Van Halen Delivers In Detroit

February 26th, 2012  |  Published in Features

]Written By Nathan Holt
Photo By Nathan Holt

With their first album in fourteen years titled A Different Kind of Truth hitting the streets, Van Halen decided to stop at the Palace of Auburn Hills for the seconds show of the tour and what a show it was.

Most fans didn’t seem to like hearing that Kool & the Gang was opening for Van Halen, but it turned out most of the crowd were having a great time with nine piece the jazz/R&B/funk band. Dressed in all white suits, they played some fan favorites like “]Jungle Boogie”] which featured rapper Prince Hakeem, “]Ladies’ Night”] and “]Celebration,”] the band got the crowd excited for the one and only Van Halen.

With a small guitar solo in the dark, Van Halen kicked off the show with a popular cover of The Kink’s “]You Really Got Me”] followed by “]Runnin’ With the Devil”] and a new song “]She’s the Woman.”] Singer David Lee Roth returned to the stage with brothers Alex and Eddie Van Halen on drums and guitar, with Eddie’s son Wolfgang on bass. Right from the start, Van Halen had the sold-out arena in their hands. David sported a new headset and four different outfits throughout the night, but also danced around stage, sliding back and forth (not to mention swinging his pole for a few songs).

While David filled in the gaps on stage, Eddie stayed primarily around his equipment. Wolfgang wandered around as well, feeling a little more seasoned than the last tour when he played bass on stage and Alex pounded away in the center of the stage especially on his colorfully lit drum solo. The band sounded great for having taken a few years off, with no one missing a beat. Even though David occasionally missed pitches, the crowd seemed to make up for it, singing loudly during the whole show.

The stage had a fairly simple setup with two stacks of amps for Eddie and Wolfgang, with Alex’s drum set in the center on top of a small set of stairs. Even though there was a small runway that jutted out from the stage, it was rarely used during the show. Lighting was fairly simple with a few neat lighting techniques and a couple batches of lights that were raised up and down during the show. A massive video screen behind the band stole the show though, but unfortunately it took several songs to get it working correctly. Finally still photos and live video of the performance appeared on the screen.

The band continued on with “]Romeo Delight,”] “]Tattoo,”] “]Everybody Wants Some!!,”] “]Somebody Get Me A Doctor,”] “]China Town,”] “]Mean Street”] a cover of Roy Orbison’s “]Oh, Pretty Woman,”] “]Unchained”] and “]The Trouble With Never.”] After “]Dance The Night Away,”] David noticed everyone having such a great time that “]I don’t think I’ve seen anyone sit down yet!”] After “]I’ll Wait,”] the popular “]Hot For Teacher”] was up next with some improvised lines thrown. With “]Women In Love”] done, the band surprised the crowd with playing “]Girl Gone Bad”] for the first time live since it was last played in the mid 80’s.

“]Beautiful Girls”] was up next with the show slowing down while David came out on stage with a guitar while some of his dogs were shown on the screen behind him. “]I was watching the Rod Stewart Show and he was showing pictures of his family, I thought I’d show you pictures of mine.”] After the John Brim cover of “]Ice Cream Man”] and “]Panama,”] Eddie took to his amazing guitar skills with a guitar solo which featured parts of “]Eruption”] and led into “]Cathedral”] and eventually the band finishing with “]Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love.”]

As the crowd went wild for more, David asked “]You want an encore?”] With that they began “]Jump”] and David grabbed a huge flag, waving it onstage while confetti rained down on top of the crowd. After a final stage jump the show was over, but in essence it was only beginning. With a few small production issues and dates into June, the band doesn’t have to worry one bit about working out the small kinks that remains in their awesome performance.

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