Friday, March 30, 2012

A Night With Van Halen

As I mentioned, I went to the Van Halen concert on Wednesday. It was a little more difficult to round up people to go with my than it was in 2008, but eventually 4 of my friends bowed to my pressure. Unfortunately, I was unable to get 5 seats all together. In fact, it took me about 30 minutes of trying to get the tickets I finally got from TicketMaster. We are slaves to TicketMaster.

Wednesday finally arrived and there was no news on the wire that Eddie had died or entered rehab, so we all felt we were good to go. We hopped a ride aboard the fabulous D.C. Metro. Actually, it's not that bad. It got us there.

Once on F Street, we decided to dine at Fado's Irish Pub near the intersection of H Street NW and 7th Street NW. We were all at ease with a round of Guinness, Kilkenny, Diet Coke, and a rum and Coke. We watched the D.C. wanna-be crowd strolling along and blithering at each other at the bar. The pomposity was so thick that you could have cut it with a Sterling knife.

Dinner was great. I got a Pulled Lamb French Dip sandwich. It was freakin' fantastic! Another friend just got fancy chicken tenders, and he said they were awesome. Perhaps they were battered in Guinness.

The pub really filled up, with more people and more pomposity. At one point I noticed emergency lights outside. Another friend got up and went to the door and noticed that the guy that was standing next to me was laying on the floor. A female from his party came back in to get his stuff and said his blood pressure had dropped to the point where he passed out. I thought for a moment that he heard that Obama wanted to raise the debt ceiling again. That would have made me pass out.

After a couple of hours and one or five drinks we made our way back down the block to the MCI Center, errr....Verizon Center (funny how it remained with the nickname The Phone Booth). Sadly, our 5 tickets were on opposite sides of the arena, two on one side and three on the other. Since I arranged the event, I took the best seat. I had the pleasure of sitting with the Mayor of Eldersburg. My other three friends sat to the left of the stage up in the nosebleeds. But as one of my friends said, no matter where you sit it sounds the same. That's a great attitude!

Did I mention that Kool and the Gang opened for Van Halen? They logically go together, right? Kool is no longer with The Gang, so I guess we really just saw The Gang. But they were Kool. Don't know Kool and the Gang? Celebration. Jungle Boogie. Yeah, you know them.

Finally Van Halen took the stage, probably about 9pm. They opened with one of my all-time favorite Van Halen songs - Unchained off of Fair Warning. They followed with Running with the Devil and She's the Woman. Other songs played include Eruption, Full Bug, Tattoo, Panama, Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love, You Really Got Me, Jamie's Cryin', I'll Wait (where David Lee Roth told the crowd that he forgot the @#%$ words), Hot For Teacher, Pretty Woman, Cathedral, Romeo Delight, Dance the Night Away, Ice Cream Man, Somebody Call Me A Doctor, and they closed with Jump. There were more songs in between, but you get the idea. Lots of great songs!

David Lee Roth is 57. He's 5 years younger than my father. But the dude looks 10-15 years younger. They put a dance floor on stage for him so that he could slide around and dance. He did manage to do a few high kicks, but no drop high-kicks. No swinging from the rope. No jumping from 10 foot high platforms. But, as I mentioned, he's 57. I think he did a great job.

Eddie. Let's talk about Eddie. As my buddy Bondra said, the guy didn't leave a 15 foot circle. And when they put him up on the jumbotron, he looked pretty rough. I know (think) he doesn't have any more teeth. The dude fought cancer. He's had a hip replacement. He's been in and out of rehab since John Adams was President. But despite all this, the guy can play a cussin' guitar. They zoomed in on the guitar and the fingers were going strong and fast. World's Greatest Guitar player - EVER. No questions about it.

Wolfy. He's there. He's not as fat as he was 4 years ago. He had no bass solo, which was fantastic.

Alex - he had on his sunglasses the entire time, which is typical Alex. He played well and had a great solo. However, I have to say that at one point I was watching him and he stopped to take a drink of water and the drums were still sounding. Additionally, during Jump and I'll Wait there is a synthesizer, but there was no synthesizer on stage. So a little musical masking was going on. But you know what? I don't care!

The show ended after about two hours. At that point I was pretty good. I felt like I had a solid packing of cotton in my ear, also known as temporary deafness.

The crowd was interesting. Easily 15-1 guys. A Van Halen concert is not a place to pick up women. At least in not in 2012. Maybe in 1981, but not in 2012. There were plenty of 40-50 year old 'woo-girls'. They were reliving their late teens and early 20's. Holding up their digital cameras in one hand, Van Halen peace sign in the other, shaking their hips from side-to-side and starting every song with 'whooooooooo!!!!'. And what's the deal with cameras? The tickets specifically stated 'no cameras'. But I was the only chump in the entire arena without a camera. I think the guy in front of me recorded the entire concert on his iPhone.

My friends on the other side of the arena said that some dude was going back and forth for more beer and finally tripped and went face-first down the steps and into the Plexiglas. He quickly jumped up and claimed his pride. It was slightly bruised, but not damaged.

Another guy got arrested, but we never got into the details of the story. But all in all, a quiet night. For a concert. For a Van Halen concert. For a Van Halen concert in 1984.

Next time they come to town, who's going with me????

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