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Van Halen rocks Ridgefield Washington

Music soars, David Lee Roth's vocals, not so much…

BY PHIL CORIO

Jul 7, 2015

Opening Act: Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band

The night got started with a strong performance from the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band. It was good to hear some of their original songs such as "Blue on Black" and "Deja Voodoo".

Kenny Wayne Shepherd

A medley of classic covers including B.B. King's "Woke Up This Morning" and "You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now" highlighted the authenticity of the band's Blues roots.

Kenny really shined while closing out the set with a cover of the classic Jimi Hendrix song "Voodoo Child". His audacity with the guitar provided the perfect lead-in to what was to come from the headliners.

Van Halen

It wasn't yet dark when Van Halen took the stage to the diverging chromatics of "Light Up The Sky". From those first notes it was obvious that the boys came ready to play but, unfortunately it was equally clear that Roth's vocals would not be up to the task. I'll give Dave an "A" for effort – he certainly seemed to be trying.

The band put together a great set that spanned all seven of the studio albums for which DLR recorded vocals. It was sure to please die hard fans from back in the day with rare performances of some gems from separate albums such as "Feel Your Love Tonight"(Van Halen I), "Dirty Movies"(Fair Warning) and "Drop Dead Legs"(1984) while pleasing the masses with many of their most well known hits

Of course, it wouldn't be a Van Halen concert without a solo from the great master. Clocking in at over 9 minutes, Eddie highlighted guitar instrumental milestones "Eruption", "Spanish Fly" and "Cathedral" while adding bits and pieces of guitar parts from various songs.

There was no "going through the motions" here. Eddie kept the general fans happy by playing faithfully to the original recordings and making it look easy. But he also added many complex musical extensions that show he is still growing as a musician and will continue to influence generations of aspiring guitarists.

Eddie Van Halen

If you've followed Van Halen over the decades and have had the privilege to see them in concert on their various world tours, you know that live vocals were never Dave's strongest suit. He's always been more of a performer and entertainer than a pure vocalist. Still it would be great if he could somehow do these songs justice.