Thanks to Jeanette Akers for the set list!
Sammy is the man! The show was opened by Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers who played a 45 minute set which got the crowd going as they played their "Tequila" brand of rock. Sammy and the Waboritas came out and jammed at about 8:15 opening with "Only One Way To Rock" and slipping into a set similar to the August 8th show in Houston but leaving out the Montrose material as that was going to be the "encore set". Sammy interacted with the crowd extensively, someting that he said he would do in his interview on the radio. He was trying to make it feel like we were at his Cabo Wabo club. He would wave, wear or sign anything that a red rocker fan had that night. If you check out the photos you will see just what I mean! After the Sammy and Wabo set it was time for a special treat for the "mullet crowd" (as some people call us)...a Montrose reunion!!! Something not seen or heard in 30 years!!!!!!!! The original members Ronnie, Sammy, Danny and Bill "the electric" Church came out to thunderous applause and broke into Rock the Nation, Bad Motor Scooter, Rock Candy and the finale Space Station #5 which is my personal favorite. All in all a great night of "Heavy Metal" from a band that has been "Rockin' the Nation" and still knows there is only "One Way to Rock".
Sammy Hagar with Montrose reunion review
Set List: (There’s Only) One Way to Rock, Rainy Day Women 12 and 35, Three Lock Box, Runaround, Top of the World, Shaka Doobie, Let Sally Drive, Heavy Metal, Hallelujah, Right Now, Eagles Fly, Little White Lie, Dreams, I Can’t Drive 55, Mas Tequila. Encore (with Montrose): Rock the Nation, Bad Motor Scooter, Rock Candy, Space Station #5. 2 hours.
It must be fun playing with Sammy Hagar, because it sure is fun watching him.
I should know. I’ve seen Hagar at least 50 times, and this ranges all the way back to his first-ever solo appearance in 1975 at San Francisco’s Winterland to Van Hagar to last night’s historic show in Concord, where Hagar reunited with his original band, Montrose, for the first time in nearly 30 years.
Despite the fact that I’ve seen Sammy twice in the last three months, he still provides a fantastic night of entertainment that is fresh each time out. His show is basically the same one he has been presenting since he left Van Halen seven years ago. The Cabo Wabo styled-stage, the lunatic fringe rimming it, the scantily clad girls (waitresses), and of course the Waboritas, one of the tightest backing units in rock, add spice to the show put on by the world’s most famous tequila salesman.
It is clearly Sammy’s show, however. He is obviously the star, and that might be the reason he is now a solo artist and isn’t in a band. Could a band shackle Mr. Hagar? I doubt it, but its amazing that he is now reunited with Montrose and the talk grows about a Van Hagar reunion. Can any of that talk be taken seriously? I doubt it, but it shows another thing-despite his star power, people want to play with him.
Hagar makes the stage his personal playground. Dressed as if he just got off the beach, Hagar started this one with his guitar for a scorching “(There’s Only) One Way to Rock,” the traditional set closer that is now the opener. He spent most of the show dancing, calling for drinks, slapping hands and signing various items thrust at him by those down front and the fan club members up onstage. He was even surprised by couple who were allowed onstage with a “Sammy Hagar for Governor” banner (he says Arnold could kick his ass so he isn’t running). It was just one of the many banners that Hagar displayed and eventually wore on the night. To get the party started, he pulled out Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women 12 and 35” and the “everybody must get stoned” chorus led Sammy to comment, “we will.”
His backing band is one of the best on the planet, and seems to get tighter each time I see them. I’ve commented many times about Vic Johnson’s prowess, but the lanky, black guitarist can play Eddie Van Halen, Ronnie Montrose or Sammy’s licks with equal aplomb (he didn’t get a chance to play Ronnie’s stuff on this night). Bassist Mona and drummer David Lauser and solid, and keyboarist Jesse Harms provides equal parts inspiration, talent and versatility working the keys, mike and harmonica.
The set was typical of what Hagar has been doing this year. The real surprise came during the encore, when one of the reunions I have always dreamed about came true.
This reunion was scheduled to happen next week in the Midwest, but when Lynyrd Skynyrd was forced to pull out of the “Party of a Lifetime” tour due to Gary Rossington’s relapse (Sammy dedicated “Eagles Fly” to Gary), Hagar knew he’d have to play a big card to fill this bill. So he rounded up guitarist Ronnie Montrose, bassist Bill “the Electric” Church and drummer Denny Carmassi to present the original Montrose for the first time in three decades.
It’s only fair that this reunion took place in the Bay Area (it continues in Marysville and Reno before heading to the Midwest), because the Bay Area made Montrose. Before most of the country had ever heard of the band, it was opening shows for Bill Graham at Winterland. The band were headliners here before most of the world caught on, but I never had the privilege of seeing the group with Hagar. He left just weeks before I saw the group for the first time, when Bob James replaced him for shows at Winterland in April, 1975.
This reunion has been rumored many times (Hagar says he’s asked Ronnie over the years to do it, but he’s always said no-until now), so it was with great anticipation that the reformed and now middle-aged Montrose took the stage.
Loud and raw from the beginning, Sammy and Ronnie led the band through four of the group’s most popular songs (see setlist), with Carmassi banging away effectively and Church looking thrilled to be back onstage with his longtime boss (Church and Carmassi both played with Hagar when he went solo). The whole band played the set with a shit-eating grin, and was impressed with the reception afforded the short reunion (it lasted about 25 minutes).
Now all the questions begin-is this a one-time thing? Can Ronnie be convinced to do a record? Aside from one song on Hagar’s Marching to Mars album (“Leaving the Warmth of the Womb”), these guys haven’t worked together since 1975. Can it work again? Will Carmassi find time away from Foreigner, where he now mans the drum stool? Can Church come back to the rock life after being out of it for nearly 20 years (he was selling real estate somewhere near where I live the last I heard)? Will Ronnie even think of it? After all, he had already re-formed the Montrose band with other musicians. After seeing both units, I can tell you it isn’t the same without Sammy. And can Hagar find time to do Montrose, Planet US and solos stuff? What about the Waboritas? Stay tuned, this might take some sorting out.
Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, an interesting band from Sedona, Arizona, opened the show with an hour-long set of songs from its new album Americano (due out soon), and previous independent efforts. The band’s Gin Blossoms-meets-Skynyrd sound drew a nice response from the crowd primed for Sammy and the reunion most thought would never take place.
By Dan Wall
To see the four men that were responsible for turning me on to Rock & Roll was truly magical. It took me back some 30 years at age 13 and remembering crossing over to FM and hearing Rock Candy for the first time! My first Montrose album was my first ROCK album! I still have two copies of that LP because I literally wore out the first one, not to mention the 8-Track tape as well.
And on the same night to have Stage Tix's and to finally meet my idol Sammy Hagar, was an absolute dream come true. When the curtain raised I can't even describe the feeling that went through my body. The feeling lasted the next two weeks. I have seen Sammy well over 20 times but nothing compares to the On Stage experience! Thank you Sammy, Thank you Wabos, Thank you Montrose and thanks to Sammy's entire crew!
Sammy and the band are at the top of their game! Vic's guitar playing just keeps getting better. The Wabo's are one of the best kept secrets on the planet. Not only are they great musicians but they look like they are having so much fun! They blend so well with Sammy's energy and enthusiasm. Sammy knew what he was doing when he put this band together.
You could not talk about that great night in Concord without mentioning the GREAT RedHeads! I'm sure Sammy knows this but he has the most dedicated and loyal fans around. I met so many great people. RedHeads are like family. Every Sammy show is like a family reunion.
Sammy, I hope you live on forever. I can't imagine life without looking forward to another Sammy show. The night by far was one I will never forget. Besides the birth of my children, this was indeed one of the best nights of my life. "Dreams" do come true!