Sammy Hagar is 60 years old. If you know anything about rock stars, you know once they hit a certain age, the voice is long gone (See: David Lee Roth, Brian Johnson, Robert Plant, Bret Michaels, Vince Neil. Notable exceptions: Bruce Springsteen and Steven Tyler). When the concert started I was a little worried this was the case. He came out to "I Can't Drive 55" and early on let the crowd do most of the singing. But by the time he finished that song and belted his way into "Only One Way to Rock" you knew Sammy could still bring it and proved he could still hit the high notes later in the show.
Since I started listening to music I have loved Van Halen. When they broke up in 1985 I was devastated. When Hagar came on board, I was outraged. I tried to hate everything they did with him until one day, like Will Ferrell in "Talladega Nights" admitting Cal's 'Magic Man' nickname actually was a pretty cool, I had to admit they were pretty damn good. After "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" I wasn't sure which Van Halen era was better. I tell you this because Michael Anthony is now with Hagar. Anthony was the bassist for Van Halen and the backbone of the band's sound with his harmony on vocals. I've never seen Van Halen in concert and was excited to see half of it, but Anthony never appeared. That was a big disappointment, but I soon got over it... right about the moment Sammy launched into "Top of the World" and then went into "Dreams" and "Best of Both Worlds." He transcended his entire career with a couple songs from his Montrose days including "Rock Candy" and "Bad Motor Scooter" and finished the show with "Mas Tequila."
What a show. The bassist Mona Gnader wasn't the best but the guitarist Vic Johnson was pretty good. My buddy Ryan, who has seen VH in concert, quickly alerted me "He's no Eddie Van Halen." Nevertheless, with a cool Cabo Wabo set, three rafters full of fans on stage and a pre-performance video, it had all the feel of a beach front concert in Mexico. All I kept thinking was, "Man, would I like to party with this guy!"
Sammy may be 60, but he's still rockin' and I hope the Common Ground peeps were listening when he told the crowd he's ready to come back to this show every year.