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FROM THE VAULT: OTD 30 Years Ago – Van Halen Concert Was Second to None (4-15-1992)

Eddie Van Halen performs with Van Halen at The Arena in St. Louis April 15, 1992.Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

 

(Originally published April 21, 1992 Edwardsville (IL) Intelligencer) – by Sean Derrick

 

The hard rock band Van Halen literally stormed into The Arena in St. Louis on April 15 and shook the roof off the old barn. From the first power drill chord on “Poundcake” guitarist Eddie Van Halen, lead singer (and St. Louis’ favorite adopted son) Sammy Hagar, drummer Alex Van Halen, and bassist Michael Anthony ripped the rafters like only Van Halen could.

The gritty “Judgment Day” and “Runaround” came next.

Michael Anthony performs with Van Halen at The Arena in St. Louis April 15, 1992.Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

The band is finishing their tour in support of their Grammy-winning multi-platinum LP For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.

The boys slowed it down a bit for “When It’s Love”, from the 1988 smash release OU812. The mood wasn’t slow for long as they tore into the high-energy, stick-it-to-ya “There’s Only One Way To Rock”, followed closely by a maniacal bass solo by Anthony. “Pleasure Dome came next, which was surprisingly done as an instrumental before a sublime drum solo from Alex Van Halen.

The group went back to the pre-Hagar days for a fun version of “Panama.” Hagar didn’t get to sing the whole song as he was trying to unfurl some of the insane barrage of homemade banners that were thrown on stage. So he let the crowd sing instead. Unlike a lot of groups Van Halen, especially Hagar, tries to acknowledge everything thrown their way. Even if it is a pair of shorts, t-shirt, hat, a pair of sunglasses, underwear, bracelet, etc. Whatever it is Hagar will try to unfurl it or wear it.

Sammy Hagar performs with Van Halen at The Arena in St. Louis April 15, 1992.Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Van Halen then turned on their current single “Right Now,” before going back to their first ever single with Hagar “Why Can’t This Be Love,” from their 5150 LP. All three of their albums with Hagar have reached Number 1 on Billboard’s 200 Album Charts.

The twangy, yet poppy, “Finish What Ya Started” came next before Hagar performed a solo acoustic version of “Give to Live” before Eddie did a solo of his own. For 15 minutes Eddie had kept the entire audience breathless in awe, still not grasping that this guy really is human.

Eddie Van Halen performs with Van Halen at The Arena in St. Louis April 15, 1992.Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

One of the only down sides to the entire show was an attempted medley of covers that ranged from Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen” to Cream’s “Crossroads”. Hagar said they wanted to make that special for the fans, but from what I gathered and the crowd’s reaction, it wasn’t.

They rebounded with the Kink’s “You Really Got Me” before finishing off the main set with blistering versions of “I Can’t Drive 55”, “Best of Both Worlds”, and “Top of the World”. The encore consisted of the Number one single of 1984 “Jump” and “The Dream is Over”.

Sammy Hagar performs with Van Halen at The Arena in St. Louis April 15, 1992.Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Throughout the two-plus hour event Hagar talked to the crowd like he was in their living room. He talked about everything from being drunk at the Blues-Blackhawks game the previous night, to the weather, to philosophy. The entire Blues team showed up for the show, watching as guests of Hagar’s from high above in private boxes at The Arena.

Eddie VAn Halen with Sammy Hagar running behind him, performs with Van Halen at The Arena in St. Louis April 15, 1992.Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Only a few things disappointed me: Where was “Dreams”? Also, all of Eddie’s keyboard parts were piped in from the soundboard. Eddie is a great keyboardist, and should show off his skills for at least some of the songs. Oh well, the guitar IS his signature instrument. Apart from these infinitesimal and insignificant details, the show was second to none.

 

2 thoughts on “FROM THE VAULT: OTD 30 Years Ago – Van Halen Concert Was Second to None (4-15-1992)

  • RANDY JACKSON

    Very cool as always.

    Reply

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