Last Night: Van Halen and Kool & the Gang at Toyota Center

VH June 25 1.JPG
Photos by Groovehouse
Van Halen, Kool & the Gang
Toyota Center
June 24, 2012

We're two songs into last night's sold-out Van Halen show at the Toyota Center when lead singer David Lee Roth spots three comely ladies in the front row of the house with cameras. In the span of three seconds, he turns into the Diamond Dave we all know from YouTube, the lovable scumbag you wouldn't leave alone with your own grandmother.

"When I die, sprinkle my ashes over 1982," he leers at the gals. It's a great line, quotable, too. Roth was trying to be cute, mentioning one of the best years of his career (Diver Down hit America that April), but he ended up talking to the girls for nearly two minutes.

Have you ever been at an awful party and had to endure listening to an oily pickup artist lay out his wares? Imagine that in front of almost 19,000 people.

Kool June 25 1.JPG
Kool & the Gang
But above hearing the man lay mental pipe in the time we all could have heard, say, half of a "You're No Good," it foretold a night that would be maddening, saddening and altogether frustrating. This was the David Lee Roth Show ("Daaaave TeeeVeeee!") and not the Roth-led Van Halen that some of you knew as teens and young drunken angels.

David Lee Roth and the Van Halen Family Band, if you want to call it that.

Yes, it could be said with some exaggeration, and tongue firmly sunken and glued in cheek, that openers/funk legends Kool & the Gang were the main act and that Van Halen played their afterparty. I thought that during the K&TG set jokingly, but as each VH song reeled out, it was like a hellish Nostradorkus prediction.

Seriously, K&TG still give a shit, even if there are only four original members of the group and they rely on younger front men to bring tunes like "Celebration" and "Ladies Night" alive. I never thought I would hear "Jungle Boogie" or "Too Hot" live and alive.

The notion of having a classic funk band opening for a classic rock band seemed dumb to some, but when you think of the influences in the VH and Roth stew, it makes total sense.

Let's start with what was right.

VH June 25 2.JPG
The set list was on point, with the right amount of megahits, himbo anthems and album gems. The rigging and lighting, absolutely beautiful. The video techs helped make infinite, trippy images of the group on the massive screen behind the band.

The presentation was free of the flashback shots that most aging touring groups distract audiences with. The production at the Beach Boys show earlier this month was like watching a concert inside a photo album.

Speaking of photos, the band's lax photo rules are a breath of fresh air in an industry where you can get kicked out of a venue for taking a cellphone picture of a band. They allowed any and all photography, which is why you can see most every date on this tour on YouTube.

The Van Halen Family Band -- Eddie, uncle Alex and son/nephew Wolfgang -- was playing with menacing precision. For his age, Wolfie was in the pocket. Sure, we all miss Michael Anthony, but with Wolf you at least know that it's in reverent hands. His backing vocals aren't terrible, either.

Alex had two short drum solos and mostly kept to himself as per the norm, and those solos seemed very subdued.

As for Eddie, he played with effortless ease and made even world-changing pieces like "Eruption" look like cake. He worked up seven sweaty minutes of finger-tapping bluster and technique that had everyone's mouths agape. That's the Eddie that had been hiding the last tour in 2007/2008. Welcome back. Stay awhile. Release some of that stuff on the floor of 5150.

Now what was wrong?


Location Info

Venue

Map

Toyota Center

1510 Polk, Houston, TX

Category: Music

My Voice Nation Help
10 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
Jglawyer9
Jglawyer9

Frank, it's no myth.  I called the Toyota Center and was informed by Operations that DLR requested that the A/C be turned off after Kool and The Gang's performance.

Jmjones77002
Jmjones77002

The concert was killer...including Dave. Did you want the old DLR who stopped every single song to tell stories? I think you know what you are going to get with Dave. That was my 7th time to see VH fronted by Dave and it was the most seamless of them all. Back in the day, Eddie couldn't maintain his smile, when Dave would stop the song to say something like, "Fuck the concert, ltd's go have a drink." The energy is immeasurable when Dave id up there over Sammy. Everyone should lighten up...and. if you were looking for a sing-along, go to Kareoke or stay home and sing to your CD's...

lolo
lolo

At first I thought it was a joke that Kool and the Gang was the opening act, but I will say that they were awesome, their sound and vocals were great!  The music & vocals sounded better than VH.  Although, I still cannot figure out who paired Kool with VH. I almost felt bad for them at first, but they rocked!  As far as DLR & VH, I think they should focus on the Van Halens especially Wolfgang.  I have never cared much for Dave & Sunday was the icing on the cake.  His voice is shot and the jokes were just bad.  Bring back Sammy! 

CAF
CAF

I did not see Sunday night's show, but caught them in San Antonio Friday.  Set list was very similar.   It was pretty clear about half a dozen songs in that Dave's voice was shot  - it's evident that that they're taking the break to rest his vocal cords.  His best "vocal" was introducing Alex Van Halen after his drum solo.  But I chalk it up to lack of range, not lack of effort.   It was warm in AT&T Center, but I thought it was just the laser like sun still pouring in through the windows at 830 PM. All in all it was an awesome concert.

Craig Hlavaty
Craig Hlavaty

Range or vocal perfection is WAAAAAAAAY different than not singing the lyrics to major songs that are three decades old or just plain not caring to sing them.

The Truth
The Truth

Dude were u at this show.. I am gonna cut you some slack cuz you are a Dave and VH fan, but what the heck are you talking about. Dave aint about range or vocal perfection.. You want that, go see adam lambert and queen, or celin dion. DAVE is the Grand Toast Master General of the Immoral Majority.. He is killin it, vocally, stage performance,entertainingly funny as all hell.  DAVE and EDDIE are in it to win it.    Stay Frosty

Matthew
Matthew

The band was great and DLR's antics would have all been fine if he could still sing. I think all the ad lib scooby doo bee bopping he does is to cover up that fact. Sad!

jerry2968_97
jerry2968_97

They have been doing it the whole tour to try and save DLR's voice. There is a video of him saying I told them to turn the a/c down at one of the shows in Florida I think. I wish he would have sounded better, but the band was so on fire it almost made up for it. I really enjoyed Kool &The Gang too they were fantastic.

Ccarter
Ccarter

so I just spoke to the Toyota Center and confirmed.  Yes, DLR demanded that the air be shut off after the opening act.  The rest of the band was not at fault.  Apparently this helps his throat...wtf ever.  I am appalled that I was so incredibly uncomfortable and left early because of this and all because he thought it would improve his vocals.....really????  what a selfish jerk.

Now Trending

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

Houston Event Tickets
Loading...