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Sammy Hagar Live in Las Vegas -- With Photos!

By Junkman, On-Air Personality
Tuesday, June 7, 2005 @ 0:14 AM

Sammy Hagar & The Waboritas Li

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Conventions. I love them. For some, its baseball cards, or any kind of collector shows. For others, Star Trek or Beatles conventions. It seems like every conceivable group can have a huge convention these days. As many of you know, every January I attend the NAMM convention, a major music product convention. At the end of February and beginning of March, I make my annual trip to Las Vegas, to attend the Night Club and Bar magazine’s annual convention.

This convention, as you might guess, incorporates every possible product that would involve the nightclub and bar industry. Products like liquor and food are of course the main entities and one of the companies, Wilson Daniels Ltd. is the company that produces Cabo Wabo tequila, which is a brand partially owned by the “Red Rocker” himself, Sammy Hagar.

Sammy takes his business seriously, and, has a “hands-on” approach to running his company. He’s totally involved in the process of putting out quality tequila, which in the past few years, has become very popular. He’s even taken that success to another level in opening a couple of popular Cabo Wabo cantinas.

For the last three years in a row, Sammy and his band, The Waboritas, have performed a show for patrons of the Night Club and Bar convention. This year the setting for this was inside the Club Rio at the Rio Hotel and suites. This is a very cool place to see a show, because its not a huge place, as rock shows go. It also has the benefit of huge video projection on most of the walls, so viewing what’s going on onstage, is at a premium level for all to see.

I made my way into the venue, complete with my V.I.P. laminate (thanks guys!), and made my way to the front barrier. Lucky for me, nobody in front of me to block my view, except of course, for the security guys, who, were actually very nice -- a big change from concerts I have attended in the past. Beach balls were flying everywhere -- this looked and felt like an honest to goodness beach party, and I’m sure that’s what they had planned all along.

At 9:20 the curtains opened, and Sammy and The Waboritas -- guitarist Vic Johnson, bassist Mona, and drummer David Lauser -- hit the stage, blasting out the opening number “Shaka Doobie.” The band proceeded to put on a nearly two-hour party, featuring a nice mix of old and new hits, including “”There’s Only 1 Way To Rock,” “Serious Juju” and “Heavy Metal.” As well as some tasty covers, like, Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women”(known to many of you as “Everybody Must Get STONED”), the Staple Singer’s classic “I’ll Take You There” and a nice mix of his own “Little White Lies” segued into the Count Five classic “Psychotic Reaction.”

Sammy and company also played an interesting semi-acoustic version of “Right Now” from his days as lead singer for Van Halen. I saw the Van Halen reunion tour this past year, and it looks as though Hagar is MUCH more comfortable in his role as band leader in The Waboritas.

Every now and then, in between songs Sammy would bellow “WAITRESS!” and a bikini-clad lovely would appear onstage delivering a glass of the Cabo Wabo signature drink, the “Waborita.” Apparently there was a pre-show bikini contest to see just who would be serving these concoctions, and, judging by the looks of these beauties, the judges apparently did a great job, as these women were gorgeous, and all eyes were on them whenever they appeared, including Hagar’s beautiful wife, Kari, who stood in the wings through out the show, eyes beaming as her husband rocked the house. After the “waitress” brought out a HUGE gallon bottle of Cabo Wabo tequila, Hagar commented that it was one of a kind (attention Cabo Wabo marketers!) and promptly passed it around to members of his fan club, who were standing, as they do during every Waborita show, ONSTAGE in a sort of bleacher seat set-up, behind the band. Many sported Hagar shirts bearing his favorite catch phrase “Are We Having FUN Yet?” Obviously having a blast, this “Peanut Gallery” of sorts is a great way for Sammy to interact with his fans, and as you can imagine, they were loving every minute of the experience.

After literally driving the crowd wild with his hit “I Cant Drive 55,” Sammy invited a special guest, Journey/Santana/Hardline/Bad English (and Current Soul Sirkus) guitarist Neal Schon onstage to rock with the band, pumping out a rockin’ version of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock ‘N’ Roll,” Procol Harum’s hit “Whiter Shade of Pale” (which, incidentally was covered by HSAS in the ‘80s, a band featuring Hagar and Schon), and the Montrose classic “Rock Candy.”

As the band members exchanged hugs, Schon, truly having a good time, exited the stage. Hagar thanked his sponsors and told the crowd, many of whom were bar owners, to sell more tequila. I don’t think that will be too much of a problem.

The band closed the show with the revved up “Mas Tequila”(known to many as “Rock ‘N’ Roll Pt. III”) which finished with confetti and a huge Cabo Wabo bottle which came down from the ceiling only to be “cracked open” by a guitar-swinging Hagar to reveal a large stuffed worm. Truly a fun party and the audience really had a good time, and so did the band, as from what fan club members told me afterward, is ALWAYS the case.

Take a look at www.redrocker.com for all the latest on Sammy Hagar and The Waboritas, including pictures of this very show -- see if you can spot me in the front row, (hint, I’m sporting a Cabo Wabo hat) and a huge thank you to all the nice folks at Wilson Daniels Ltd. I look forward to seeing you again next year!

(Photos by Junkman/ KNAC.COM)

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