Let me open with this: There are Singers, and there are Lead Vocalists. I think, pound for pound David Lee Roth in the first, six-album heyday of Van Halen (and those first couple of solo albums) was the quintessential, rock front man. The look, the stage presence, the witty banter, (the martial arts demonstrations), and the voice that could cut through an arena or stadium. That era of Roth continues to inspire up and comers to this day. Sure, he may not have been known as a Singer in the traditional sense, but he was a helluva front man and entertainer.
However, old man time has a way of settling in on the best of us. DLR's last full-scale concert was a one-off show last April in Alabama. Before that maybe Van Halen's last show in October of 2015 at The Hollywood Bowl. Fast forward to last night at the House of Blues in Las Vegas where he kicked off the first of a 9-show residency with a new backing band. he setlist was made up of a fantastic mix of early Halen and of course, his solo hits as well. The backing band sounds phenomenal in capturing that classic sound. It's made up of guitarists Al Estrada (played with the VH Tribute band Eruption) and Frankie Lindri, bassist Ryan Wheeler, Mike Musselman-Drums and Danny Wagner on Keys. You can see some fan shot footage below.
It may have been the first night, but it seems to me, Dave's lost a lot of his fastball. At times he sounds off key and struggles to hit those higher notes, at other times he's singing the wrong lyrics (listen to "Unchained -verse 2 is sang twice) There's also the matter of "Jump" where it sounds like Dave comes in late on the chorus to a pre-recorded vocal track. His band does carry backing vocal duties so this last point could be a stretch. Obviously, I wasn't there, I'm just going off of youtube here. Watch for yourself, decide on your own, these are only my opinions, which I'm told, currently have the retail value of a sack of peanuts. These Vegas shows will serve as a warm up to his opening slot on KISS's "End of The Road Tour which stops in Manchester NH February 1st. Full Setlist from the House Of Blues below.
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"You Really Got Me"
"Just Like Paradise"
"Dance The Night Away"
"Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love"
"Just A Gigolo" / "I Ain't Got Nobody"