06 May 2008

Van Halen @ RBC Center - 5 May 2008

After a cancellation, and a bit of date-shifting, Van Halen finally played the RBC Center in Raleigh, NC last night. I was there with three of my best friends and we hit up Char-Grill before the show for a quintessential Raleigh meal. From there we headed straight for the RBC parking lot where we pumped out the old school jams on the car stereo and enjoyed a Cinco de Mayo tailgate celebration with a big huge cooler full of Mexican beer and limes. Big ups to John for the beer coordination.

Now, if you're beginning to conjure up mental images of Heavy Metal Parking Lot, don't. It was an entirely different -but expectedly so- scene in this parking lot. Mostly, it was a bunch of people our age (read: old) either recapturing their youth, or inflicting their musical past on their children. Which is to say, not many people were tailgating. But, my crew wasn't exactly in a hurry to see opener Ryan Shaw, so we took our time and made it into the arena minutes before Van Halen took the stage.

The band opened the evening with a boom, playing their cover of the Kinks classic "You Really Got Me" before moving into shredful versions of "I'm The One" and "Runnin’ With The Devil". From the moment they walked onto stage it was obvious that David Lee Roth was going to do whatever the hell he wanted (including mangling lyrics and melodies); and, no matter how much DLR tried to make it otherwise, the real stars of the evening were going to be the three Van Halens (Eddie on guitar, his brother Alex on drums, and son Wolfgang on bass).

Frankly, David Lee Roth's smiley the clown abrasive/fake personality very well could have ruined the show, but it didn't. So let me just cut to the chase and tell you the top three reasons why this concert RULED...

#1 - Eddie Van Halen is the greatest guitarist I've ever seen play live. By a long shot. And here's why: he plays his Bach-esque licks and solos with the greatest of ease. Beyond that even. His ten minute guitar solo (a modified/updated "Eruption") was otherworldly. And this is coming from someone (me) who plays Expert level on Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Yeah, he's that good. You heard it here first.
#2 - Again, the other two Van Halens held their own (even if Wolfgang was a bit too 'awkward emo teen' to rightfully share the stage with this band). The drum solo by Alex was nearly as amazing as Eddie's guitar solo.
#3 - "Jamie's Cryin'" + "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" + "Hot For Teacher" + "Panama" + "Jump" = FUCK YES, RRRROCK! Let's face it, Van Halen's got the back catalog to fill up and energize any 20,000 seat arena anywhere. Anytime. This show contained far too much filler (album cuts, obviously appreciated by many of the fans in attendance), and a couple of choice covers (such as "Magic Bus" and "Crossroads"), but the true stars of the evening were the 10 or so Van Halen über-classics. To see these songs performed live and sung by David Lee Roth (even with all of the flaws he brought to the table) was a real treat. To do so with some of my best friends in the world, the whole time looking up to the rafters at all of the NCSU banners hanging from the ceiling, made it the best 7 out of 10 concert I've ever seen.

Watch:
part of Eddie Van Halen's guitar solo from last night HERE

*above picture from HERE.

11 comments:

Michael said...

Yo, damn I wish I could have made it to the show. Based on your review, I guess the acoustics at the RBC center was pretty good. I've heard past complaints that basically told me to never go to a concert there.

Matt said...

compared to Madison Square Garden, the acoustics were horrible. compared to other large arenas i've seen concerts in, say the Dean Dome/Lawerence Joel/Greensboro Coliseum, it was pretty much par for the course. which is to say, it sounded like a typical large arena - not great sound by any stretch of the imagination. but i'd bet it's better for some shows... however, the mix last night was awful. everything was mixed to the middle and there wasn't enough low end for my taste. but really, i was trying to keep my review here less "critical" and more fan-centered.

i'd not say that the sound at the RBC center is a reason to go, or not go. all acts that play there travel with their own people and gear and ultimately, like i said, it's going to sound like a big arena regardless. though, seeing this show did make me appreciate the amazing acoustics/sound at Madison Square Garden even more.

Donnie Cook said...

This concert was unbelievable. If I had closed my eyes and listened I would not have been able to tell if it was 1982 or 2008 it sounded that good. And like David Lee or not when you put those guys together on stage it was fantastic. I would go again tonight if I could.

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