at Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, February 25, 2004

I’ve got some bad and some good news for you!

For quite a while David Lee Roth fans have had to listen to a lot of disquieting rumors about the shape ol’ Diamond Dave is in these days. His fellow former Van Halen singer — Sammy Hagar — leads the race on uttering statements that put Lee Roth in a bad light.

The two main subjects have been David Lee Roth’s hair and voice, both claimed to be in very poor condition.

Here’s some bad news for you. If you really care if Dave still is able to grow a lot of hair on his head, I am sorry to say that he is not. Parts of his head are covered with hair about as well as MTV covers Polish polka. Do you care?

Here’s some good news for you. David’s voice is still great!

All right. At 21:20 Scottish time, Diamond Dave and his band entered the stage at Glasgow Clyde Auditorium on the first of this four nights only mini-tour of Europe. The supporting act, The Quireboys, had just delivered an excellent set of old and brand new songs, when David & Co started their show with the great Van Halen classic “Hot For Teacher,” complete with very bad sound, an enthusiastic audience, and a Diamond Dave dressed in a black and glittering outfit that was way too small for his present waist. The man smiled one of this night’s many artificial smiles, making us all understand that he intended to be enjoying this no matter what. His forehead ran quite a bit till it reached the first line of hairs, but his voice carried the vocal lines as he ran and jumped along the stage.

After a few songs, the guys at the mixing table managed to mix the sound within the definitions of the acceptable, and “Just Like Paradise” was performed to the pleasure of the 1300 witnesses.

After a few numbers, Brian Young on lead guitar was given the task to do an “Eruption”-like improvisation. He sure could play, but I guess a few of us were thinking about who in the first place inspired the young Mr. Young to learn all that high speed tapping … Eddie anyone?

However, no Van Halen, no hit parade. The set list David Lee Roth has got is impressive, a big thanks to the writing partners he once had in Van Halen. And he, even though he has made a career on his own as a solo artist, is not to blame for playing the original Van Halen stuff. No one else does these days … and since Dave and his voice, to such large extent, ARE these classic tracks, it was such a pleasure to watch this rock legend grin and jump across the stage while singing from the top of his lungs as if he still was twenty years old. Well … he might not do the splits jump any longer, but show me a 49-year old man that kicks as high as Lee Roth, and I’ll tell you he’s not a rock singer!

David Lee Roth is cool, and he sure has a clever group of musicians with him. Young guys. They sure never challenge Dave on anything, so he keeps the spot-light for himself. David can boss these guys around as much as he pleases. They just seem happy to be playing with him. ( Quotation from the sound check I was lucky enough to witness earlier that day: “Can I turn on the monitor now, Dave?” Dave was in an awfully bad mood, and the guys were obviously afraid of him. The sound technician even replied “Yes, Sir!” when he was yelled at to turn the volume up or down. Oh, those celebrities … )

Anyway, back to the night’s concert: If the band didn’t play, and if Dave didn’t sing, he was talking. Especially during the first part of the show. He made several of the same jokes I know he made at shows in the States last year. He’s flirting with a girl in the front row (ROW! This was my first rock concert in a theatre where everybody had numbered seats … a Shakespeare play, anyone?) The talking got dull, and after “You Really Got Me,” Dave left the stage for the band to play a boring jam that lasted way too long. Even though Lee Roth came back on the stage miming several fake “Wow’s” to the audience to show us how impressed he was by the band’s instrumental achievements, none really got convinced that they had witnessed anything special.

It was time to proceed. And then the show started to kick off! “California Girls”, “Somebody Get Me A Doctor,” and “Cradle Will Rock” were just great, even though “California Girls” started off with a sampled keyboard intro (no keyboard player in sight), and even though the Diamond forgot half of the words to the beginning verses. Anyway, big fun! I wish I could’ve seen and heard these songs live every night.

The band came extra alive when they got to play the old Van Halen numbers, but still “Just A Gigolo” became one of the evening’s most excellent songs. Some might have got sick and tired of it from all the radio play it has got, but it is such a great great song, and it works impressively well live! Great version! I loved it!

“Shoo-bop”, the only song included in the set from Diamond Dave’s self-titled album released last year, proved that the man’s voice still does the job. His singabilities on the live version didn’t differ from the studio version (though the band played it more funky), which proves that there’s no clever mixing or tricking in the studio to make Lee Roth sound so cool on his albums.

This song, as well as “Just A Gigolo,” looks towards Dave’s skills as an entertainer. These songs are perfectly shaped to seduce an audience into some singer’s humor, charm, and sexuality. And who’s better at providing such qualities than David Lee Roth? None in rock can be compared to this guy. In pop, you’ve got Robbie Williams. Two of a kind in one music department each. (That’s a compliment for YOU, Mr. Williams!)

All right. His vocals don’t reach to spice up the songs with as many good fun yells and good time growls as he used to, but then again, this was a live show! One can always add some extra stuff on in a studio. However, David Lee Roth doesn’t get thousands of eyes set on him in the studio as he does on stage. And this guy just loves attention!!! He just can’t stop doing his high-up-in-the-air-kicks, he just can’t stop flirting and dirty talking with the front row girls, he just can’t stop grinning. He loves it. And we love it.

During another band jam, he left and re-entered the stage in a new outfit. This time the costume was blue and glittering with an Elvis-like collar, and this one’s too small around the waist too. He shouts: ”I can see Panama from here!” … and from here, Lee Roth surfed rather safely through the rest of the evening. “Panama” was performed, then “Dance The Night Away,” before Lee Roth’s vocals for the first time had a hard time living up to past and previous standards through “Yankee Rose.” However, thank Heaven, at least the song wasn’t accompanied by Steve Vai’s far-from-timeless guitar playing…

Towards the end of the show, Lee Roth was left alone on the stage with an acoustic guitar. He improvised a bit before he started to play “Ice Cream Man.” Jolly good. Half way through, the band reappeared and finished the song with big time grooving. One of the evening’s brightest highlights.

The last song in the main set was “Ain’t Talking Bout Love.” Greatly sung! Diamond Dave did one encore, naturally enough, “Jump,” and the show had reached its end after one and a half hours of hits. Before he disappeared behind the curtain, he took a deep bow in front of the audience and flashed a head top very short of thick, rich hair. The man has aged, yes, but he is still a perfect and needed caretaker of these classic songs. It’s a good thing he has planned to do more touring in the years to come.

Brian Young – Lead guitar
Toshi Hiketa – Guitar
James LoMenzo – Bass
Ray Luzier – Drums

Hot For Teacher
Just Like Paradise
Runnin’ With The Devil
You Really Got Me
California Girls
Somebody Get Me A Doctor
Cradle Will Rock
Just A Gigolo
Going Crazy
Dance The Night Away
Yankee Rose
Ice Cream Man
Ain’t Talking Bout Love



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