Sammy Hagar Live In San Francisco

By Sefany Jones, Contributing Editor
Friday, May 24, 2002 @ 1:13 PM

Hagar Rocks The Fillmore in Sa

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REVIEW BY: Ducati John

So, at first glance, the ad for Sammy Hagar's 3-night stand at San Francisco's legendary Fillmore didn't raise much interest for me. You know the drill; old, washed up former Van Halen frontman doing yet another local gig. Who cares, right? Well after a friend went to see the show on Monday night and promptly proclaimed it "one of the all time great shows" he'd seen, I figured he'd either had way too much to drink, or possibly a 54 year old Sammy could still put out. Also, seeing just about anybody at the Fillmore isn't too bad of an idea. So with that, and the rumors of "special guests" for the finale, I decided to go see the old guy's act for myself.

As Sammy took the stage one thing became abundantly clear; this guy's energy is off the charts. Sammy still covers as much ground as anybody on stage, and he sounded fantastic. Hanging out in his makeshift "Cabo Cantina," Sammy was clearly in his element, running through hits like "Three Lock Box," "Cabo Wabo," "There's Only One Way to Rock," and "Your Love is Driving Me Crazy." Stopping numerous times throughout the show to order cocktails from the stripper waitresses at the side of the stage, and bantering with the packed audience, Sammy was a revelation. Very often, bands are heard proclaiming how some lame product or show is "for the fans" (Kiss anyone??) when their own bottom line is obviously their only concern. This show was NOT one of those instances, as was proven when Michael Anthony strolled casually onto the stage during one of Sammy's cocktail breaks. After having a couple of drinks, Anthony strapped on his bass and the band kicked into "Runaround," "5150," "Why Can't This Be Love," and "Poundcake." The energy in the room was simply unbelievable, and an even higher level of pandemonium ensued when, during another cocktail break, Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammet walked out on stage.

Now, Metallica obviously has taken a substantial (and often well deserved) amount of abuse from the KNAC.COM community. I'm not here to take any position on them and where they stand in today's music scene. What I can say is that when Lars jumped on the drum kit and Kirk plugged in his Gold Top Les Paul and ripped out the intro to "Rock the Nation," it was a jolting reminder of why these guys are rock stars in the first place. Continuing on through the old Montrose classics "Rock Candy," "Space Station #5," and "Bad Motor Scooter," Hagar, Hammet, Ulrich and Anthony showed that they all can clearly still deliver the goods at an astonishingly high level. Hammet, in particular, was the absolute star of this makeshift band (dubbed "High Maintainence" by Ulrich). Watching him run through the solos to these classic songs was alone worth the price of admission. He is probably the biggest (if not only) reason to pay attention to whatever Metallica does in the future. Simply one of the greatest lead guitarists -- ever.

When Hagar and Anthony returned for a fun run-through of "Finish What You Started," you almost expected EVH himself to come out do the number with them. No luck there, but Sammy didn't disappoint with his show closing double shot of "I Can't Drive 55," and "Heavy Metal." The latter song in particular was Sammy's defiant message to the rock community that he is far from finished. Whether or not he goes on to release great music, or how his upcoming tour with David Lee Roth pans out is a question to be answered later. For one night (actually for 3 nights), though, there was no question as to where the best live music in the Bay Area could be found.

Walking out of the Fillmore, one concertgoer's comments were particularly appropriate. He said, "Now there's something you don't see every day."


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