As I headed for home after the Toledo Zoo show last July I couldn’t help but feel a little sad. I was having Sammy Hagar withdraws only moments after the show. I did find some comfort however, knowing that I have seen Sammy before and I would surly see him again.
One hundred and nine days later, Sammy was back in Toledo helping radio station WIOT celebrate it’s twenty fifth anniversary with special opening act Kenny Wayne Shepard. The pre-concert atmosphere at the Toledo Sports Arena a.k.a. "The Riverdome" was laid back. Familiar faces were everywhere and I shook so many hands, I felt like a politician. One friend ( Jeff ) whom I bumped into, told me that he came to the show to see Kenny Wayne. " I don’t know much about this Sammy Hagar guy he said" I assured him that he was in for a surprise.
In fact, there was a lot of talk about Kenny Wayne before the show. But the lights soon went out and the young guitarist and his band opened the concert. The crowd was spellbound for about an hour as the fiery licks came flying one after the other off of Kenny’s guitar. The opening set ended with a wonderful rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s Little Wing and Voodoo Child.
After a brief intermission, "The Man" took the stage by storm as usual. Every Sammy concert turns into a party, and it didn’t take long before this one was in high gear. Sammy addressed the audience early about the criticism he received in the local press after the Zoo show for the use of some choice words that the neighbor’s of The Zoo found offensive. So it don’t look like we’ll see Sammy at The Zoo again. Personally, I’d rather see him inside. The ladies are less shy in the dark, as evidence by the continuous stream of cloths thrown up on the stage. Sammy even took time out to eat a Mars bar that found it’s way up to him.
While walking back to get another beer, I ran into Jeff again "What do you think so far?" I asked. He just smiled from ear to ear. Sammy focused the early part of the show around Marching to Mars. About seven songs into the show, I noticed something a little strange. I’m used to pretty girls on people’s shoulders, but there was a big muscle bound man on somebody’s shoulders waving something trying to get Sammy’s attention. He keep making a tearing motion, I couldn’t figure out what this guy was doing. Finally he threw a shirt up on stage. It was a green T-shirt with a Van Halen logo on it. The guy wanted Sammy to rip it up on stage. Like many of us, I’m sure the guy felt that Sammy is better off now. Sammy however, put down his guitar and proudly put on the T-Shirt. Actions are louder than words even at rock concerts.
Soon we were back at the Cobo Wabo and Sammy’s mixing up the drinks. A cigar made it to the stage. "I don’t smoke these" Sammy stated. Then a cigarette with the butt ripped off ended up on the stage floor. "this is fake", then came the real thing. I think after the Zoo ordeal Sammy felt obliged.
The second half of the show was about to begin. So I made my way for yet another beer, and I ran into Jeff for the third time, "What about now I asked?" His reply, "I’ll never miss another one" Good job Sammy, you gained another fan.
In July at the Zoo show Sammy wore a Detroit Red Wings shirt a month after the Stanley Cup victory. "I Must have big balls to ware another city’s name on stage." he said back then. This time around someone went and made what appeared to be a very nice Red Wings jersey complete with the name Hagar and the number 55 on the back. Sammy wore this for the rest of the show.
Towards the end of the night. Sammy took another time out to recognize a special fan in the audience. Big John from Seattle. Big John was in Toledo to see his one hundredth Sammy Hagar show. "Welcome to Toledo Big John".
All good things must come to an end and this show was coming to a close. But not before Sammy was joined on stage by Kenny Wayne for a couple of songs. Sammy likes to talk about special moments and magic. My guess is that during those songs Sammy was the happiest person in the building. Kenny left the stage only to return at the end. Which like every other show on this tour ended with a number of fans on stage at the end. WOW what a night.
Thanks Sammy for one hell of a good show.
P.S. Sammy, don’t wait so long to come back to town next time.Thanks to Bryan Susor for this review.
The day started at Jon and Melody Dunphy's house once again. I felt like I was at the Cabo Wabo. Jon had the video from Sammy's birthday bash going and there were little jars of Cabo sand for people to take home. The tacos were very tasty! Waboritas were going down smooth! Then Mark opened up his bottle of Cabo Wabo tequila and we all did double shots in the kitchen with a Cabo Wabo shot glass.
When we got to the Sports Arena for the show the stupid cop wouldn't let us bring our cameras in. We tried to tell him we were going to a "MnG" with Sammy. He made us throw our jars of Cabo sand away. What a jerk. He wouldn't even listen to us. So we had to take our cameras back. Getting to meet Sammy was still awesome! My brother and I got our picture with him. A few were able to smuggle cameras in. (Thanks!). I was able to get his autograph on my program. Sammy is so cool and down to earth! What a guy!
We spotted Mona walking through the crowd eating popcorn. My brother and I stopped her and said we didn't want to form a crowd around her so we acted like she was a friend. She signed our programs and went off into the crowd. She was really nice.
Sammy's performance was excellent. Kenny Wayne Shepard got up a couple times and jammed with Sammy. The first time it was just the two of them. Sammy was jamming a blues song on his acoustic and Kenny was playing some cool leads. Someone threw what appeared to be a joint on stage. Sammy picked it up and said, "Shit if I have to spend the night in jail it might as well be in Toledo!". He lit it and took a hit but quickly put it out. I don't know if it was real or not. Sammy also commented about the night at the zoo. He said "I can cuss tonight can't I?". Then he said "No, I'm not going to cuss the rest of the night"!
Sammy is such a great live performer. He has a way of making you feel like that nights performance is personally for you.
Thanks to Sean Grindle for this review.