Monday, July 8, 2002 @ 12:36 AM
Sam & Dave Live in Phoenix, AZ
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REVIEW BY: Gorillabone
Well, in reviewing the Hagar/Roth show June 21st in Phoenix, AZ, there's no contest as to who should be the headliner -- Sammy wins hands down. I've been a big fan of both since the late ‘70s early ‘80s, so I'm not here to bag on Dave but...
Let me start of first with the Sammy story… Michael Anthony from Van Halen, as most of you know, has popped up for a few of the dates to jam several Van Halen songs. Phoenix, AZ was one of the lucky stops on tour for the jam, but even better... the 20th (the night before the show) was Michael Anthony's birthday, so Sammy and the gang got in town on the 20th, went down to the local rock bar called the "Mason Jar" without telling a soul, for a huge B-day bash for Mike. Only the few lucky bastards that where there got to see -- by the time it leaked to the radio stations it was over. They jammed for about an hour, bought shots of Cabo Wabo Tequila for the fans, one of those rare occasions for some lucky fans.
The next night was the show, Sammy was the opener this night (they switch who opens each night), and he ROCKED THE HOUSE! It's a party when Sammy comes to town -- he has the best time, has gorgeous women deliver drinks to him and band throughout the night, interacts with the fans and truly shows he loves what he does. He's like the Jimmy Buffett of Rock-n-Roll. Michael Anthony only added to the show -- they jammed hard several of the Sammy-era Van Halen tunes. They could have ended the show and I would have left very happy.
Now on to David Lee Roth. I've been there for Dave since day one, and I'm still a big fan. Dave is still an original rocker, meaning if you ever saw shows in the ‘70s or ‘80s, it was all about a wall of Marshall amps and just rockin’ -- no dance, no hype -- just kickass rock. This is what Dave sticks to -- he only played “Yankee Rose,” otherwise it's all early Van Halen. Dave just isn't up to par these days, though. He seems to be very winded and out of breath on stage, skips a few words to catch his breath, still does the karate moves, but the jumps in the air aren't the same -- his day's of doing the splits are over. The best part of the show was his guitar player -- he's actually from a tribute band called the Atomic Punks -- this guy KICKS ASS. He was worth the show. He’s got all the EVH chops and more. He truly smoked. He and the bass player (James Lomenzo from White Lion) did a killer job playing and doing the back-up vocals -- top notch band -- they just need Dave to practice and stay up to par, ‘cause his band carries the show. I hate to bag on Dave, it just sucks to see people leaving the show because they’re disappointed. I still enjoyed hearing all the great tunes. Probably the last time I ever will live with Dave, not sure how many more tours he has in him. I guess the "pot smoking" is taking it's toll.
All in all it's a great show, more than worth the ticket price. I really enjoyed Sammy, and loved hearing the early Van Halen songs with Dave, but Sammy KICKS HIS ASS LIVE!