Saturday, September 27, 2008


A sad week in that the woman who I had hoped to see while in New York died of her pancreatic cancer within a week of my return to Denver. It is perhaps fortunate that she passed away because she was suffering terribly, both physically and mentally, from the disease, her physical condition rapidly deteriorating. Many, many people were sad to see her go.

What made her so special to me was that she was the first woman friend I had who was not associated in some way with the family. I'd visit with her and her family often during the summer of 1979, the bonds of friendship growing, introducing me to her best friend whom I dated for a couple years. As is often the case in life, we grow up and follow different paths in life, mine taking me out west and away from friends I had back home in New York. I will remember her forever, the picture in my mind coming from those fun-filled summer days in 1979, a bunch of which were also spent at Smith's Point beach. My world has grown a little bit smaller with her departure.

An everyday life
Interrupted by the news
It's never the same

Lying there in bed
A bright moon's light filters in
Seen for the last time

Life held by a thread
Cut free with the final breath
Soul released its grip

Death of an old friend
Young, joyous lives intertwined
Piece of him is gone

The final exhale
Spirit departs to the heavens
Leaves our tears behind

Tired eyes have closed
Pain and suffering over
Time has come to sleep

The last breath escapes
An emptiness in his heart
Fills it with warm tears

A soul departed
Ponder the starry heavens
Streaks across the sky

Death in its black robe
Sharp scythe in its bony hands
Stands besides us all

I wanted this night's show to be special so I chose one from the 1998 Van Halen III tour with Gary Cherone in the lead. October 23, 1998 at Castle Hall in Osaka, Japan. I especially love the mournful Year To The Day / Eddie's Solo combo, the two beautifully interwoven into a seamless song. This 2 CD set is an outstanding audience recording with minimal crowd noise, allowing the band to dominate the recording. The individual that recorded this was seated in just the right area because you can hear every word Gary says to the audience without any distortion.

The III tour shows are a great mix of new songs, Sammy era songs and DLR era songs. Unfortunately Gary's voice has a fairly limited range, leading to a somewhat monochromatic stage sound. This may be one reason why he did not get a second opportunity to make an album with Van Halen. Even with this limitation, I still like the 1998 shows because Eddie's playing is hot, probably because his drinking was under control and he was sober. Speaking about the past and the present, Eddie said "I was in a different place. I was in a bottle. I wasn't clear. I have a glass of wine every now and then, but I don't get fucking hammered like I used to. I don't have the reasons that I used to."
The sound is long gone
Many year to the day pass
Seems like yesterday

A sound so soothing
Enter the souls cathedral
He is the maestro

Babe in a hot rod
Shows us sexy style and ease
Coming home with me

He's a magician
Quick movements of Eddie's hands
Hearts are swept away

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