Sunday, March 4, 2012


One week ago, on February 24, 2012, Van Halen performed before a sold out Chicago's United Center audience, one of the early shows in this A Different Kind of Truth tour.  I picked up the bootleg recording earlier in the week and scheduled this Friday night to listen to the band do their thing before an enthusiastic crowd.  The reviews of the show are equally enthusiastic:

Though the new tunes went over surprisingly well, the oldies are likely what sold out Chicago's United Center and Van Halen didn't disappoint with pretty much all the Roth-era crests. Fiery album cuts like "Everybody Wants Some!!," "Somebody Get Me a Doctor" and "Hear About It Later" were interspersed with even more explosive sing-a-longs like the guys' signature cover of Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman," "Unchained" and "Dance the Night Away."

A few mid-80s moments derailed the night ever so briefly, mainly "I'll Wait" with its corny, piped-in keyboards and the hokey novelty "Hot For Teacher." But the band rebounded with plenty of bombast come the thumping "Panama" and the pummeling "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love," which for the first time in a long time, helped reclaim Van Halen's rightful place in the upper echelon of hard rock history with plenty of vitality oozing out of the current chapter.

Some refer to DLR's "rock solid" voice, but I would disagree based on my listening to this excellent recording.  Pitchy in places and unable to hit some of those high notes, much more noticable in this show compared to his performance during the 2007-2008 tour.  That's what four years can do.  Go listen to those recordings.  And unlike that earlier tour, there was less banter with the audience, just burning through the set list of the old classics with a few of the new songs through in.  Unfortunately, Eddie's guitar was somewhat low in the sound mix so even he failed to stand out.  When the music ended I was left with the feeling that they were going through the motions to rack up another multi million dollar paycheck by summers end.  Somewhat disappointing.  But I'm still looking forward to see them live in May.

Saturday night started off with an Echo and the Bunnymen single, Scissors In The Sand, three songs released on June 6, 2006.  It certainly was a good start to this evenings concert.

Download it here:

Nirvana followed, their October 8, 1989 show at the Lifticket Lounge in Omaha, Nebraska.  Excellent soundboard recording of that show.  This was a few months after they released their first album, Bleach and were relatively unknown outside the Seattle area.  There were about twenty people at the show, according to a member of the opening band.  After "Blew," the band started packing up their gear, but the crowd continued to chant for more songs, so they decided to continue and play a true encore, according to Ben Shepherd, who was along for the tour. Due to increasing dissatisfaction with their drummer, Jason Everman, over the course of the tour, Nirvana canceled the last few dates of this tour and drove back to Washington.   No one told Everman he was fired at the time, while Everman later claimed that he actually quit the group.

Download it here:

After the disappointment of last night, I was aching for the old Van Halen, particularly from the Sammy Hagar era when I think the band was tight and the music was excellent.  I went back to February 1, 1989 when Van Halen performed at the Tokyo Dome in Japan, a high quality soundboard recording that was edited down due to disc space.   Comments from people that have the disc:
  • Great version of Panama.
  • It has the coolest version of 5150 that I've ever heard.
  • The band is really tight and Sammy's vocals are right on key during the entire disc.
  • "There's Only One Way To Rock", has both Sammy and Ed switching off leads during the whole song. And Ed's guitar solo with "Eruption" and "Cathedral" is top notch.
  • This recording is one of the best live bootleg shows I have heard. I highly recommend it.
I would agree, this is a killer show where Eddie and Sammy dominate, taking Van Halen to the next level that is sadly lacking in the new album.  Eddie did right to bring Sammy on board.

Download it here:

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