Concert Review: Sammy Hagar, August 27, Molson Amphitheatre


Having left the house a little late, I was kind of disappointed to arrive at the Molson Amphitheatre after Kim Mitchell had finished his set.  After all, I hear that guy’s a wild party.  As it turns out, Sammy Hagar was more than enough of a party all on his own.  In his shorts and sunglasses, Hagar looked and acted the part of the gregarious beach bum, the kind of guy who’s up for a party anytime.  And the crowd seemed ready to go along with him.  While Hagar may not be seen as the coolest of rockers (James Hetfield turned down an invite to guest on his latest album and festivals apparently don’t want to book him), there’s no denying that the guy puts on a solid show.

Performing songs from throughout his career as part of the current “40 Years Of Rock” tour, Hagar mentioned how the show would not only be a lot of fun, but also a bit of a history lesson.  Though the historical element of the show didn’t go much further than announcing the year that each particular composition was released, it was still enjoyable to see Hagar and his band run through songs such as “Bad Motor Scooter” and “Can’t Drive 55.”  When the band launched into Van Halen’s “Right Now,” an image with the caption, “Right now you are thinking about the first time you heard this song” flashed on screen and it’s likely true that everyone was in fact thinking about that right then.

From there, Hagar welcomed former bandmate Michael Anthony onstage, which seemed to inspire Hagar to amp things up a bit.  “What is it about Mikey that makes everyone so fucking happy?” mused Hagar.  I’d wager it’s a few things that factor into the happiness: the fact that they’re playing a bunch of old Van Halen hits is a big one, and for me personally,  the fact that Anthony is still sporting the same mullet that he’s had for years was also strangely comforting.  What it really is “about Mikey” that makes everyone happy is likely the fact that the interplay between the two is so strong.  For the first half of the show, seeing Hagar play with his band was enjoyable, but once Anthony joined them, it became much more like watching two old buddies having a great time together.  One gets the impression that they’d be having as much fun if they were playing to a crowd of a dozen people rather than an amphitheatre full of them.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts

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