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Van Halen
Cleveland 2004
By Chuck G.

Right Now Sammy-Fronted Van Halen Rock Cleveland Arena
But fans of David Lee Roth left wondering where have all the good times gone.

Not many people know this, but in 1984 Eddie Van Halen was tabbed to contribute to the soundtrack for a sort of follow-up to the mega-hit movie "Fast Times At Ridgemont High" called, "The Wild Life." It starred clean-cut Eric Stoltz and Sean Penn's slovenly brother, Chris, as sort of an 'Odd Couple' for the 80s generation. In that same year that made radio staples out of "Jump" and "Panama," Eddie's contribution to the aforementioned soundtrack is the laughably-titled song, "Donut City."

Even more surprising is what "Donut City" became...which was "Right Now" released on "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" seven years later in 1991. The keyboard riff fills out atmosphere in many scenes of the movie and is unmistakable as the future Hagar-fronted hit song/video.

Because of that amazing foresight, the balance of this review will be written in the spirit of "Donut City", I mean, "Right Now." 

• Right Now Van Halen opened with "Jump"

• Right Now Eddie Van Halen looks cut and in the best shape of his cancer-free, hip-replaced life

• Right Now Michael Anthony's vocals (especially lead vocals on "Somebody Get Me A Doctor") is the straw that stirs the Van Halen drink

• Right Now, despite what is being circulated in the press, Sammy's enthusiasm for performing Roth-era VH is sour

• Right Now, Alex Van Halen lives in the shadows of his younger brother, but is a tremendous drummer himself

• Right Now Alex did rip-off Tommy Lee's 'Theater of Pain' drum solo for his own on this tour (chops only, not the 90-degree thing)

• Right Now Van Halen did 5 songs from "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" including "Judgement Day" 

• Right Now Van Halen didn't perform songs from the following albums: "Diver Down", "Women And Children First", "Balance" and "Van Halen III"

• Right Now Eddie still maintains complete mastery over his could Rolling Stone rate Jack White ahead of him!?! 

• Right Now I'm still outraged about that 

• Right Now Van Halen had a cool depth-charge looking video screen in the back of their stage set-up

• Right Now Eddie never once touched a piano or keyboard live

• Right Now "Humans Being," a great Sammy-era song from the Twister Soundtrack doesn't come across well live

• Right Now the concept of the bass solo should be outlawed; sorry Michael

• Right Now Eddie only played his vintage red Kramer with black-and-white tape for one song

• Right Now Sammy is struggling with the high notes; but still performed great

• Right Now seeing Eddie do the whole hammer-on/pull-off thing is like watching Jordan play basketball

• Right Now Wolfgang Van Halen did NOT perform during Eddie's guitar solo; he has at other tour stops

• Right Now Eddie, a tongue cancer survivor, did smoke during his guitar solo

• Right Now "Unchained" is the finest Van Halen song known to mankind

• Right Now Eddie did perform bits of "Eruption," "Cathedrals" "Mean Streets" and "Spanish Fly" during his solo portion

• Right Now crowd excitement was, and probably always will be, stronger for the Roth-era material

• Right Now only 6 DLR songs were performed out of a 20-song setlist

• Right Now the 18,000+ seat arena was filled almost to capacity

• Right Now Van Halen performed all three new tracks set to be included the new "Best Of Both Worlds" collection

• Right Now none can hold a candle to either Roth-era or Pre-VHIII Hagar-era Van Halen, though "It's About Time" comes the closest

• Right Now and interesting stage note: Barely any light show during Roth-era songs; everything and the kitchen sink lighting-wise for the new stuff

• Right Now the song "Right Now" with it's message-driven video in the background was even more poignant in this post-9/11 world

• Right Now set-ender "When It's Love" is a poor choice for that position; Why not "What Love Can Do" if you gotta go with Sammy stuff?

• Right Now a pretty safe show from a band that was really never thought of as safe

Purchase Van Halen's music and listen to samples.

Visit the official site for Van Halen

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