Headliner: Van Halen 09.28.2015

By Greg Cohen

F41A4736 - Van Halen 092815 - sVan Halen, touring in support of its April 2015 live album Tokyo Dome Live in Concert, performed at the Ak Chin Pavilion on September 28, 2015.  Performing outdoors on an evening when it was still close to 100° at showtime, Van Halen demonstrated once again why they are legends.  The band brought out fans wearing their best ’80s leggings, leather miniskirts and big hair.  It also brought out a multi-generational contingent – mostly dads wanting to show their teenage boys how the dads rocked when they were teens.

While lead singer David Lee Roth remains in great shape physically, his voice hasn’t fared quite as well.  He talked through much of the lyrics as much as he sang them and didn’t have quite the range he needed when he did sing.  He was also out of synch with the band at times – his lyrics seemingly following the music instead of accompanying it.  It’s clear that Roth can’t do everything he did in 1984 but, to be completely honest, who among us can say that we can either.

F41A5378 - Van Halen 092815 - sGuitar master Eddie Van Halen, drummer Alex Van Halen and Eddie’s son Wolfgang Van Halen on bass, however, remained tight, on key and fully engaged.  Eddie Van Halen smiled broadly throughout the show and appeared genuinely happy to be playing on stage.  The Van Halens clearly played the straight foil to Roth’s crazy antics, as always, and they didn’t seem to allow Roth’s vocal issues to diminish their performance whatsoever.

While it’s unfortunate that Roth no longer has the voice he once did, his antics carried much of his performance.  Roth reminded me of the crazy uncle that only comes over on the holidays, has a little too much to drink, and inevitably says the craziest damned thing that makes the evening something the family will talk about forever so you hang-out just waiting for him to go there.  And the nice part is with Roth you’re never disappointed and that’s clearly by design, not accidental.  We watch him expecting the clown prince of rock and Roth delivers.  Roth’s antics and showmanship may not fully make up for his diminished vocals, but they continued to make for a fun show that delivers exactly the type of nostalgic concert you go to a Van Halen concert in 2015 to see. (set list after the photos)

Photos © 2015 Greg Cohen

The set list included:

  • Light up the Sky
  • Runnin’ with the Devil
  • Romeo Delight
  • Everybody Wants Some
  • Drop Dead Legs
  • Feel Your Love Tonight
  • Somebody Get Me a Doctor
  • She’s the Woman
  • I’ll Wait
  • Little Guitars
  • Dance the Night Away
  • Beautiful Girls
  • Women in Love
  • Hot for Teacher
  • Dirty Movies
  • Ice Cream Man
  • Unchained
  • Ain’t Talking about Love
  • You Really Got Me
  • Panama
  • Jump

One thought on “Headliner: Van Halen 09.28.2015

  1. Great pics Greg. I was glad to see that the boys could figure out how to work together again. We will see how long it lasts. David seems to have a singular knack for frustrating Ed and Alex. Give you credit for going out in the heat and even more for them making it work. Thanks!


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