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Van Halen, Ryan Shaw @ Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL (USA)

VAN HALEN, RYAN SHAW
in Friday, 30 May 2008 at Allstate Arena
by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos

I am happy to say that I erased one more band from my to see live list and more than excited to say that this was VAN HALEN. Indeed, after several reunion tours and numerous problems between the band's members VAN HALEN kicked off their US tour in September 2007. Eddie faced some health problems and the band had to postpone some shows making me feeling extremely anxious whether I would see them on-stage.

Eventually, the day had come along with some severe weather warnings and a cold that was torturing me the last few days. Of course, these problems were not enough to stop me from getting to the Allstate Arena to watch this at least historical band. After buying myself a nice t-shirt I made my way to the concert area and found out that the stadium was packed with about 14,000  old and young VAN HALEN fans.

I found on-stage the supporting act who was RYAN SHAW. The young artist and his band performed something that could be described a Pop_Soul with minor Rock additions. They did two cover songs from BEATLES and Janis Joplin that actually were the only times the band drew my attention. So, after 30 minutes Ryan Shaw left the stage for Eddie and his company.

While the crew was making the final arrangements on-stage two zeppelins with the VAN HALEN logo were flying over our head playing with the crowd. The wait lasted almost 20 minutes and right on time the lights went out and VAN HALEN came on-stage with their version of You Really Got Me. David Lee Roth was looking great (I think the girls really enjoyed his presence) although he skipped his trademark jumps and other physical moves. The sound was almost perfect because there was some echo especially in the vocals but things became better after a while. The audience responded really loud and sung-along during Running With The Devil, Somebody Get Me A Doctor and of course Beautiful Girls where David made some kinky comments about the beautiful ladies. I can say that David still has the mood and the looks to support this attitude and I think the girls can back me up on this.

Despite the rumours about his health condition Eddie did a fine job with his guitar and actually blew me away during his solo that featured some fine moments from Women in Love, Cathedral, Eruption. The big screen helped us get a closer look on Eddie's fretboard and witness some of his trademark techniques. Alex Van Halen was also in good condition but kind of bored me with his drum solo that was nothing really special apart from the nice light show. David took his acoustic guitar and opened for Ice Cream Man proving that his voice is in a very good condition (ok maybe not that good in the higher pitches). Wolfgang had the difficult to task to fill in for Michael Anthony so his stage fright was kind of excusable although the rest of the band made him feel comfortably. Things got really active during Panama (I love the part where the lyrics go I can barely see the road) and extremely loud with Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love that marked the end of the bands regular setlist. The crowd became very loud and of course brought VAN HALEN back on-stage with 1984 and he definitely hit Jump with the trademark keyboard melody. The song and concert ended with thousand of colorful pieces of paper filling the arena while David was carrying an inflatable microphone. The band met the crowd's apotheosis staying that coming to Chicago is always a special occasion.
This concert is already carved in my memory making me wish that the rumors that this is the band's last tour will remain rumors.

Setlist:

01. You Really Got Me
02. I'm the One
03. Runnin' With the Devil
04. Romeo Delight
05. Somebody Get Me a Doctor
06. Beautiful Girls
07. Dance the Night Away
08. Atomic Punk
09. Everybody Wants Some
10. So This Is Love?
11. Mean Street
12. Pretty Woman
13. Drum Solo
14. Unchained
15. I'll Wait
16. And the Cradle Will Rock
17. Hot for Teacher
18. Little Dreamer
19. Jamie's Cryin'
20. Ice Cream Man
21. Panama
22. Guitar Solo (Women in Love intro, Cathedral, Eruption)
23. Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love
———————
24. 1984
25. Jump

(distant photos by the Ice Cream Man)

RYAN SHAW


VAN HALEN

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