Friday, November 28, 2008


I was scheduled to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with the in-laws in Wyoming, but I backed out at the last minute, leaving me here at the house alone. I think it had something to do with hearing "tough shit" one too many times. I enjoyed sleeping late without being disturbed. Since weather was moving into the Colorado Rockies, I decided to pack up the ski gear and head for the hills that evening. I was hoping to have dinner out, but all restaurants were closed. I therefore had Thanksgiving dinner with Ronald McDonald in Idaho Springs.

I found my turn out on the road up to Loveland Pass. Cranked up the CD and pulled out a cigar for another party on the pass with Van Halen. It had begun snowing lightly before I finished the second half of the show. A mild evening so it was a comfortable sleep, being almost too warm. Snow plows patrolled the highway beside me all night long.

Spent the whole day skiing at Loveland. Three ski lifts and about ten runs open. It had snowed about three inches overnight, making for good packed powder conditions, with some patches of "powder" to be found here and there. It snowed lightly all day long, with the sun trying to break out but it never succeeded. A good day of skiing with no major lift lines, probably because everyone was out holiday shopping this "black Friday". The weather followed me home as it's snowing outside the house as I write.

Mountains jut skyward
Black against the nighttime sky
Snow clouds brush the peaks

Distant peaks obscured
Like cold fog it rolls in
Snow begins to fall

The plows flashing lights
Freeze frames snowflakes in the air
Blade sparking the road

Look up at nights sky
A break in the clouds above
Stars embed the black

Take their final bow
The loud cheering is over
Ear ringing silence

Beds down in the truck
Listens while it snows outside
Tapping on the glass

The air is alive
Clouds release their icy load
Large snowflakes falling

Gray clouds drifting by
Back lit snowflakes fill the air
Suns orb comes and goes

My show of choice was Van Halen's concert at The Forum in Montreal, Quebec, on April 19, 1984. I believe this recording was taken from the homemade DVD recording of the concert. vhboots say this of the audio:

"While the video is fantastic, the audio recording isn't the greatest, but it is the best it is going to get. The audio is mainly lacking in high end due to the camcorder equipment of that time. There is also some wicked bass distortion that crops up during "Everybody Wants Some". The show is presented complete with the only edits being during long breaks between songs towards the end of the show. You can hear the band and the crowd is relatively low in the mix with no distracting participants near the filmer. Overall this mono recording just lacks the fidelity to rate it any higher. The show itself is a great performance in front of a very, very enthusiastic crowd."

I noticed two things while listening to the recording. The first was that Eddie plays better as he got older, particularly his concerts in 1995 and 1998. I really sense that by 1984 Eddie was simply going through the motions, as was Dave, during his performance. I get the sense that the older, more mature Eddie was really putting his heart and soul into his guitar, less showman, more musical artist. The second thing I noticed was that rappin Dave was really more a vaudevillian style act by this time than he was an impromptu performer: same gag lines again and again and not much more. This is where Sammy was different in that he appears to make a sincere effort to connect with the audience, having something new to say to each crowd he faced with every concert. By 1984 Van Halen had reached an end point, with the best behind them. They seem tired, their interest waning. Eddie and Alex made the right decision to reinvigorate the band with the addition of a new lead vocalist. They succeeded with the addition of Sammy Hagar. It is for these two reason that I really like the Sammy era music. Unfortunately I have about four times the number of Dave era recordings than Sammy bootlegs. I'm always looking for ways to expand my late 80's and 90's collection.

No comments: