Thanks to Chris Farrow for the set list!
Sammy's show at the Des Moines Civic Center was the best show to ever hit its stage. Phantom of the Opera eat your heart out! I couldn't believe how many people showed up--many of them were wearing Sammy shirts, and Van Halen shirts. It was great to see so many people still liked good `ole Rock & Roll .All of Des Moines' local rock stations, 95KGGO, 98 Rock and Lazer 103, were outside broadcasting live and giving away stuff. KGGO had a Sammy contest going on, and selected a lucky winner to sit in a red rocking chair on the side of the stage durring the show, and they also had a group of people, dressed in KGGO T-shirts, come up on stage for the encore of Marching to Mars to sing back-up.
A little after 8pm and several minutes of anxious screaming in the crowd, the lights went out and the Red Rocker hit the stage. What followed was both the longest and shortest time I'd ever stood up without sitting down once at a concert. Sammy opened with Marching to Mars to a very excited crowd. He looked and sounded great--his voice is far from burned out!
Next came One Way to Rock and then Returning Home. Then he played one of my all-time favorites, I'll Fall in Love Again. Sammy paused for a bit to talk to the crowd and remenisce about the last time he had been to the Civic Center nearly 15 years ago on the Three Lock Box tour. Sammy said he remembered it as if it were yesterday and pledged to top that show this time. He thne did Salvation on Sand Hill and without missing a beat, the band broke into Why Can't This Be Love--it sounded just as if VH were doing it--Victor's rhythom and lead guitar sounded just like Eddie. All the VH fans in the audience--myself included--gave Sammy the VH hand gesture, and to everyone's delight Sammy smiled and gave it right back to us. He said that this (the VH hadn sign) is our bridge right here, This is our bridge all the way back to the beginning. Is was nice to hear Sam expressing a great love for his career with VH.
Next came Who Has the Right. I think it sounds alot better live than Not Enough does. The rest of the first half of the show was made up of Finish What Ya Started--played the way it was recorded, and a reworked arrangement of Kama. Sammy then said it was time to return to the Cabo Wabo and the back-drop was lowered. Sammy took this oppertunity to talk to the crowd some more. He talked about his plans for the tour and his new bandmates. He said he had been advised to have an intermission in the middle since the show was around 2-1/2 hours long, and Sammy said he wasn't taking a break so we didn't need one either.
As sort of a break for the rest of the band, Sammy did a little unplugged set. First, Cheff Sammy showed us how to make a Waboritta and gave some of the band members and even some of the audience members a taste of it. He then told us the story behing the Cabo Wabo and then Sammy and Victor jammed out about half of the tune un-plugged. Then Victor took a break and Jesse and Sammy did Right Now the way him and Eddie had first played it late one night. Sammy said he didn't want to compete with Van Halen and that they are a great band so he thought this would be a nice little twist to do with the song.
The rest of the band then came out and things got electric again. Sammy said they were gonna add jet fuel to the tanks and they broke into Little White Lie. Bad Motor Scooter, Good Rockin' Tonight, Red, Three Lock Box, Heavy Metal, I Can't Drive 55, and The Yogi So High rounded out the rest of the main show. Sammy and co then went off stage for a breather and came back for tripple encore. Sammy said he wasn't trying to fool anyone by going off stage acting like he wasn't coming back. He just needed a quick breather--he hadn't left the stage all night.
The whole band jammed out Eagles Fly--the way it was recorded originally. Personally, I think this song sounds much better acoustically. Next came my favorite Van Hagar song, Dreams. As Jesse played the gentle intro, Sammy remarked that he thought this was one of the best songs he ever did with Van Halen, and then they jammed out the tune and Sammy sung his heart out. His last ad-libbed line said it all, "I've still got my dreams..." Sammy then introduced the lucky guy who had been sitting in the red rocker all night long. He said this guy should have to kiss all of our @$$es for being treated like such a king all night long. Roadies carried the rocker to the center of the stage so the crowd could see the lucky guy.
Then one more time, we heard Marching to Mars and the selected audience members did their thing. Sammy called up the little boy standing by the edge of the stage with his dad, and he came over and sang into Sam's mic. Sammy had gone over and pciked the kid up twice earlier in the show. That little guy has no idea how lucky he is. His dad had stood in line with me to get tickets and he told me that Sammy was gonna be his son's first concert--who knew it would turn out to be such an experience for him :-) Sammy took one last strum on his guitar and layed it in the red rocking chair and just left it there still going as he and the band took their bows. Sammy promised he'd be back to Des Moines and they left.
It was a great show--one if the best concerts I've ever been!! It's right up there with the three times I saw VH on the Balance tour."
Thanks to Matt Scott for this review.