Wow !!! What a night !! My daughter Samantha and I got to the Civic Auditorium at around 6:15. Soon after our arrival, we met up with fellow SHML member Rob Mills and his wife Michelle. We swapped Sammy Hagar and Van Halen stories until the MnG passes come down at about 7:10. We found our way to the door leading to the backstage area and were met by Chris. He made sure that we were the only "Internet People" at the show then ushered us in a room furnished with a couple of couches and some chairs. Besides Sammy and his band (I think all of them were there. I didn't see Victor, but Samantha did), we were the only people in there. Sammy eagerly greeted us and camera flashes were going off. He started talking to Samantha, who is 5, and told her that she had a cool name (she is named after him). He signed everything that I had brought then pulled a guitar pick out of his pocket, signed it, then gave it to Samantha commenting that "she got it all !!". Rob got a CD signed by Sammy and most of the band and also got a picture with Mona (cool Rob !!). Then, as fast as it started, it was over. We finally got to meet Sammy !!!!
We then found our way to our seats. We had seats in the 5th row, but with the seating layout in the venue, and the depth of the stage, we seemed to be a long way from the band. First row actually started about 15 to 20 feet from the stage. A steel barricade had been erected about 5 feet in front of the first row, 12 feet from the stage. Sammy and the band were able to use the wings of the stage to get closer to the fans. The venue, with a capacity of 2500, which seemed to be designed for Orchestras and plays, sounded GREAT. Sammy commented a few times that he really likes the hall and will only play there in the future, even if it means playing 3 nights !! According to Sammy, attendance was 1700.
At about 8:10, the house lights dimmed and "MTM" started thumping from behind the Cabo backdrop. Soon, the backdrop lifted and out came Sammy and his band. People up front immediately started moved to the barricade so I grabbed Samantha and found a spot at the barricade, right in front of Victor and there we stayed for the whole show. "MTM" is Samantha's favorite song and she was dancing and singing to the whole song.
After "MTM" Sammy and the band went right into "One way to rock". The sound was already great !! After "1 way", Sammy made some comments about how long of a night was ahead of us and went into a tight rendition of "Returning Home". The biggest surprise with this song is Victor came out playing a Paul Reed Smith Guitar. A maple top Custom model in Scarlet Sunburst, with birds. I was wearing a Paul Reed Smith t-shirt and Victor picked up on it very early. From my estimation, he used the PRS for over half the night. Could be a move away from G&L and Washburn for him ??
Next Up was "I'll Fall In Love Again". One of my top 2 personal favorite SH songs. When this song started, Samantha just looked at me and grinned. From there, he played "Salvation on Sand Hill", "Why Can't This Be Love", and then "Eagles Fly". I had goose bumps at the end of that song.
Now it was "Bad motor Scooter" time. Sammy came to the edge of the stage with his lap steel but alas, not sound, only buzzing !! After about 5 minutes of frantic cable changing, the scooter finally got going. During the song he talked about how Mona's audition and mentioned that she "now runs things" on the tour and has the biggest and best dressing rooms. Sammy seemed a bit jealous !! :) Victor faithfully ended the song using a slide with his PRS, including left to right panning. Sammy ended his "Montrose" section of the show with "Good Rockin' Tonight", which summed up the evening so far.
On to the next single from the MTM record, "Both Sides Now". This song is sounding very tight live. When Samantha and I saw him in Cleveland, he didn't play this song so it was great to here it live at this show. The whole band was up front with David playing bongos. The goose bumps were back. The band went into and acoustic version of "Finish What You Started" which led to.....
WABORITA LESSONS !! Or as Samantha said, "There he goes making that silly drink again". While talking to the crowd, Sammy made mention of the split from Van Halen. He said that everyone talks about the lies and deceptions but it was 10 years of making great music, and the music will last forever.
After Waborita Lessons, Sammy and Victor played a great acoustic version of "Cabo Wabo" which led into "Right Now with just Sammy and Jesse. Then, someone yelled out "Kama" and Sammy said "sure, we take requests" and launched into the song. Samantha reached up and held my hand for the whole song. Needless to say, the goose bumps were back !!
After "Kama", Sammy said that now they were ready to start the second half of the show. Victor started the sounds of "Little White Lie" which really got the crowd going. From there they did "I Can't Drive 55", "Three Lock Box", then went into "The Yogi's So High". Sammy was doing his rolling around on the floor when Samanta looked up at me and said "Daddy, he's silly" !! Victor also got into the act after his solo falling on the floor and crawling back to his pedal board on his hands and knees.
"Red' came next including a nice 5 minute drum solo from David. The Drum solo ended into a short fill from "Whole Lotta Love" which transsitoned back into "Red". Very Cool. The set ended with a perfect "Heavy Metal" and the crowd was going wild.
Sammy came back out, said he loved the hall and would be back, then went into "Dreams". This is one of my favorite VH songs and they did it perfectly including Victors solo, again using the Paul Reed Smith. Then came "MTM" again. Last song of the night...bummer !! they were playing along and when the "radio winners" came out, up with them came SHML list member Rob Mills and wife Michelle !! They danced and sang like crazy !! Way to go Rob and Michelle !! You did the SHML proud !!! After the show, we met Rob and Michelle out front for High 5's and more pictures, then left for the parking deck.
To sum up...this was my 13th Sammy Hagar show, and Samantha's second. We both think that it was the best. You can tell that the band has gotten really tight over the past months. If you are going to Cabo be ready. Sammy and his band sure are.
The night ended at home with a few more pictures to use up the roll of film I had then I put Samantha to bed. She said her prayers, included Sammy in her God blesses, then looked up at me and said "Daddy, I love you. Thank you for taking me to see Sammy". The goose bumps were back.
Thanks to John Dyar for the review and set list.