Monday, May 7, 2012

Van Halen with David Lee Roth - they've still got it!

Growing up in a small town in Tennessee, I was surrounded by people who were die-hard country music fans. While I tended to be the sort who tried to stay under the radar as much as possible (if you're invisible, the theory went, people wouldn't notice you enough to pick on you), my taste in music was my small way of being a rebel.

While many of my peers were extolling the virtues of artists like Alabama, T. G. Shepherd, and Hank Williams, Jr., I was diving head-first into rock and roll. I loved the older stuff - Led Zepplin and Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, to name a few - and really found my groove in the rock of the late 70's and the 80's. I was into all of the "hair" bands - Ratt and Warrant and Poison. I still believe Ronnie James Dio had one of the strongest voices in all of rock-n-roll. I'd stay up for a weekend radio program called "Metal Shop", where I developed a deeper appreciation for WASP and Judas Priest. I've seen Alice Cooper in concert a few times, and would readily see him again and again (one of THE best live showmen out there).

In the center of my love of rock, however, lived one man. Original (and best...ok, ONLY, in my own perfect little world) frontman for Van Halen, "Diamond" David Lee Roth was THE guy with whom I papered the walls of my bedroom. And the doors. And, okay, the ceiling. In 1985, my one big dream crumbled before me - Dave and the band parted company, meaning I'd never get to see them together in concert. I was only 14 at the time, and not in any position to go to a concert for at least a couple more years.

I won't lie, people. When I heard the news, 14 year old me cried. I continued to follow Dave through his solo career, and to ignore the "Van Hagar years" (any other singers aren't even worth Googling to figure out who else tried to front the band). I have been able to see David solo a few times, and it was fun, but it was still not quite the realization of my dream.

This weekend, my dream amazingly came true! They guys have tried unsuccessfully to reunite before, so I've always held my breath when it came to thinking this past Saturday's event would ever be a reality for me. But sure enough, on May 5, 2012, I FINALLY got to see Van Halen live!  (You can look up "Van Halen Tacoma 2012" if you want to see some of the footage folks recorded at the show.)

And it was amazing!

It may have been a once-in-a-lifetime chance, and I'm so glad I was able to pull things together so that I could attend. I was pretty far away, but just happy to be in the same arena with the band. If I'm REALLY lucky, maybe they'll stay together, put out another album, and go on another tour. If they do, I'm going to get a MUCH better seat one way or another! :)

I'm still flying high over this experience. I find myself grinning like an idiot even now, days later!

What artist or group would be your "dream" to see live in concert? If your dream concert happened and you were able to attend, did it live up to your expectations?