(DTE Energy Theatre, Clarkston, MI - August 6th, 2005)
After spending several years as the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for the mid-'70s hard rock band Montrose, Sammy Hagar began a solo career that produced many hits and made him an album rock favorite. But, in truth, Hagar became a true star once he joined Van Halen in 1985 ... and yet tonight, in front of a heaving audience, he just proved further what an all-round God of Rock he really is!
OK, admittedly 'God' may be too strong a lead title, but shit, this man can f**kin' rock! Dropping the curtain at precisely 8.00pm, half the crowd already jazzed on Margaritas, the other half fast catching up, the Red Rocker powers straight into 'Space Station #5,' 'Rock Candy,' 'Rock The Nation,' 'Make It Last,' and 'Bad Motor Scooter' (the first and last tracks both Montrose classics) before even taking a breath!
Like all recent-to-memory shows, this is yet another 'Best of Sammy Hagar' music night. It's also very noticeable that the man - decked out entirely in red (including his socks!) - doesn't speak much to the crowd ... until around his fourth or fifth hand-delivered whilst-on-stage Margarita! Brought forth by a trio of bikini-wearing girls, it's then that his mind starts to verbally unload!
'Give To Live,' 'Top Of The World,' 'Runaround,' and the fist-pounding 'I'll Fall In Love Again' are next in line, the latter sung with a bright red straw sombrero now atop his curly blond mop! Next we get a pulsating 'Three Lock Box' before he introduces a brand new song, 'The Way We Live' to his adoring fans. Telling the story that it was written for the fans because they wanted to know what it was like to be Sammy Hagar, the song is, of course, an instant hit.
The Motown classic 'I'll Take You There' is the only musically uneven segment of the night, but the tempo is quickly re-lit with a stirring rendition of Halen's 'Right Here, Right Now' and quickly followed 'Little White Lie.' Introducing two songs that he had never, ever played live since they were both recorded back in '82, movie tracks 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' and 'Girl Gets Around' send the crowd into ecstasy, before the chest-pounding 'I Can't Drive 55' is served up.
Smashing a lowered pinata shaped as a massive Tequila bottle wide upon to reveal endless amounts of yellow and red ticker tape and streamers, 'Mas Tequila' and then 'Heavy Metal' bring the solo Sammy Hagar show to a close. "Stick around," the Great One pleads, as his band come front of stage to grab some spotlight, "We'll be right back with the second half of the show with Montrose."
It was at this point, after what must have been close to seven long hours of drinking and partying, that the packed house began to show their loyalty for the Red Rocker. From what I could see, around only 20% made their way out to the parking lots to carefully wind their way home, leaving behind those aching to see the Montrose reunion. Unfortunately, I was one of those that bid farewell to the Man in Red, and having purchased my Hagar tour T-shirt, got into my car (sober!) and headed out into the night - the high banks of speakers three feet from our great seats now having completely deafened me in my left ear!
Long live rock 'n roll!
Review and Photos by Russell A. Trunk