JAM Magazine Concert Reviews

April 12, 2012
Amway Center
Orlando, FL USA
Review by Nick Masuda
Photos by Nick Masuda

Van Halen

Well, the dancing was there. And yes, so were the impressive guitar licks. In fact, the party atmosphere in the new Amway Center was in full swing as one of music's greatest rock bands finally returned to Orlando. Unfortunately, it didn't feel like the entire band actually made it on stage.

Where, oh where, was David Lee Roth?

Roth screamed his way through most of the night - particularly during one of the band's staples 'China Town' - and showed far less energy than what you have come to expect from one of the all-time great rock bands. While he displayed a few leg kicks and twirls, Roth has simply slowed down. His wardrobe was monotone and his most memorable moment of the night was his tangent on how the air conditioning needed to be turned down. Turning sideways toward the side of the stage, he hollered: "We work for 90 minutes to get this place warmed up, and the air conditioning only cools us off." For the rest of the night, you could barely understand Roth.

Thankfully, his vocals weren't as important with the rest of the band that was near the top of their game this evening.

Eddie Van Halen hasn't lost anything over the years, showing the same prowess on guitar that he always has. His work on "Runnin' With the Devil" got the crowd revved up early, and he followed it with impressive work on "She's the Woman" and "Dance the Night Away."

Eddie's son, Wolfgang, proved capable of replacing Michael Anthony on the harmonies, but comes across shy and in need of some personality. Meanwhile, Eddie's brother Alex stole the show at moments with drum solos that left the Amway Center vibrating.

Van Halen didn't rely too much on its new release, "A Different Kind of Truth," instead pumping out the oldies, including "Oh, Pretty Woman," "Hot for Teacher" and "Panama" - getting the less-than-packed crowd screaming out lyrics that were easier to understand than those of Roth.

But, despite Roth, one thing was easy to understand. On a night built around nostalgia, it was apparent that Van Halen isn't what it used to be. That said however, the band's namesake is still capable to making you feel like the show was worth the price of admission.