On Tuesday, March 13, Van Halen rolled into Manchester, New Hampshire, and played to a packed house at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
The city was taken over by Van Halen fever. Every bar I walked into was packed to the gills, cranking stuff like “Drop Dead Legs" from 1984.
I got to the venue early to check out the much-talked-about opening-act choice, Kool & The Gang. Like everyone else, when I heard they were on the bill for the length of the tour, I was a little confused. And sure enough, when they started up, everyone was like, “What are these guys doing here?”
But by the third song, they had won over the crowd -- scoring a standing ovation at the end of their set. They did a great job of getting the crowd pumped up for the main event.
Half an hour later, Van Halen came out unannounced. No intro reel, nothing. They just started. Alex was pounding on the drums, Eddie started ripping, Dave said, "Let's go!," and it was on. Eddie fired into the opening riff of “Unchained,” and the place went nuts.
The band was in fine form, especially Eddie, who looks happy and healthy, doing what he was put on earth to do. He is playing the best he's played in years. It also ruled when Dave broke up a fight during “(Oh) Pretty Woman,” as seen in an already-infamous clip on GuitarWorld.com.
I filmed a few songs myself, and I've included the videos below (presented in order). Hope you enjoy them!
I’ve also included the set list, which you can check out below.
My only complaint is that I would’ve liked to have heard some more gems like “I'm The One," “Romeo Delight," “Atomic Punk" and “Feel Your Love Tonight" -- but I can't really complain. Diamond Dave sounded awesome and put on a great performance. Alex and Wolfgang were spot on.
VH played a blistering two-hour set.
Van Halen set list, March 13, 2012, Manchester, New Hampshire:
Unchained (From Fair Warning)
Runnin' With the Devil (From Van Halen)
She's The Woman (From A Different Kind Of Truth)
The Full Bug (From Diver Down)
Tattoo (From A Different Kind Of Truth)
Everybody Wants Some (From Women And Children First)
Somebody Get Me A Doctor (From Van Halen II)
China Town (From A Different Kind Of Truth)
Hear About It Later (From Fair Warning)
Oh, Pretty Woman (From Diver Down)
You Really Got Me (From Van Halen)
The Trouble with Never (From A Different Kind Of Truth)
Dance The Night Away (From Van Halen II)
I'll Wait (From 1984)
Hot For Teacher (From 1984)
Women In Love (From Van Halen II)
Girl Gone Bad (From 1984)
Beautiful Girls (From Van Halen II)
Ice Cream Man (From Van Halen)
Panama (From 1984)
Eddie's Guitar Solo
Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love (From Van Halen)
Jump (From 1984)
Dave Reffett is a Berklee College of Music graduate and has worked with some of the best players in rock and metal. He is an instructor at (and the head of) the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal department at The Real School of Music in the metro Boston area. He also is a master clinician and a highly-in-demand private guitar teacher. He teaches lessons in person and worldwide via Skype. As an artist and performer, he is working on some soon-to-be-revealed high-profile projects with A-list players in rock and metal. In 2009, he formed the musical project Shredding The Envelope and released the critically acclaimed album The Call Of The Flames. Dave also is an official artist endorsee for companies like Seymour Duncan, Gibson, Eminence and Esoterik Guitars, which in 2011 released a Dave Reffett signature model guitar, the DR-1. Dave has worked in the past at Sanctuary Records and Virgin Records, where he promoting acts like The Rolling Stones, Janet Jackson, Korn and Meat Loaf.
Dave Reffett headshot photo by Yolanda Sutherland