Van Halen - Honda Center - 6/12/12

van halen 1.jpg
Andrew Youssef
David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen

Van Halen
Honda Center

It only takes milliseconds to recognize Eddie Van Halen's ferocious guitar tone. Like sonic bullets from a gun, "Unchained" riddled into the audience with its runaway freight train guitar riff as the Honda Center exploded with Van Halen's triumphant stop in Anaheim for a sold out show.

Wolfgang Van Halen led the charge for "Runnin' With The Devil" by thumping his bass at the top of the stairs next to his drumming uncle Alex Van Halen. The always charismatic and smiling David Lee Roth was dancing around stage for "She's The Woman" from their new album A Different Kind Of Truth.

After being warmed up by Kool and the Gang-- who quizzically opened the evening but worked hard to get the crowd grooving up by playing hits like "Celebration" and "Get Down On It"-- fans showed their willingness to approve Van Halen's new material by hoisting their beers for "Tattoo." Besides twirling on stage, Roth used some silver batons for "Everybody Wants Some!!" exclaiming that everyone who attends a Van Halen concert should leave a better person.

van halen 2.jpg
Andrew Youssef
Van Halen

The parade of older classics continued as "Somebody Get Me A Doctor" had Roth playing to the video cameras in front of the stage that were projected on a huge LCD screen behind him. Eddie Van Halen was seemingly on fire throughout the night with a huge grin on his face while throwing down some dexterous, two-handed tapping on his fretboard and high-pitched screaming harmonics on "China Town".

Having seen the band on Saturday night at Staples Center, it was clear the few days of rest served the band well as Roth quipped to the crowd that they were "getting a good show tonight" after ripping through "Hear About It Later." Two of their classic covers "Oh, Pretty Woman" and "You Really Got Me" sandwiched a jazz-influenced drum solo by Alex Van Halen.

While I rarely look for deep meaning in Van Halen songs, Roth expounded on "Dance The Night Away" as a euphemism for making love indicating that the phrase "Save the last dance for me" would have new meaning. Cheesy '80s synthesizers swirled for the beginning of "I'll Wait" but soon were melted by some fiery Eddie Van Halen fretwork.

Alex Van Halen's drum skills are sadly overlooked and this was evident as he ferociously pounded the skins for "Hot For Teacher." Roth concentrated on his dance moves for "Beautiful Girls," doing the splits while the video performance replayed it in slow motion behind him on the screen.

Diamond Dave also took the spotlight for "Ice Cream Man," as he started out the song on an acoustic guitar before being joined by the rest of the band. Things really started to heat up as "Panama" had the entire Honda Center singing along. Eddie Van Halen's solo is worth the price of admission alone using volume swells and the arcade kill switch on his custom Wolfgang Van Halen guitar for a staccato effect.

The band piled on two more crowd pleasers--"Ain't Talkin' Bout Love" and "Jump"--to close out the evening. Even though the rest of their tour dates have been postponed from June 26, one can only hope the time off and rest will have Van Halen back in an even better form, although they've set the bar pretty high already.

Critical Bias: I have an Eddie Van Halen MXR phaser and flanger guitar pedals.

Overheard In The Crowd: "Are those backing vocals taped?"

Random Notebook Dump: Wolfgang didn't wear his LA Kings t-shirt like he did at Staples Center. Smart kid.

"Runnin' With The Devil"
"She's The Woman"
"Romeo Delight"
"Everybody Wants Some!!"
"Somebody Get Me A Doctor"
"China Town"
"Hear About It Later"
"Oh, Pretty Woman"
"Drum Solo"
"You Really Got Me"
"The Trouble With Never"
"Dance The Night Away"
"I'll Wait"
"And The Cradle Will Rock..."
"Hot For Teacher"
"Women In Love"
"Beautiful Girls"
"Ice Cream Man"
"Guitar Solo"
"Ain't Talkin' Bout Love"

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I too feel ripped off. A lot of $$ to see DLR's flaming foot dance.  Choppy lyrics...poor versions of the great classics. Really disappointed.  Somebody get them a producer!!!

julie g
julie g

I was there to an it looked like a cheesey burlesque show on steriods. eddie needs to let david go. Iam sorry I spent 895.00 on a VIP tickets 


Eddies guitar was blazing and saved the show from a complete catastrophy.  The mix was so bassie that it was hard to distinguish song transitions quite often.  DLR's metaphoric semantic salads got down right 'eye rollingly rediculous'.  I thinks Roth's usual request to turn the air off added to the bassie sound problem. Beyond Roth's shortcomins with his voice, Eddie's guitar was jaw droppin; Alex was fabulous on the drums and Wolf's bass was fantastic.......but the sound mix was pretty bad.


What everyone else already said--DLR was pathetic, the Van Halens were fantastic, the set list was killer, the sound sucked and it was like a sauna in there. I, however, dug the dog video ;-)


 PVDUDE,, I would pay the "high-price" anytime to see the living legend Edward Van Halen. While you may have played it safe. You did MISS OUT on some incredible guitar playing that not even YouTube can do justice.


   To the folks that couldn't make it to the show you missed a good, bad, ugly time... I must tip my hat to the band known as Kool and the Gang. Even though less than a handful of the current line-up are original, they performed extremely well and had high energy!!  The second opening act was crowd watching. Apparently, many folks forgot how old they were when getting dressed for last night's event. My Bud and I thoroughly enjoyed the scene. Many rockers say the groupie scene has gone extinct, and after last night I beg to differ. Unchained launched the show and brought the crowd to their feet. Eddie, Alex, and Wolf were AWESOME! Their craft continues to improve and shock audiences even years after their prime. (the good) Unfortunately, the same could not be said for DLR. Love or hate the guy, he WAS the right fit for this band for a time. After seeing the reunion show in 2007 I was expecting another well rounded performance by the whole band, but what I discovered was what all the other posts here have done a great job of summing up - DLR's short-comings. Sloppy, turning "it" off and on when he wanted, and off-key way too frequently. (the bad) Things hit their peak with "Everybody Wants Some" and then rolling straight into "Somebody Get Me a Doctor". Solos given by Eddie and Alex not only saved the show, but truly showcased the Halen's Genius.  Dear Honda Center,  You have proven yourself time and time again to be one of the worst venues in town to spend our hard-earned cash to see a great band. I understand you are a sports venue, and the sound will never be great. However, I think many people were sitting down during the new and old songs to avoid heatstroke. A few thousand people in close quarters with no fans or a/c is not going to be fun for very long. (the ugly)

Michelle Robbins
Michelle Robbins

DLR owes me $175.  I feel like we maybe didn't see the same show. While I agree that the band was awesome - and thank god for Eddie & Wolfgang doing the backing vocals, as those were the only vocals all night that sounded good - David Lee Roth was awful. Awful lead singer that is - fantastic lead dancer. I wish he'd kept his pipes in as good a shape as he's kept everything else. I came for the songs, and he simply did not deliver on those. 


Van Halen played at my high school when I was a kid.  Roth was known as a jerk even then.  The 2004 tour with Sammy Hagger was infinitely better.  It was so obvious that DLR doesn't do sound checks.  The background vocals were clearer than his lead "singing".  Wolf was quite excellent.  Eddie is a rock-god, Alex outstanding.  Roth was a very, very poor imitation of himself from the 80's.   Eddie, say you're sorry to Sammy.  Please.


I decided to not go (and pay such a high price) because of the DLR reviews.  Youtube vids that i've seen indeed remind me of a daning flaming fairy.  Not that there's anything wrong with that . . . but DLR is just kind of gross now.


I was kind of bored. I think it would have been better if Dave sang the songs right. I dont understand why he was singing that way. It kind of ruined the show. His dancing around was bizarre. What was up with the dog video? I think it was a strange choice to have the video screen in black and white. It made the show even more drab. On the rare occation when it switched to color it was a relief. I think Dave is losing his mind. The rest of the band sounded great though.


Clown Dave was dancing around like a Flaming Fairy. The rest of the Band was AWESOME! Great Show! Minus the Clown! I am still trying to recover while working!

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