Sunday, March 9, 2008

Party On The Pass: Monarch

Wanting to mix it up, I went for some old and some new tunes.

I "attended" two VH concerts this weekend, the first happening in the driveway in front of the house Friday night. They were appearing at the Starwood in Hollywood, CA on June 30, 1976. The early club scene when VH was beginning to make a name for itself. They sang a bunch of songs I had not heard before as well as some classics that made it onto their first album that came out in 1978. Dave was rappin' with the audience even back them.

I went skiing at Monarch Sunday, driving up the night before. Several inches of fresh snow made for some mighty fine skiing, searching for the deeper untracked powder amongst the trees most of the day. A great little ski area alongside Monarch Pass, with cheap lift tickets and short lift lines. Flurries early and late in the day, with the sun and blue sky breaking out for a short time late that morning. Although much farther away than the Summit County ski areas, when you factor the traffic time into the equation, the drive to Monarch was not that bad. It helps if you drive like a madman too.

I pulled into the Monarch ski area parking lot around 10 pm while it was gently snowing. Cracked open the flask, unwrapped the cigar and then selected the bootleg recording for the night. I again wanted something different and chose "Unchained Monsters", a VH show at the Star Pavilion in Hershey, PA on July 26, 1998. What is different about this one is that it features Gary Cherone, lead singer of the Boston band named Extreme. He made his appearance after both Dave and Sammy fell out of favor with the Van Halen brothers. The boys were on tour following the release of their last ablum to come out, "Van Halen III", earlier that same year. By all accounts, Van Halen III was deemed to be a failure and Gary Cherone left the band shortly after the tour ended in December 1998. Unlike Sammy Hagar, Gary was willing to sing some of the old DLR classics for the first time in more than a decade.

This bootleg blew me away! Gary sounds great. The set list was varied, with some softer songs scattered amongst the fevered pitch of the standard VH party classics. And the quality of this soundboard recording was A+!! I was somewhat apprehensive picking this concert at first, but I was rocking to the music shortly after it got underway.

Eddie's on fire during this concert! His playing was flawless, emphasizing how far he falls when he's on the juice. Other band members come and go, but it's Eddie's guitar that holds it all together. In my opinion, this concert proves that Eddie is the man, the heart and soul of Van Halen!

Download the music
Their digital DNA
Cloned on the stereo

Steel strings burn tonight
Eddie makes his guitar sing
Proof that he's sober

Front men come and go
But the lead guitar inspires
The bands heart and soul

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