With such a long history it seems staggering this is only the second official Van Halen live album to be released.
Written by: Dangerzone
ARTIST: Van Halen
ALBUM: Tokyo Dome Live in Concert
SERIAL: R2 547643
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: David Lee Roth – vocals * Eddie Van Halen – guitar * Wolfgang Van Halen – bass * Alex Van Halen – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Unchained * 02 Runnin’ With The Devil * 03 She’s The Woman * 04 I’m The One * 05 Tattoo * 06 Everybody Wants Some! * 07 Somebody Get Me A Doctor * 08 China Town * 09 Hear About It Later * 10 (Oh) Pretty Woman * 11 You & Me (Drum Solo), You Really Got Me * 12 Dance the Night Away * 13 I’ll Wait * 14 And the Cradle Will Rock * 15 Hot For Teacher * 16 Women in Love * 17 Romeo Delight * 18 Mean Street * 19 Beautiful Girls * 20 Ice Cream Man * 21 Panama * 22 Eruption * 23 Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love * 24 Jump
WEBLINKS: Site Link
With such a long history it seems staggering this is only the second official Van Halen live album to be released, the other being 1993’s underwhelming Sammy Hagar era document ‘Right Here, Right Now’. Like that long forgotten release, this David Lee Roth fronted live album is a two hour, two-disc set from a show in Tokyo in June 2013.
I’m sure purists would have favored an archive live set from Roth’s first stint in the band, one with Michael Anthony among the ranks anyway. This is the best you’ll get though and for all the criticism of Roth’s live performances they’ve managed to make him and the band sound reasonably good here. How much this has been touched up I’m not sure, but it’s better sounding than many of the ragged clips I’ve seen on the Internet where Roth is simply embarrassing.
Just how essential a Van Halen live album at this point in time is open to question, but it’s better than nothing, given the brilliant ‘A Different Kind Of Truth’ was three years ago already. Funnily enough that’s still my favourite album this decade.
With 25 tracks (one being a drum solo) there’s certainly value for your money here. Naturally it’s all Roth era material, with only three tracks from the ‘.. Truth’ album unfortunately. That’s a shame as I’d rather hear selections from that over tried and true classic covers like ‘(Oh) Pretty Woman’ and ‘You Really Got Me’.
The star of the show is Eddie, who sounds as vintage as ever, his guitar work beyond fault on any track, giving it some replay value when so many albums of this ilk are barely worth one listen. It’s always good to hear classics like ‘Unchained’, ‘Mean Street’ ‘Hear About It Later’, ‘Romeo Delight’ and ‘Everybody Wants Some’ and they’ve stood the test of time well in a live setting.
Scanning the playlist above all the classics are thrown in, some stale beyond compare, some not. Thank rock radio for that. I’ve never wanted to admit it, but this version of the band really misses Michael Anthony.. The backing vocals lack the edge he brought to the band and they seem weak as a result, especially listening to ‘I’ll Wait’ and ‘Hear About It Later’.
Roth somehow contrives to botch the lyrics to ‘Chinatown’ when he opens the first verse with the lyrics from the second verse. Maybe they left this mistake in there to show the ‘warts and all’ cliche of live albums. Then again don’t get this mixed up with ‘Live At Leeds’ or anything. Mainly it’s a straight run through of the tracks, nothing out of the ordinary. But it’s a lot better than I expected and far preferable to the Hagar material.
Listening to Eddie tear it up on ‘Romeo Delight’ is priceless and gives this the feel of a raw live album in an era where they are almost totally redundant and meaningless. Roth’s interaction with the audience and his stage raps are good for a laugh or two, the man’s charm seemingly timeless.
I’ve already listened to this more times than I have the Hagar live album, which I’ve had in my possession for twenty years. There’s always been a vibrancy about Roth in Van Halen that was never evident with Hagar and even in their aged and weakened state, this is still better than something from 1993. It’s all to do with the music, which in Roth’s case has always been superior, giving it a spark which clearly delights the Japanese audience.
I’m not sure I’ll pay several hundred dollars to see this lot during the upcoming summer tour however. Maybe if they were next door? Somehow I suspect it won’t sound as polished as this live album, which is hardly one for the ages but still is worth a token listen for all the skeptics and old-timers among us.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)