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REVIEW: Van Halen at Madison Square Garden in NYC
Over the past eight years, I've been witness to some pretty low moments in the career of Eddie Van Halen—arguably the greatest rock guitarist of all time. No need to go into dirty details, as most have been publicly aired, but even though I'd seen recent footage of the "new and improved" Van Halen, I was still wondering if I would regret shelling out my hard-earned cash on the exorbitantly priced tickets.
But as the house lights went down inside New York City's famous Madison Square Garden, and Van Halen launched into their classic Kinks cover "You Really Got Me," a wave of adolescent excitement washed over me. There it was: Ed's huge guitar sound, Alex's powerful drumming, even Wolfgang holding down the low end while contributing surprisingly stellar backing vocals, and 56-year-old Diamond Dave showing off his acrobatic and Martial arts-inspired moves like he was still 26 ... And then he started singing. Stumbling through the lyrics with winded effort at odds with his impressive physical fitness, I looked at my wife, and we shook our heads together, thinking, "Uh, oh."
But with the third song of the night, "She's the Woman," one of the highlights from the band's new album A Different Kind of Truth, Roth's vocals began showing signs of life. By the sixth song, "Everybody Wants Some," he was no longer reaching, and as the band launched into "Somebody Get Me a Doctor," Roth was in full stride and that adolescent excitement returned in full force.
The real star of this show, of course, was Eddie, who performed with renewed vigor and unmistakable joie de vivre. Looking much healthier and happier than he has since, well, the early '90s, it was downright special to see this guitar hero back on his game. Wielding his new EVH Wolfgang Stealth signature axe and with a backline of EVH amps generating heart-thumping "brown sound" throughout the arena, Eddie plowed through classic riffs with power and precision. His solos were bold yet bouncy, with lead fills often reaching that "effortless, off-the-cuff" level that makes his playing so special.
From the electrifying ending to "Ice Cream Man" through the final notes of night closer "Jump," Eddie seemed to shift into overdrive, reaching his zenith during his seven-and-a-half minute guitar solo, comprising bits of "Eruption," "Spanish Fly," and "Cathedral" and showcasing classic Van Halen-isms like tapping, volume swells, tapped harmonics, and tremolo picking.
After the confetti cannons exploded and the band took its final bow, as we shuffled out of the Garden, the excited utterances of thrilled fans pretty much provided the evening's verdict. Van Halen, at least for now, is back—while not better than ever, certainly better than they've been in a long time, and definitely worth that exorbitant price of admission.
Van Halen 2/28/2012 NYC Set List:
You Really Got Me
Runnin' With the Devil
She's the Woman
Everybody Wants Some
Somebody Get Me a Doctor
Hear About It Later
Oh, Pretty Woman
The Trouble With Never
Dance the Night Away
Hot For Teacher
Women in Love
Girl Gone Bad
Ice Cream Man
Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love
Davy Jones of the Monkees Is Dead at Age 66
Davy Jones of the Monkees died of a heart attack at his home today in Florida. He was 66.
A singer and actor from a young age, Jones's career began on the British soap opera "Coronation Street" when he was just 11 years old, appearing in the BBC series "Z-Cars" soon afterward. At age 18, he appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" on the same episode that introduced the Beatles to the U.S. in February 1964. At that moment, he decided he wanted to be a professional musician.
In 1965, Jones joined Mickey Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork to form the Monkees, a group created expressly for the TV show of the same name. The band was a major pop success with hits including "Daydream Believer," "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone," "Pleasant Valley Sunday," "Last Train to Clarksville," and of course, "I'm a Believer." The Monkees broke up after the TV series ended, though Jones and other members toured throughout the years as various incarnations of the band.
Jones is survived by his wife, Jessica, and four daughters from previous marriages.
John Mayer Announces Spring Tour Dates and Releases New Single
Seven-time Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and guitairst John Mayer launches his first U.S. tour in two years on April 9, stopping in 18 cities through May 6. The tour leads into Mayer's upcoming fifth album, Born and Raised, which will be released soon thereafter.
Mayer produced Born and Raised with Don Was (Rolling Stones, B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt). Rock legends David Crosby and Graham Nash provide vocals on the title song and musicians joining Mayer on the album and on the road include highly-regarded keyboardist/pianist Chuck Leavell—who has worked with the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and The Allman Brothers Band—as well as previous collaborators Sean Hurley on bass and Aaron Sterling on drums. Rounding out the touring band are David Ryan Harris on guitar and vocals, Doug Pettibone on guitar and Michito Sanchez on percussion.
Mayer recently previewed the album's first single "Shadow Days" on his tumblr blog, and the song is now on radio. He debuts his new album with a performance at SXSW on March 17.
Mayer became passionate about supporting U.S. war veterans following a visit to the Marine Corps' Camp Lejeune in North Carolina four years ago. He has since spent time with active military and veterans while touring, and partnered with the Northern California Institute of Research and Education (NCIRE) to provide veterans with a healthy reintegration into civilian life which will help heal the battle scars caused by the trauma they experienced.
Concertgoers can join Mayer in his support of veterans in two ways. A block of third-row orchestra seats will be made available for sale at a premium price exclusively through Tickets-For-Charity, with proceeds going to Mayer/NCIRE programs. At Tickets-For-Charity, fans pay the same or better price found elsewhere for high-demand seats, with 100% of above-face benefit redirected to charity. For more information, click here. Mayer fans can also bid on four front-row tickets, plus a chance to meet him, with proceeds also going to Mayer/NCIRE programs for veterans.
In 2011, through his partnership with NCIRE, Mayer was able to launch the first of several pilot programs to benefit the young men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Programs include a mobile exercise and wellness program; the development of a program of integrative medicine for traumatic stress; a study on veterans' readjustment to civilian life which aims to develop new therapeutic tools to aid the transition; and a first-of-its-kind screening and intervention program for women suffering from eating disorders triggered by post traumatic stress related to combat.
Spring Tour Dates:
4/9 Bloomington, IN
4/10 East Lansing, MI
4/12 Grand Rapids, MI
4/13 West Lafayette, IN
4/14 Detroit, MI
4/17 Orono, ME
4/18 Providence, RI
4/19 West Point, NY
4/21 Buffalo, NY
4/22 Wallingford, CT
4/24 Richmond, VA
4/26 Tuscaloosa, AL
4/29 New Orleans, LA
4/30 Memphis, TN
5/2: Kansas City, MO
5/4: Albuquerque, NM
5/5: Las Vegas, NV
5/6: Phoenix, AZ
Video of Greg Koch at the Fender Road Show in Australia
Jon Bloomer, the man behind the wonderful Guitar Noize blog www.guitarnoize.com, attended the Australian Fender Road Show this past Sunday (2/19) and was treated to the blistering' gristlin' of our pal Greg Koch. It was Bloomer's first time seeing Koch live, and judging by his review, Jon was blown away.
You can read Jon's full blog post on the show at GuitarNoize.com. Meanwhile, here's some video footage from the event.
Five Finger Death Punch Official Guitar Tab for American Capitalist
We're excited to announce we've just posted the official, note-for-note guitar tab for all 11 songs on American Capitalist, the most recent album from Five Finger Death Punch. Featuring the hard-hitting riffs and searing solos of rising guitar heroes Zoltan Bathory and Jason Hook, American Capitalist is the band's best and smartest effort to date, led by the fiery opening title track and their crushing new single "Remember Everything."
Five Finger Death Punch American Capitalist guitar tab
All Five Finger Death Punch guitar tabs
If you'd prefer to order the full guitar tab book, click on the image below.
As reported here, Five Finger Death Punch will be playing a short run of dates across western Canada and select U.S. cities in March. For all the latest 5FDP news, please visit their official web site, fivefingerdeathpunch.com.
Styx, REO Speedwagon, Ted Nugent Announce Summer Tour
Spring is just a month away, which means summer is just down the road, which in turn means the summer nostalgia tour season will soon be upon us. This year, late '70s and early '80s arena rockers Styx, REO Speedwagon, and Ted Nugent are among the first to team up, for he Midwest Rock 'N' Roll Express tour. Some may call it "dinosaur rock," but considering all three of these acts have been selling out arenas and amphitheaters for 30 years now, well, that's just good ol' rock 'n' roll to me!
"I am a Midwest boy, born and raised with Midwest values," says REO Speedwagon singer/guitarist Kevin Cronin. "In the Midwest we work hard, play hard, and rock hard. I am proud to join my brothers in Styx and Ted Nugent to celebrate Midwest rock 'n' roll and represent the greatest rock fans in the world."
Ted Nugent couldn't agree more. "The heart and soul of American R&B and R&R has always gushed forth from the heartland of America. REO, Styx, and The Nuge have always celebrated the power of our special music and on the mighty Midwest Rock 'N Roll Express, the energy, attitude, and spirit is more intense than ever."
As Styx singer/guitarist Tommy Shaw proclaims, "It's gonna be a Twang Fest of screaming guitars and big, sing-along choruses that continue to be the soundtrack for the misbehavior of our collective fan base. In other words, a real good time."
Here are the Midwest Rock 'n' Roll Express tour dates. Ted Nugent hits the stage at 7:00pm at every stop unless noted otherwise. Tickets for most stops go on sale in early March.
5/1 Hidalgo, TX
5/3 Albuquerque, NM
5/4 Tucson, AZ (No Nugent)
5/5 Las Vegas, NV
5/6 Los Angeles, CA
5/8 Denver, CO
5/10 Council Bluffs, IA
5/11 Oklahoma City, OK
5/12 Houston, TX (No Nugent)
5/13 Corpus Christi, TX
5/17 Charlotte, NC
5/19 Virginia Beach, VA
5/20 Alpharetta, GA
6/21 Kansas City, MO
6/22 St. Louis, MO
6/23 Ft. Knox, KY
6/24 Chicago, IL
6/26 Cincinnati, OH
6/28 Detroit, MI
6/29 Scranton, PA
6/30 Cleveland, OH
7/1 Atlantic City, NJ
7/3 Verona, NY
7/5 Uncasville, CT
7/6 Big Flats, NY
7/7 Gilford, NY
For all the latest news, visit www.styxworld.com, www.reospeedwagon.com, or www.tednugent.com.
B.B. King, Jeff Beck, Keb' Mo' Among Artists to Perform at White House Blues Event
Just saw a message from Jeff Beck saying he's on his way to perform at the White House tonight (2/21), adding, "There will be some surprise collaborations tonight so make sure you watch."
Beck, along with B.B. King, Mick Jagger, and Keb' Mo', among others, will be performing as part of "In Performance at the White House: Red, White, and Blues," a program organized to celebrate blues music as part of Black History Month. The program will be live streamed at www.whitehouse.gov/live, and also broadcast on PBS stations at 9 p.m. on February 27.
President Obama will deliver remarks at the event.
The President and his wife, Michelle, have hosted several "In Performance" evenings featuring Broadway, Hispanic, and country music, among others.
UPDATE: Following the evening's star-studded performances, President Obama joined the jam to sing a chorus of "Sweet Home Chicago!" Video below!