Sammy Hagar Was the Life of KSHE 95’s Birthday Party Friday in Saint Louis

Sammy Hagar and The Circle performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday for KSHE 95’s 55th birthday bash. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

 

-by Sean Derrick

 

Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre Saint Louis played host Friday to local rock radio powerhouse KSHE 95’s 55th birthday party with none other than Saint Louis’ favorite adopted son and ageless wonder, Sammy Hagar.

Sammy Hagar and The Circle performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday for KSHE 95’s 55th birthday bash. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Hagar was the obvious choice from the very first planning stages. The station is celebrating it’s 55th consecutive year with a rock radio format, it is the oldest continuous rock station in the world. Sammy Hagar has been very vocal about crediting KSHE 95 with launching his career with Montrose and St. Louis fans in return adore him.

Sammy Hagar and The Circle performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday for KSHE 95’s 55th birthday bash. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

In front of 16,000 Red Heads Hagar and his band The Circle (Hagar – lead vocals/guitar, Michael Anthony – bass, Vic Johnson – lead guitar, and Jason Bonham – drums) brought the party to its feet and didn’t stop for 90 minutes of pure party. For the entire set they touched on many different points of Hagar’s long and storied career.

Vic Johnson of Sammy Hagar and The Circle performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday for KSHE 95’s 55th birthday bash. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

They kicked things off with the title track to the newest album “Crazy Times”, an up-tempo rocker with a nod to the crazy timeline we are living in. The album is due to drop September 30. Definitely have to check that out.

Sammy Hagar and The Circle performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday for KSHE 95’s 55th birthday bash. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

From there it was a time warp party hitting every decade from 1982’s “Three Lock Box”, to 1999’s “Mas Tequila”, and all the way back to 1973’s “Rock Candy” from the first Montrose Album.

There were also many Van Halen songs, as well. Something Hagar has recently said he will do more of, since no one else is playing them after Eddie Van Halen passed. Included in that grouping is the gritty “Poundcake” from 1991’s For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge complete with Johnson’s use of a drill in the opening 1st bar (in this case it looks to be a Dremel, but the effects are essentially the same.)

Sammy Hagar and The Circle performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday for KSHE 95’s 55th birthday bash. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

They even did a David Lee Roth era Van Halen song in “Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Love” which featured bassist Michael Anthony (as you may remember was the original bassist and falsetto backing vocals for many years of Van Halen) in the lead vocal spotlight. He killed it. Hagar and Anthony then split the lead vocals on Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” in a tribute to drummer Jason Bonham’s late great father John Bonham.

Michael Anthony of Sammy Hagar and The Circle performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday for KSHE 95’s 55th birthday bash. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Bonham and Hagar were chatting about St. Louis and had a fun back and forth which culminated in Bonham showed his knowledge of St. Louis fans by simply uttering 5 words: “Country Roads, take me home” and that was all which was needed as the entire amphitheatre in unison sang the complete chorus to the John Denver classic. (Those of you who are Blues fans understand the connection and sentiment. Those of you who aren’t, ask a Blues fan.)

Jason Bonham of Sammy Hagar and The Circle performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday for KSHE 95’s 55th birthday bash. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

The number 55 was prominent throughout the night, from the Hagar hit “I Can’t Drive 55”, to shirts, Cardinals Jerseys thrown on stage with Hagar’s name and 55 on the back (Which, of course, he wore), and KSHE 95’s 55th birthday (complete with their own shirt with the number emblazoned on what looks like a highway sign/speed zone sign, or both.). Such a great tie-in all around.

Sammy Hagar and The Circle performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday for KSHE 95’s 55th birthday bash. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Hagar, always seemingly in the mood to party, at one point was pouring samples of his Santa Tequila to the lucky fans in the front row, during the song “Mas Tequila” of course.

Sammy Hagar and The Circle performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday for KSHE 95’s 55th birthday bash. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

At 74 Hagar may not have the crisp vocals he once had, but his attitude and energy more than make up for that. Hell, I wish I had his energy, and I am 22 years younger.

Hagar has said he won’t follow the trend some older rockers have done when they have a farewell tour. He has said he will just hang it up when the time is right. So, if you are waiting to see him on his “farewell tour” you can forget about that and just join the party now, because you just never know.

KSHE 95’s DJ Lern (with cardboard DJ John Ulett) helping introduce Sammy Hagar and The Circle at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday for KSHE 95’s 55th birthday bash. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Though part of me fully expects the ageless wonder Hagar to be running circles on stage when KSHE turns 75.  Hey, it could happen, and a large crowd will welcome him.

George Thorogood and the Destroyers performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday for KSHE 95’s 55th birthday bash. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

George Thorogood got the groove going with a guitar driven blues rock set that left you wanting more. Brooks Young opened the show with a quaint acoustic set.

George Thorogood and the Destroyers performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday for KSHE 95’s 55th birthday bash. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Be sure to check out the gallery of images from the show after the setlist below.

 

Sammy Hagar and The Circle Setlist:

Crazy Times

There’s Only One Way to Rock

Poundcake

Three Lock Box

Top of the World

Rock Candy

Finish What You Started

Mas Tequila

Your Love is Driving Me Crazy

Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Love (Michael Anthony lead vocals)

Rock and Roll (Led Zeppelin cover) (Hagar and Anthony shared lead vocals)

Right Now

Why Can’t This Be Love

I Can’t Drive 55

Heavy Metal

When It’s Love

Eagles Fly

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