,” was his usual cocky, schmucky (but in a charming way) self. He just looked so good in his shiny pants and cabbie hat! No one does stage banter like he does, and he treated us to a lovely story of how, when he was seven years old and living in Boston by the Mass. General Hospital, he got catcalled by the transvestite prostitutes from the prison next door. Awww.

It was also nice to see Wolfgang Van Halen all grown out of his emo sullen phase. Just grinning and keeping up with his dad and uncle. He was just precious.

The set-list had maybe more new stuff than I would’ve like, but I get it, they have an album to promote. I actually enjoyed “She’s the Woman” way more than the band’s new single, “Tattoo.” It sounds a lot more like vintage Van Halen and is damn catchy.

But the classics were there, too: “Runnin’ with the Devil,” “You Really Got Me,” “Pretty Woman,” “Hot for Teacher,” “Dance the Night Away,” “Panama,” and “Hang’em High,” which they hadn’t performed since 1982. Alex and Eddie each had their solos, as did Dave, sort of — the crowd was treated to a clip of DLR and his dogs before the band went into “Ice Cream Man.” That was a little odd, but I like doggies, so whatever. And  rousing version of “Jump,” complete with sparkles and cannons and confetti, served as the grand finale, a perfect ending of over-the-top cheesiness at which you cannot help but smile.

I can’t reiterate how much fun Van Halen shows are. This is exactly the reason why I go to concerts; to experience that delirious happiness at hearing the songs you love live while being surrounded by like-minded people who’d rather be there than anywhere else. Even if they are crushing you and stamping on your limbs. Those are the best bruises (and sometimes breaks).

And P.S. — Kool and the Gang were a great choice to hype up the crowd for Van Halen. Who doesn’t like some funk? They got even the huge guy in the Manowar shirt with a mullet to (jungle) boogie.

-LF

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