Van Halen Captivates Philly Fans With Classic Show

Van Halen Concert at Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA on March 5, 2012
Photos by: Steve Trager

Van Halen Captivates Philly Fans with Classic Stellar Show
Wells Fargo Center
Philadelphia, Pa  

March 5, 2012

Out of the limelight since 2007, Van Halen rolls out the red carpet with a great new CD simply titled A Different Kind of Truth, compiled with endless works of brilliant material with Diamond Dave holding the ropes. Like minded fans who have admired the old Van Halen sound all these years, the new material certainly paves the way for that old genuine sound we have come to expect from Van Halen.

As if the new record isn’t enough, the most anticipated tour following the release of the record couldn’t have come at a better time than now. Like any rock show, it is always about the live performance and Van Halen certainly captures the brass ring for that. Opening the show on this entire tour was none other then Kool & the Gang. While I thought for a moment how this support does act fit within the world of a typical Van Halen show? It is obvious that in previous tours Van Halen never actually had any really good openers to get the fans warmed up.

Kool and The Gang
Kool and The Gang
Photos by: Steve Trager

It was a smooth set for Kool & the Gang who opened the show with 1984’s Fresh then just kept the groove going with all their hits right in a row that including two solid chart busters back in the day that can still be heard on radio today. Kool and the Gang can certainly get you moving. Each member all decked out in white suites made you think for a brief moment are we at some wedding or someone’s graduation. While sitting through their quick set I noticed that the lead guitarist plays the exact same signature Wolfgang guitar that Eddie Van Halen plays through out the show.

After about a 50 minute change over, Philly was in store for a great show. The lights went down and Alex began to do his famous lets test my drums and see if I can be heard…  then stage right Eddie steps into the limelight followed by Wolfgang on bass at stage left. And last, but not least, the ring master Diamond David Lee Roth all dressed and ready to rock. Van Halen opening their 22-song set list with 1981’s Unchained, which is a great kick off to any Van Halen show. The majority of entire show pulled from the Dave era of the band along with a few select tracks from the new album, including Tattoo, She’s The Woman, The Trouble with Never and Women In Love. The production of the show lined with 5150 VH Amps stretched behind Eddie along with a massive light show completed by a video screen used in drive-in theaters way back in the day. Nothing like seeing clips of the great facial expressions from Dave and Eddie while performing.

Without Michael Anthony in the band, one can’t say this is the complete lineup – it’s ¾ the original lineup in the fold with Eddie’s son providing bass lines and backing vocals. The harmonies were there, the guitar work still stellar, the octave range of vocals with Dave driving them, on and off but still nailing it for a guy reaching 60 years young. From a visual perspective, I enjoyed the great drum solo from Alex and the infamous guitar solos ranging from Cathedral, Secrets and one big finale with Eruption. That's truly an inspiring segment of the show that every guitar hero awaits.

The classics never get old. They have captured the signature sound that has built Van Halen from the ground up since the mid 70’s and today all those songs are heart-felt rock anthems that drive us into a mental state of ecstasy. One thing is for sure – Van Halen with Dave back in the band can still raise the roof off any building.
Van Halen Set List:
Runnin’ With The Devil
She’s The Woman
The Full Bug
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
Hot For Teacher
Woman In Love
Girl Gone Bad
Beautiful Girls
Ice Cream Man
Guitar Solos
Ain’t Talkin ‘ ‘bout Love 

Van Halen Photos

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Kool and The Gang Photos
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