Last night I saw Van Halen in concert at Cox Arena on the campus of San Diego State University. When I heard that Van Halen was touring with original front man David Lee Roth, I had to get tickets. The last time I saw Van Halen was in 1986 at the San Diego Sports Arena. At the time Sammy Hagar was the new lead singer. It was a great show and Sammy was a worthy sucessor. But, I always wished I could have seen them in their original encarnation. When this chance arose I couldn't pass it up.
It was my first time attending a concert at Cox Arena and it won't be my last. The parking was very convenient and the disabled seating was very good; my nurse, Ernie had an attendant seat right next to me. All the disabled seating is at the top all the way around the oval arena. But, it is not nosebleed at all. Since the arena is fairly small, the disabled seating provided a great view of the stage. The seats in front of me were set farther down so that if people stood up my view was not obstructed; a large video screen at the back of the stage provided great closeups of the action.
As I sat in my spot waiting for the show to start and watching all the people file in I noted such a variation of ages. It went from teenagers all the way up to the 50 something crowd. The concert started with a reggae band; the name escapes me. That was an odd opening act for a hard rock band. But, they were pretty good. I especially liked their covers of Bob Marley's songs No Woman No Cry and I Shot the Sheriff . I like reggae, it is generally upbeat. They performed for about a half hour. For the next half hour we waited as they prepared the stage for the main act. By this point the anticipation in me was growing stronger by the minute and I could sense it in the crowd as well.
After what seemed an eternity, the lights in the arena went out and as the opening chords of You Really Got Me blasted from the speakers and the stage lights lit up the crowd roared. After that is was one great song after another. They performed songs such as Jamies Crying, (Oh)Pretty Woman, Beautiful Girls, Somebody Get Me a Doctor, And the Cradle Will Rock, Running with the Devil, Hot for Teacher, Panama, Ice Cream Man, Aint Talkin' 'Bout Love, Unchained. They ended with the song, Jump. I hoped they would have done some encores. There was also a great drum solo by Alex Van Halen and Eddie Van Halen had an amazing guitar solo. He is still one of the great guitarists. After all these years they can still rock. It was interesting to see Eddie's 16 year old son, Wolfgang playing bass; he replaces original bassist Michael Anthony. Michael Anthony was a great bassist and when I heard he was no longer with the band and that Eddie's teenage son was the new bassist, I was a little dissappointed. But, my dissappointment soon melted away when I heard him play. That boy can rock. It was great to see father and son performing together. David Lee Roth was still just as good, although he forget the words twice. But, it didn't detract from the show. He is still quite the showman after all these years with his glittering jackets and different colored top hats. He pranced and leaped around the stage and seemed to enjoy the limelight. Although his leaps were not as high as in his younger years, he still did a good job. Overall, it was a great concert and well worth the expense.