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Van Halen Oakland, CA 12/22/07


mdrs

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I flew out for a power visit to see my brother, VeloDoug, and his wife and two little babies last weekend.....oh, and Doug and I attended the Van Halen show. :)

 

We broke down and ponied up the coins to do the "5 star" deal....7th row tickets, a great backstage tour, and forgetable giveaways, food :sick: , and cheap beer :mad:. The show and the tour were both great experiences.

 

Chris Morrison, Ed and Wolfgang's guitar tech, gave the tour. Chris is a GREAT GUY! I'm gonna talk about him in a separate thread, as he is a guy who more people should know;

 

http://www.gtr1tech.com/index.html

 

Ed's live rig has him still "hard wired" (i.e. using guitar cable)to his pedal board, and on to his amps. Ed is in the process of coming up with some updates to his signature pedals, prototypes of which he is using on this tour. There will also be a EVH sig. wah pedal coming soon. He actually used a wah often during this show, giving some of his licks a new and very cool twist. He is using the new "EVH" 100 watt heads (I'm pretty sure Fender makes them, and I think that the ones he is using are an update to what is currently available, but I'm not certain about this...they looked different than the ones being sold today). Chris told me that the amp Ed is using is modeled after the Peavy 5150's, but with changes to make it more like the old Marshalls Ed used to get his classic "Brown Sound". The amp has three channels, all with their own EQ. Ed says that his current amp nails the Brown Sound.

 

The "updated" EVH Signature pedals, the new EVH Wah, and his three channel 100 watt heads will all be on the market in the not too distant future.

 

Ed is using the EVH speaker cabs, 4x12's of course. They are loaded with Celestion G 12EVH speakers, which are EVH signature speakers. Essentially, they are Greenbacks, but 20 watt speakers, not 25 watt as are Greenbacks. I'd think that this means that part of Ed's live tone is derrived via speaker distortion. Interestingly, apparently Wolfgang's bass is going out thru the same speaker cabs.

 

Ed's using a new EVH Signature guitar, which looks alot like the Wolfgang with a slightly different shape to the distal part of the guitar's head. Ed used this guitar for almost all of the songs during the show. He used a Sig Charvel on one song, and his Fender Custom shop Frankenstrat on only one song, if I recall correctly. The new EVH Signature that he used for most of the show apparently is being made by Fender for Ed's company, EVH. Apparently this exact guitar will soon be available on the retail market. I was pretty impressed by this guitar. Ed played it hard, and it stayed in perfect tune. He played at least the first hour or more of the show without tuning, and before handing it off. If I was a Floyd Rose fan, I'd be very interested in this guitar.

 

Wolfgang is using vintage "Sound City" 200 Watt Amps. These old beauties were made by Dave Reeves from late 1967 thru early 1968. Dave Reeves then formed "Hiwatt" in 1968. Chris said that they bought up a bunch of these Sound City 200 watt heads, which are guitar amps, obtaining them where ever they could find them (eBay, etc.). They are modified, but Chris wouldn't say exactly what he is doing to them. He did say that they burn up tubes pretty regularly. So, maybe they are running hot??? Wolfgang has a distortion "channel" running thru one head, and a clean head playing at the same time live.

 

I'd never see Van Halen before. And, while I know their music, I only had one of their CD's. I've never emulated Ed's style, nor playing, nor tone. But, obviously I knew he was a major player.

 

The show was nothing shy of AMAZING. After seeing him live, I'll say that Ed Van Halen is as good as any guitar player I've ever seen touch a guitar. He is a true master.

 

Ed looked healthy and sober. He was still running around, and jumping at the end of the over two hour show. Although he still smokes... :( I did notice that he had what looked like a wedding ring on his left hand ring finger. I don't know what that signifies???

 

There were several moments during this show that were particularly poignant. Every time Ed went past his son, Wolfie, he'd touch, hug, or kiss him. It was really touching to see. Given Ed's well publicised drug/alchol problems, you can only imagine that this 16 y.o. young man has gone thru some tough times because of his Dad. So, to see how happy they are together, and to see some real expression of love between them was truely moving.

 

Ed stepped to the front/center of the stage to play a solo at the very start of the show...as he started his solo, the crowd ERUPTED....the ovation was SO LOUD that Ed stopped playing...the entire band stopped, and the crowd went nuts. Ed couldn't play for about a minute, perhaps more. He nervously walked in circles, then turned to the crowd with his hand over his heart, and tears in his eyes, and bowed.

 

This was as moving a moment as I've experienced during a live show. I can tell you that I was wiping my eyes!!

 

I could go on for days about Ed's playing. Ed is the boss on stage. You can see that. There was a funny moment when David Lee Roth started the vocals to a song just a tad late. Ed immediately gave him a dirty look, and DLR returned a sheepish shrug. Alex Van Halen burst out laughing, as did Wolfie...it was hilarious to watch!! :laugh:

 

David Lee Roth.....what can I say??? I saw him a couple of years ago on his solo tour, and he was over weight, and out of shape. During that show I thought he was washed up, and laughable. Well, he ain't washed up anymore!!!

 

He obviously has taken this tour very seriously. He again is ripped, and in great shape. He can still kick that leg over his head! And, the man CAN SING. I've seen a lot of press that seems like thy want VH and DLR in particular, to be bad, and fail. Well, DLR was the consumate, over the top, showman that works so well in the context of this band. My brother has seen Van Halen several times without DLR, and said it was never close to how they played with DLR last Saturday.

 

Wolfie is a great young bass player. I was very impressed with this young man. Imagine playing live, on tour, with Van Halen, at age 16???? He is a bit stiff, but they have him walking around at different times, and he seemed to be enjoying himself. He particularly got a kick out of some of DLR's antics. He played well, and had a substantial tone. Also, his vocals were very good.

 

Alex Van Halen seems the perfect drummer for this band, and was very solid. You could see the love he has for his brother, and his nephew, on his face regularly, during the show.

 

I may have to see them again, when they come my way this March. It was a great chance to see an iconic band, playing near the top of their game, and to watch a master guitarist do his thing.

Don

 

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."

 

 

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=574296

 

http://www.myspace.com/imdrs

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Here's a link to Dave Reeves and Sound City/HiWatt info;

 

http://mhuss.com/Hiwatt/history.html

 

ALSO, I ALMOST FORGOT....The Band broke into The Who's "Magic Bus", and a Cream song, during teo separate interludes. Ed was obviously paying tribute to his influences....

 

Ed OBVIOUSLY HAS EXCELLENT TASTE!!! :D:rawk:

Don

 

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."

 

 

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=574296

 

http://www.myspace.com/imdrs

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Sounds awesome. Dude, I wasn't knocking them. You know they are only going to improve on the tour. They played in Detroit on Oct 22.

 

I wasn't at the show, my singer and one of my other guitar buddies went. Said Roth was the best part but the mix was the best ever. But that was 2 months ago. I can only imagine touring for 2 months how much better you get..

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Excellent review! :thu: :thu: Alas, I missed this tour but did get to see the original Van Halen in the early 80s and Van Hagar some years later. Both shows were outstanding. Glad to hear some nice reviews after all the hubbub at some of the earlier shows.

Reverbnation stuff

More Reverbnation stuff

I feel happy! I feel happy!

 

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"distal part of the guitar"...only a Dr. would use the word "distal". (I know it due to my wrist surgery; "Distal Release of First Compartment"). LOL

 

Glad you had fun.

 

And folks, this is MY OPINION...the 16 year-old kid has no business being on stage with VH. What? Am I jealous? Could be.

But this is a professional act and I think would have been better off with another bass player with the right stage presence (and age to fit the band).

 

You want over the top for the show? Bring the kid out for a COUPLE of songs with the guys.

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Before I attended this show, I felt it was poor judgement to have Wolfie play bass on the tour. I felt that they should have asked Michael Anthony. After the show, I felt fortunate that I saw them play with Wolfie. It worked fine for me.

 

I ALMOST FORGOT TO MENTION THIS!!

 

I asked Chris Morrison, Ed and Wolfie's guitar/amp/live sound tech, about that infamous uTube video showing Van Halen playing all out of tune.

 

It turns out that that is a legit video. It has NOT been doctored. Ed was simply handed a guitar that was not tuned properly. :eek:

 

No one was fired, either!!! LOL :)

Don

 

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."

 

 

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=574296

 

http://www.myspace.com/imdrs

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Before I attended this show, I felt it was poor judgement to have Wolfie play bass on the tour. I felt that they should have asked Michael Anthony. After the show, I felt fortunate that I saw them play with Wolfie. It worked fine for me.

 

I ALMOST FORGOT TO MENTION THIS!!

 

I asked Chris Morrison, Ed and Wolfie's guitar/amp/live sound tech, about that infamous uTube video showing Van Halen playing all out of tune.

 

It turns out that that is a legit video. It has NOT been doctored. Ed was simply handed a guitar that was not tuned properly. :eek:

 

No one was fired, either!!! LOL :)

 

Nice detective work Don! So now the whole controversy as to whether it was the keyboard, guitar or just a fake, can be put to rest.

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Ed's live rig has him still "hard wired" (i.e. using guitar cable)to his pedal board, and on to his amps.

Don,

 

Thanks for the great review. It sounds like it was a lot of fun.

 

I had a guy ask me why Eddie is hard wired on this tour instead of wireless and I couldn't answer. Does anybody know why they made this decision?

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Great review, these comments are spot on. I commented on the show here last week from Anaheim and it was exactly like this. Roth is amazing. I guess they are using samples for the backups, a friend saw no mouths moving but heard backing vocals. That's one way to make up for no Michael A, use a recording of him!

 

John

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  • 2 weeks later...
Before I attended this show, I felt it was poor judgement to have Wolfie play bass on the tour. I felt that they should have asked Michael Anthony. After the show, I felt fortunate that I saw them play with Wolfie. It worked fine for me.

 

I ALMOST FORGOT TO MENTION THIS!!

 

I asked Chris Morrison, Ed and Wolfie's guitar/amp/live sound tech, about that infamous uTube video showing Van Halen playing all out of tune.

 

It turns out that that is a legit video. It has NOT been doctored. Ed was simply handed a guitar that was not tuned properly. :eek:

 

No one was fired, either!!! LOL :)

 

Nice detective work Don! So now the whole controversy as to whether it was the keyboard, guitar or just a fake, can be put to rest.

 

Not to steal any of my bro's thunder... but I was the one that asked! ;-)

MUSCLE:91 Mesa Mk4(rack mounted)|Mesa F30|Mesa Nomad45|'78 Marshall 4x12

HEART:07 Gibson LP Std 50s Neck|86 Jackson Soloist|92 PRS Custom 24|01 PRS Singlecut|Taylor 814ce|MIM Strat

 

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BTW... you may be able to make out Don and I a couple of these (blurry) pictures my buddy took with his iPhone: http://gallery.mac.com/sharshbarger#100102

 

I'm wearing the bright tie-dye from the "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" tour.

MUSCLE:91 Mesa Mk4(rack mounted)|Mesa F30|Mesa Nomad45|'78 Marshall 4x12

HEART:07 Gibson LP Std 50s Neck|86 Jackson Soloist|92 PRS Custom 24|01 PRS Singlecut|Taylor 814ce|MIM Strat

 

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