vanhalenlivetokyocdAll Hail Van Halen!

Why? Because they’ve found out how to do it right. They’ve had their strife, and their ridiculous battling fans. Fact is, no one should really care for a second who was the better singer (Roth, Hagar, Cherone, all good guys). No one should care to argue about Eddie’s band decisions and whether or not they made any sense. Newsflash: his band, his business, his call. Shut it already.

Some fans had been waiting for a return of David Lee Roth since his departure in 1985 (that’s a long time to hold a wish or a grudge, by the way). However, they got their dream when he rejoined the band in 2007 to do some tours. And they really got it good when the reconfigured band (3 Van Halens and a Roth) released a truly great rock album in 2012. A Different Kind of Truth gave fans something new to argue about, but the fact is that they put together a great sounding record. I hadn’t listened to them much in years, but I played the hell out of that one for months.

Now, finally, in 2015, the fans get another little dream realized: a Roth-led live album. Nothing against the Hagar-led Right Here Right Now album from 1993. That was a good record too, but this one has a little more punch to it.

The Roth version of this band is so different from the Hagar version, it’s almost pointless to compare. But here goes: The Hagar version is a little controlled, radio-ready, and has a solid groove. The Roth version is more flash, more reckless, and more like a big party. Both have their charms and benefits.

So, this new Live album with Roth smacks of good-time-party boys having a blast. The vocals are rough (just ask Twitter and they’ll give you all the details), but Roth isn’t a young buck anymore, and frankly his stadium-sized personality more than makes up for it.

The whole 2-hour package is like a non-stop Shinkansen ride, and while you know the band is in full control at all times, they make it feel like it might fall off the rails at any second. This isn’t 1978 anymore, but these guys do their damnedest to make it feel like it is.

Highlights include new tracks like “Tattoo” and “China Town,” and you have your pick of classics from their original 1978-84 run like opener “Unchained”, “Dance the Night Away”, “Hot For Teacher”, and of course their biggest hit “Jump”.

Forget the Tweeters, and forget the folks on Amazon’s comment roll saying that Roth is in bad voice, or that Michael Anthony should be there. That’s all bullshit. This is really a great record that sounds a bit unhinged and totally fun.

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And for the sake of comparison:


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