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This was definately one of the best concerts ever from Van Halen. There was a full arena waiting for them, there was a good supporting band who paid tribute to, and quoting them, Van Halen is "...a phenomenal band..." and " of the greatest rock bands of all time...". Van Halen, live in Sacramento - © Olho Nu There was energy and, more important, a great response from the band, delivering a great performance while maintaining a close connection with the fans.

Unexpectadly, this new setlist uses the band's greatest hit as an opener; maybe that's because they're now able to keep an amazing high energy throughout the whole performance.
The full setlist was:

Humans Being
[Bass Solo]
Somebody Get Me a Doctor
It's About Time
[Drum Solo]
Top Of The World
Why Can't This Be Love
Deeper Kinda Love / Eagles Fly / Halleluiah
The Seventh Seal
Up For Breakfast
Best of Both Worlds
[Guitar Solo]
Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love
Right Now

For the first encore:
You Really Got Me

For the second encore:
When It's Love

The crowd sang from the first moment until the last... it was nothing short of a huge concert. Some fans expected Wolfie to appear during the guitar solo but he didn't and it was strange that the band didn't perform "Learning To See", one of the three new songs.

But the sound was great, the band gave 110% (which caused Eddie to completely lose his voice) and there's no doubt that Van Halen is (still) a live band !!!

Sammy, Mike, Al & Eddie at full power - © Olho Nu

Here's a review from a fan (called mogwai73) who attended the show, and to whom we have to thank for the pictures:

"The show didn't seem to start that well. When we got to the ARCO Arena, the parking lot was still closed and there was a line forming. So, we decided to leave the car nearby and walk to the door. One hour before the show, the staff still did not know what entrance would be used for the general admission tickets. But, after a 45 minute wait under a hot sun, we entered. For the first 100~150 fans, we were given a pink bracelet that would allow us to be really close to the stage, unlike the other fans who would have to stay in a different section, some 30 feet away from the action. Needless to say, it was fabulous to watch them from there.

The opening band, Shinedown, did preety well and they called upon all the audience to get up and be ready for Van Halen, which earned them a standing ovation on their final song. When the lights went down for Van Halen and the first guitar sounds surged, it seemed the amps were insufucient for the crowd's noise. Van Halen opened the concert with 'Jump' - © Olho Nu And then... Jump !... The (pre-recorded) synth riff took over and everyone in the place sang together what is probably, the anthem of the band.

The crowd was hungry for movement and Runaround was perfect as a follow-up. Sammy walked all over the stage, reaching all the fans, screaming higher and higher all the way to Humans Being, a song that he has started to sing live on this tour (he left the band shortly after they recorded the song for the "Twister" movie soundtrack). Eddie started this one with the muted intro and improvized from there.

After that, Mr Michael Anthony (and Mr Jack Daniels) entered the main scene. Mike picked up a miniature bottle of whiskey and stared at it for a moment... he offered that same bottle to a fan and received a full-sized one, from where he drank a (somewhat massive) sip. His trademark solo was also massive and he waited for the band to return and jump on to Somebody Get Me A Doctor, which he sang on his own.

Another tune, and there you find Sammy explaining his Poundcake recipe, after Eddie started the song with his elecric-drill-over-the-pickups intro. And then, the first new song, It's About Time. Curious (or not), the whole arena sang the chorus with them and that boosted their performance even more (possible?). Alex's solo was a short one but got immense response from the hurling crowd. And when the (muted) riff of the following started to sound, Sammy wasn't on the set... just because he was up there, inside the big metal mine that has the giant screen. He was on Top Of The World (along with everyone else).

By then, Sammy had signed a lot of CDs, vynil records, t-shirts, jackets and was using now a t-shirt that some fan had thrown up there. Remembering the "Got Milk" ad that featured Al and Eddie a few years ago, the t-shirt read "F%#© Milk... Got Pot?" to what Sammy added a "Yes I Do" and a signature. Edward Van Halen used a striped Charvel during 'Up For Breakfast'
After came the band's first success with the red rocker, Why Can't This Be Love. After that, the spotlight was on Sammy and he used a Gibson Les Paul to sing a medley of three of his songs. That prooved that he has a lot of fans... also as a solo artist.

Up For Breakfast was next (Eddie used his new custom yellow and black striped Charvel, a guitar that will soon be available for auction at eBay) and Best Of Both Worlds soon followed. And then, highlighs on Ed, the guitarman. His world acclaimed technique, sonority and original playing are still absolutely jaw-drawpping and tids and bits from several of his masterpieces were heard (without his son onstage). I could go on & on & on talking about him, but you know what I mean.

The band joined Eddie and they went on with the show with Dreams and Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love, a song that had several singers, as Sammy jumped in the pit to let some lucky fans lend a hand (or should I say, a vocal cord). The video for Right Now was edited to accompaign the ending of the setlist (it seems that "right now, nothing is more expensive than regret" has something to do with the US president's decisions but more important "right now, Van Halen is kickin' ass in Sacramento").

Eddie tried to thank but he had lost his voice (wow!) so he had to shout "hey!" along with all the fans as a goodbye. The more-than-expected encore showed Panama and You Really Got Me (two DLR songs) and then Eddie tried to say thanks again, but all he could do was utter something like "...tonight, I have no voice left because you all just kicked ass !!!" which brought the house down. Sammy had said before that although there were around 15,000 people there, they seemed well over 20,000.

After their second goodbye and return, the closing of the show explained the relationship of the band and their fans... When It's Love preety much sums up what happened in Sacramanto: two devoted entities, band and public, having a memorous time and surpassing all the dificult moments (on this song, Eddie broke his high E-string and had the guitar replaced by a green quilted EVH Special with a Fernandes Sustainer as neck pickup).

The show was over and while walking away, we still could see a video of the stage being build. Spectacular..."

After this, a lot of people decided to attend the Oakland concert, this friday. And it's crystal clear why.

© Olho Nu, written authorization expressed by mogwai73
Reproduction authorized with explicit copyright notice

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© Olho Nu, 2004 - a naked eye observation, without copyrights or affliations (unless otherwise stated).