David Lee Roth

22 July 1999

Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre, Englewood, CO


Growing up in the 70's and early 80's, I was forced to miss seeing the David Lee Roth incarnation of Van Halen, before his enforced departure in 1985. Say what you want about the very good technical quality of Sammy Hagar's vocals and guitar work (and rightly so), and say whatever about the current V.H. vocalist, nothing has ever matched the attitude, acrobatics, and passion of David Lee Roth on stage.

Not many surprises this evening. 13 songs--11 Van Halen classics, 2 from his solo career ("Yankee Rose" and "Tobacco Road"). No new material--in fact, nothing more current than 1986. Despite this, Diamond Dave has assembled one exceptionally competent band, including guitarist Terry Kilgore, who was particularly adept at playing virtual note-for-note copies of the electric work credited to Eddie Van Halen on record. From a musical standpoint, this may as well have been a 1985 Van Halen concert.

I'm sure some in the audience admired his silver, two-piece spandex attire, though being only 14 rows back made his outfit more revealing than one may have wanted. Dave's still a drinker, guzzling a predictable bottle of Jack Daniels, and letting out the invariable, "I forgot the f*@#in' lyrics, man!" during "Mean Street".

However, hearing technically superb, live renditions of "Jump", "Unchained", "Panama", "Hot For Teacher", "Runnin' With The Devil", and even "Eruption" and "Little Guitars", made the show well worth the time and money.

No "Just Like Paradise", "Damn Good (Times)", "Just A Gigolo", or "California Girls", but a good setlist nonetheless.

And, his baton work with an ersatz microphone stand led some good cheers as well.

Thanks, Dave--you've found the right band!

[***1/2] - Steven T.

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