Thanks to R. for the set list!
I was introduced to Van Halen via a crystal Pepsi commercial at the age of 11. I picked up the guitar a year later, and st rived to be the next Eddie. I spent countless hours listening to Van Halen albums, and trying to rip off Van Halen chops. I was 15 when Van Halen toured for the last time with Sammy, and I never had the opportunity to see them live. However, I held out hope that one day Sammy and the boys would tour again. Needless to say, I was blown away when the official 2004 tour news was spread via www.vhnd.net and www.van-halen.com. When the Little Rock, AR show was added, I freaked out. I could not wait to see the guys live. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. I have seen many rock shows, but this one was the best. Some recent shows I have seen include: Aerosmith, Fuel, and Metallica. Van Halen smoked them all. Sammy has to be the best front man ever. It was a religious experience finally seeing the guys live. They appeared happy, and were as crazy as ever. Eddie's chops and tone were perfect. The concert seemed like one big family reunion. The fans were finally reunited with the band and music that has meant so much to so many people through the years. Below are a few of the Little Rock Concert Highlights.
(1) The band opened with Jump, and brought the crowd to their feet. From that point on, the crowd remained standing. (2) Sammy sounded better than ever, and was so entertaining. He truly displayed why he is one of the best front men of all time. (3) Eddie Eddie Eddie!!!! He was on his game. He nailed his leads, pulled off a killer solo, and jumped through the air like he was 30 again. (4) Van Halen kicked it, and showed Little Rock that true rock greatness is not found in a lame guitar---studio manufactured vocal band called "Evanescence". They proved that the same guitar riff slightly rephrased on every song is not good enough. They gave little rock powerful musicianship, killer hit songs, a true party, and a front man that can actually hit his notes outside of the studio.Van Halen came, saw, and kicked Little Rock's ass. It was enough to send Nu Metal acts and emo bands back to the music hell they came from. VAN HALEN IS BACK BABY!!!!!
Well I just have to be the first to write in about this most excellent, excellent concert. This is the 3rd time we have seen Van Halen on this tour. First in Oklahoma City, then Kansas City, and now Little Rock. I have to say......Little Rock was the best. We were in the 3rd row......floor section on Michael's side. We were able to be there because after seeing them at the first 2 concerts, I finally gave in and agreed to take my 74 year old mother who wanted to go so bad to the other shows. Well, she had the time of her life. When the band came out.......and Sammy was initially checking out the audience to see who was out there.........we could see that he spotted Mom in the 3rd row. He gestured to her and I thought that was so neat. I said to the guy behind us who had his 8 year old son, who was eating cotton candy the entire concert.......that there was all generations there.........8 years old to 74 years old. This concert was the best yet. I thought the other 2 were great but this one beat them both. We have never missed a Van Halen concert and this is the first time we were this close to them on stage. THE CONCERT WAS PERFECT. Absolutely NO technical difficulties. Eddie's guitar solo was excellent and long. Alex is in such great shape he amazed us on the drums in his solo. Michael just looks like a kid running around and having so much fun too. His solo was great. And of course, Sammy, stands in a category of his own. The guy is an absolute babe..........and blessed with that unbelievable voice. We drove from Oklahoma City to Little Rock and back to Oklahoma City in the same night in a rental car this time........We used our heads this time!! After our "car breaking down story" on the way to Kansas City that I submitted to the fans notes.
We just had the time of our lives there on Friday night. Going to all 3 of these concerts this year cost us alot of money and we are just hard working pay check to pay check kind of people.........but I can say this..........it was worth every penny and we'll never regret it or forget it. We would do it all over again if we could.
Eddie, Alex, Michael and Sammy are just so talented and we are true die-hard fans of the band. I think, by them adding all the shows to their line up............they must realize by now they can still pull in a huge, huge crowd of fans. There could be no better announcement made by them except them announcing that they will come out with a new album and do this all over again next year. Eddie wrote all those songs over the years.......they have to be played and sung............we missed you all these years and so glad to see you do it again.........you did it all for your loyal fans...........and We Thank You......!
Carl & Judy Heinitz
Taking half a day off from the office and driving to Little Rock from Memphis for the "5-star" experience was worth every minute. I've done my best to attend every Van Halen show in the area since 1984 (Memphis '84 with DLR was my first VH show) and the Little Rock soundcheck was the perfect segue for my first VH concert since 1995. Highlights include:
Eddie, Mike, and Alex right there! The guys were having a blast and sincerely excited to see the 5-star fans (25-30 people in the group)....Poundcake, It's About Time, Runnin' with the Devil, I'm the One and Jump. When Mike and Eddie did the vocal thing during I'm the One, I almost lost it! After finishing Jump, Eddie came to the edge of the stage, sat down, and hung out for a solid 15-20 minutes. With the exception of Eddie getting irritated with some loud drunk guy in the group, he appeared to be getting a kick out of hanging out and swapping stories. Other notable Eddie sayings during soundcheck include "after tonight, Little Rock will be known as Big Rock" and "Sweet Connie Hamzy really gets around" (Connie Hamzy is an infamous groupie who was immortalized in Grand Funk Railroad's anthem, "We're an American Band"...she calls Little Rock home). Eddie also had "5150" written on his stomach. Someone asked him if it was a tattoo and Eddie responded "what the fuck does it look like? It's a goddamn sharpie". Eddie also stated on several occasions that his cancer "is not in remission, it's gone completely" and he said that "having his hip replaced hurt like hell". At one point Eddie shook my hand and gave me two guitar picks. I asked Eddie to sign my Fair Warning CD jacket but he said "sorry, if I sign it then I'll have to sign them all"....disappointing but certainly understandable. After 15-20 minutes, Eddie threw out a few picks and then handed this guy a plastic cup half full of picks to be distributed. He thanked everyone and said he was looking forward to the show. Mike and Al split shortly after playing Jump and did not sign autographs. In my opinion, the soundcheck alone is worth the price of the 5-star package.
Throughout the night, the folks in the stage rings were having the time of their lives. Several people were wearing Arkansas Razorback hats and jerseys. Eddie was ON, and I never noticed any equipment problems or grossly missed notes..... Just a guitar master spending some quality time doing what he loves/does best. I personally enjoy Eddie's comments and "noodling" between songs. It only adds to the "liveness" of the show.
Sammy signed almost everything handed to him. Sammy later dove into the Mike/Sammy ring during "Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love". The best was when this guy in the ring had the mike and sang "You know I lost a lot of friends there Sammy..." Sammy got a good laugh! At various times during the show, Mike and Sammy wore a big plastic AR Razorback Hog hat. Not for a moment during the entire show did I sense the four guys in the band weren't giving it their all. No tension. No bad vibes. Just good times all round!
There were approximately 5,400 people in attendance ...small but fun crowd. The crowd really got into Best of Both Worlds, Why Can't This Be Love, Unchained, Ain't Talkin' Bout Love, and the encores.
Eddie played a black and yellow Charvel for four songs. For the remainder of the night, Eddie played a beautiful green Wolfgang. One more notable moment....During Tropic of Capricorn, the crowd started cheering when the video screens showed this stunning gal walking on the beach in a bikini. Sammy started laughing and said "hey, that's my old lady"....
I left the concert telling a friend from Memphis that I sure hope VH can schedule a night later in the tour (or in 2005) for a show at the brand new FedEx Forum on Beal Street in Memphis. There's no way I would pass up the chance for another true 5 star experience in my home town.