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  1. #1
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    09.02.99
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    46
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    Somewhere Near LA
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    68,691
    Favorite VH Album

    Fair Warning
    Favorite VH Song

    Unchained
    Last Online

    12.12.17 @ 12:38 PM
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    Default Brett's Review From The Secret LA Gig - 02.01.12

    Ok fair warning…this is gonna be super long.

    Ok so it was quite an amazing day. I actually knew about the show right after the Café Wha gig, but was sworn to secrecy, which was killing me for the last month. But I certainly wasn’t going to blow my big chance, so I smartly shut my ass. But I had known for a while I was going.

    So around 5:00 PM, after I left work early, and we dropped our daughter off at my parents’ house, my wife and I ventured down to Henson Studios in Hollywood. Amazingly, LA traffic was pretty light and we were down there by 5:35 or so. There was nothing going on out front, just a couple security people. We drove up and asked, “Do we go here for the show?” Guy is all, “What show?” “The Van Halen show!” my wife said. Obviously they were playing dumb unless you knew what the event was. Guy was cool, we told him we had a valet parking pass. He said, “Come back around 7, get in the line, and you can get your car parked.” Ok cool, so we parked in a supermarket parking lot for a while, got a snack...I posted on the board a lot (messing with you guys), and we just listened to music to kill time.

    So around 6:45, I said let’s just drive back. So we drive right up to the gate. I show them the pass, we get out of the car and get on line in front of the studio. We’re about 15 people back. All of a sudden Jeff Hausman walks up to me, and we introduce ourselves for the first time in person. It was cool to finally meet him after working together for so long. We then met his lovely wife Beth. Such cool people. I’m serious, if I see anything negative about Jeff on this board I’m banning your ass. They are the nicest people and love the band so much, and they work so hard, they should be appreciated for everything they do for the fans. So we told them to stand up in line with us.

    So we get in, no issues. We’re in the courtyard of the studio, it’s around 7:10 maybe. It was a beautiful So Cal night, so that was great since the reception was outside. I’m posting on the board, giving you guys a hard time about where I am, my wife and I go get some free gourmet roach coach food (really good stuff), and of course a free open bar at our disposal. Kind of wasted on us since I was driving and going to work the next day, and of course my wife doesn’t drink anymore. But we did have lots of soda. So we were plenty wired.

    Caught up with Jeff again, was introduced to JHale667 and bantonelli from the Army. Awesome people, we wound up standing next to them at the show, and talked for HOURS afterwards. We even got a pic of myself, Jeff, and Jay together which FOR SURE will be posted. Peace amongst the sites. HAHA! We had a great time talking, Jay is a funny mother f-er.

    So after we’ve gorged for an hour, wandered around looking for famous people (I don’t think we saw any…except I did notice John 5) 8:00 comes, and they tell us we can come in. We line up, walk through a long black hall, which opens up into a room that was probably 30-35 feet wide and was in the shape of a U, couldn’t have held more than a couple hundred people. Down the sides was railing, and a walkway (only Dave used), and on all three walls was one long video board displaying random videos, messages, etc. cool stuff from the band. It was very well done, looked awesome, which I am sure you have seen in the pics that have surfaced so far. Be cool if they use that on the tour. Of course all this time I’m shooting pics and posting on the board as I can, so it’s like doing 50 things at once.

    Being true VH dorks, while the media dorks were busy yapping and wanting to be seen, my wife and made our way towards Ed's side of the stage, about 3 people back from the stage. So we were I would say five feet from Ed, which was perfect. Not too close, the perfect distance. JHale and bantonelli were right next to us, and Jeff and Beth were all the way up front in the middle.

    Show starts!! Not sure what exact time, but out comes the band…and it’s just shocking. They’re right there, I mean RIGHT there!! It’s very surreal. Like I mentioned last night, and it’s not a dig or anything, but at first it was shocking how much older Ed and Al looked. Obviously the white light was right on them and we were so close, but it’s clear they have aged. And that’s totally fine, it just made me kinda feel old. Eddie’s not the same little kid anymore. Hell I’m not 13 anymore either!

    But man the sound was EXCELLENT in there. Very clear and while it was sort of hard to hear Dave sometimes, it was still excellent, considering we were right in front of Ed’s 5150’s…he used his full rig not the micros.

    Ed played his ass off, smiling from ear to ear for the entire hour or so. There is that fire back in his playing, and even though I thought he struggled with a few things (the beginning of the Ice Cream Man solo for example), it is really nice to see Ed playing at this level again. And he looks so healthy, and it just made me feel really good. And the connection he has with Wolfgang on stage is very special. Yes I miss Mike, but Wolf just makes Eddie feel good and inspired, and that’s all that matters at this point.

    Ed used his Stealth Wolfgang on every song, except “Tattoo” where he used the Frankie (I think it was a replica Frank) with a Wolfgang neck and bridge pickup. Wolfgang used three basses. A stealth with gray stripes, the blue/white/black one he used last tour, and then a bumblebee bass.

    Wolfie looks good, much more comfortable on stage, much better presence. He realizes his dad and Dave are the show, so he is very careful not to stomp on that. His singing was very good. He’ll never be Mike vocally, but he’s doing very well singing the harmonies. I thought he did a great job last night, and a lot of the time it was just him singing with Dave. He looks like a member of the band now, not just a kid up there playing with older guys. Kudos to Wolf.

    Dave was Dave. Very funny, and the guy has more energy than people half his age. Vocally, I thought he sounded great on most of the songs, I think he got tired on some of the them, he struggled a bit. But I have no issues with DLR. He’s solid. Is he the 25-year old Dave who can whoop and scream like he used to? No, but he more than holds his own and he just makes the shows fun. Dave is fun, period. And his relationship with Eddie on stage seems very genuine, and there were lots of chuckles and smiles all night between them. Life is good.

    Al. What’s to say about Al? He never screws up…ever…EVER!. He could play a 3-piece kit and make it sounds like 50. Al rules.

    All the songs smoked, the set list is below. I thought “Tattoo” sounded 100x better live, I actually liked it a lot more. It just had more energy to it live. “The Trouble With Never” also translated well live, and Eddie is a monster on that thing. The other staples we all know so well were tight and the backing vocals were strong. . Like I said, a lot of times it was just Wolf and Dave, and it sounded great. For me it’s been 28 years since I’ve sung along to Van Halen doing “Everybody Wants Some!!” live…remember I didn’t see the last tour.

    At one point I was just standing there thinking, “Wow I’m five feet from the band that made my whole childhood…the band I’ve been following since 1981 when I was in 4th grade…the band I associate with so much of my life…the guitar player that made me want to be a guitar player too…they’re RIGHT THERE!!” I mean I could have grabbed Ed and pulled him off the stage he was so close. It was just surreal (I know I keep saying that, but it’s true) to be there celebrating music that has meant so much to my life the last 30 years. And as I was posting to the board during the show and saw all of your guys’ excitement, I know that you guys all feel the same way as me. I really wished there was some way you could have all been there. And I’m serious. You all deserved to be there too, the real fans.

    So after this crazy version of “Jump” ended the night, complete with a Brazilian Conga line (too funny), we just stood there going, “Wow…when are the next 10 songs?? I want more!!!”

    So after being pelted with red, white, and black streamers from the ceiling, we all walked out to the night to share our emotions from the show in the courtyard. There was more drinking, the conga dancers had moved outside, and we just all sat and talked about an amazing evening.

    That’s when Ross Hogarth wandered by, Jeff met him earlier. He talked with all of us about the album, what an incredibly nice guy. To sit and talk to us for that length about the band, and take our picture…mind blowing. He went on to say that the Van Halens are so tight, they will play together until they die. Wolfgang is so important to Ed, and he LOVES beyond belief playing with his son. He also went on to say that Mike IS the nicest person in the business, an incredible talent, one of the great human beings in rock, but Wolfgang is really the reason why Van Halen has lived on, and that’s something Mike couldn’t do. So there you have it. More kudos to Wolf. He got Eddie back on track, works for me! Ross also thought there would for sure be another album, which was cool to hear. Oh and Eddie and Dave are of course the Alpha Dogs of VH. And when Wolfgang wants the band to stop or change something, he will never stop Dave. He will look at his dad, and Ed will stop the band. Thought that was interesting to hear. And yes the album was recorded at Henson Studios. It didn’t sound like any of it was recorded at 5150, it was mixed there though.

    Also, special thanks to Shelly, who is in DLR’s camp and set all of this up for us. Another super nice person who certainly didn’t have to do this for all the sites, but saw the value of what we offer…and yes it does exist. HAHA! A great person, I was so happy to finally meet her face to face. Seriously, you guys don’t realize how she really brought unity to the Van Halen internet world. Shelly fucking rules.

    So we basically closed the place down. After they kicked us out, we all stood on the street for at least two hours outside the studio, just talking, and laughing. I mean we left so late that the valet parkers just brought our cars up so they could leave! HAHA. It was incredible. We got home around 2:30, I was on such a high I didn’t fall asleep until like 3:30, and had to get up at 7:15. Yikes. But all so worth it. JHale, bantonelli, Jeff, and Beth…thank you for such a wonderful time.

    But in closing, I really want to thank you guys. Without your support of the site the last 12 years, none of last night would have been possible for me. I really can’t thank you enough for that and what you mean to this community. Van Halen fans, through everything, are truly the best music fans on the planet, I don’t care what anyone says. There is no more passionate group of people than the guys who worship the Mighty VH logo. So thank you!!!

    Set List:

    You Really Got Me
    Runnin' With The Devil
    Unchained
    The Trouble With Never
    Everybody Wants Some!!
    She’s The Woman
    Dance The Night Away
    Panama
    Tattoo
    Hot For Teacher
    Ice Cream Man
    Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love
    Jump

    I will have some of my pics and video up tonight…I promise!
    Webmaster
    VHLinks.com - Your Van Halen Internet Resource Guide
    http://www.vhlinks.com

    JamToThis.com
    Audio/Video Trading Community
    Tons of Van Halen!

  2. #2
    Baluchitherium
    Join Date
    09.24.02
    Location
    North Central OKC
    Posts
    4,582
    Favorite VH Album

    VH, WACF, FW, 5150, OU812
    Favorite VH Song

    Dreams/Unchained/InASR/5150
    Last Online

    11.25.17 @ 04:30 AM
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    Dude, I am SO FREAKIN' JEALOUS! Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the review and the forthcoming vids and pictures.



    And, uh...more info please.

    "The shit I read on this site." -- Dave's Dreidel (Nov 6th, 2013)

    "Don't ever confuse talent with fame." -- Bob Lefsetz

    "There's very little greatness in this world, but in the crucible of quality there's a special corner reserved for Van Halen." -- Bob Lefsetz

  3. #3
    Eruption RKVH5150's Avatar
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    06.07.04
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    Chattanooga, TN
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    Favorite VH Album

    Fair Warning
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    Unchained
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    12.08.17 @ 01:53 PM
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    Default

    Well I won't be the first to say it, but I'm quite jealous at this point.

  4. #4
    Atomic Punk bsbll4's Avatar
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    02.18.03
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    34
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    St. Louis, MO
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    Favorite VH Album

    Van Halen/ADKOT
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    12.12.17 @ 01:20 PM
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    Premium Member

    Default

    Awesome review

    Glad you were able to go. You've earned it!
    CNN may think my opinion matters, but you shouldn't.

  5. #5
    Top Of The World Yiggity's Avatar
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    11.16.12 @ 09:55 AM
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    Default

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing! I'm sure that was just the chance of a lifetime. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  6. #6
    Romeo Delight BSizzle's Avatar
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    01.29.12
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    RVA
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    VH-5150
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    03.20.15 @ 09:13 PM
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    Default

    Really amazing - thanks for the report!

  7. #7
    Good Enough ignorance_is_bliss's Avatar
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    04.26.10
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    New Zealand
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    Favorite VH Album

    Women and Children First
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    TIE! Humans Being and HAIL
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    09.07.17 @ 09:37 PM
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    Default

    Fucking Wicked. Great, great thing you experienced. Loved that comment bout the photo... Could this be peace on (VH) earth?

  8. #8
    Hang 'Em High James in New York's Avatar
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    12.12.17 @ 10:33 AM
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    Default

    GREAT review, Brett! What night to remember!!!

    I loved this:

    Ross also thought there would for sure be another album

    Whew!

    Fashion your life as a garland of good deeds.

    - Buddha

  9. #9
    Eruption markp's Avatar
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    11.20.03
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    San Mateo, CA
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    Favorite VH Album

    1984
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    06.08.17 @ 10:06 AM
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    Wow. It's hard to catch your breath these days with all this stuff. Fuckin awesome!

  10. #10
    Baluchitherium
    Join Date
    09.24.02
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    North Central OKC
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    Favorite VH Album

    VH, WACF, FW, 5150, OU812
    Favorite VH Song

    Dreams/Unchained/InASR/5150
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    11.25.17 @ 04:30 AM
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by markp View Post
    Wow. It's hard to catch your breath these days with all this stuff. Fuckin awesome!
    I know! It's so crazy, and I love it!

    "The shit I read on this site." -- Dave's Dreidel (Nov 6th, 2013)

    "Don't ever confuse talent with fame." -- Bob Lefsetz

    "There's very little greatness in this world, but in the crucible of quality there's a special corner reserved for Van Halen." -- Bob Lefsetz

  11. #11
    Atomic Punk Menlow's Avatar
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    06.14.17 @ 06:46 PM
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    Awesome Brett, you deserved it!

  12. #12
    Good Enough ignorance_is_bliss's Avatar
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    09.07.17 @ 09:37 PM
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by James in New York View Post
    GREAT review, Brett! What night to remember!!!

    I loved this:

    Ross also thought there would for sure be another album

    Whew!

    I hope so. Forgetting the detractors, its a good way to make an album 25 years after the fact... refreshed demos sprinked with new songs. Keeps the band in touch with the past they created. Cool!

  13. #13
    On Fire smithtone's Avatar
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    Hear About It Later
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    09.20.17 @ 05:22 PM
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    Default

    You write very well. Journalism majors rule!

    "We got the brand-new album, we got the brand-new songs, we got the brand-new equipment, we got the brand-new show... And we got the same ol' shitty attitude!" David Lee Roth, May 20, 1984 in San Diego

  14. #14
    Top Of The World 5150who's Avatar
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    08.29.13 @ 07:43 PM
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    Default

    Jut awesome - every new bit of news, especially about how they all actually get along makes me more excited about the tour and the album and the future!!!
    All I want to give you woman, is the best part of a man.

  15. #15
    Romeo Delight unchained85's Avatar
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    03.01.17 @ 11:04 AM
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    Default

    Congrats on a wonderful gift from the band. You certainly deserved it! Great review too, felt like I was there with you.

 

 

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