Sammy Hagar – Four Decades of Red
The Red Rocker, as fans call him, put on his usual high-energy show, but not before Rival Son’s knocked it out of the park as fans were filing into the outdoor amphitheater at Thunder Valley.
Rival Sons, consisting of Jay Buchanan (vocals), Scott Holiday (guitar), Dave Beste (bass) and Mike Miley (drums) surprised fans with their own high-energy show, as they executed, rocker style, their unique blend of rock, country and blues.
Kicking off their set with “You Want To” and “Until the Sun Comes Up,” Rival Sons immediately won over many of the red-head fans in the audience, with their multitude of sounds. At times they sounded like Montrose or Zeppelin, and at other times more like the Black Keys, as lead singer Buchanan strutted around reminiscent of Eddie Vedder.
Leaving everything on stage, the Long Beach band should have been the headliner with the Red Rocker taking a backseat to the newcomers. I tried to get some fans take on Rival Sons headlining over Hagar. I never did get an answer, but when I woke up the medics told me the fans seemed pretty upset with me.
But seriously, Rival Sons is a group to be reckoned with.
Hagar said in a press conference the previous day, that Buchanan is from his hometown of Fontana, Calif., and used to frequent a Mexican restaurant in town where they posted a newspaper article of Hagar just after hitting it big. Buchanan was only 4 or 5 years old at the time and Buchanan’s mother would point out the photo of Hagar and tell her son that was going to be him some day.
After Hagar heard the group perform he asked Buchanan to write a song for him. Hagar’s new album “Sammy Hagar and Friends” includes Buchanan’s masterpiece that he wrote for the Red Rocker entitled “Not Going Down.”
The artwork on Rival Sons album “Pressure & Time” was designed by renowned cover artist Storm Thorgerson who passed away earlier this year. Thorgerson was responsible for Pink Floyd’s famous ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ prism design.
Now to all things red.
Hagar celebrated ‘Four Decades of Rock’ as he performed songs from his Montrose days to Van Halen and then on to the Woboritas.
For those of you who may not know, Hagar started out in the ‘70s with the hard rock band Montrose. After leaving Montrose he went on to a successful solo career with hits such as “I Can’t Drive 55″ and “Mas Tequila.” In 1985 he took over the lead singer position, replacing David Lee Roth, for the power group Van Halen. Hagar went on to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Van Halen.
It was an historical night as Hagar brought out a number of his old friends from his Montrose days including Denny Carmassi (drums) and Bill Church (bass). Ronnie Montrose recently passed away, so Hagar brought in special guest Dave Meniketti (guitar) from Y&T to perform in Ronnie’s place.
Starting off the show was the Montrose years with “Space Station,” “Rock the Nation,” “Rock Candy,” and “Bad Motor Scooter.” The group sounded tight and Hagar was in great form as the 65-year-old was bouncing around the stage and jamming with his old friends.
As Hagar shifted gears for his solo era, he brought out members of his current band, the Waborita’s, consisting of Vic Johnson (guitar), Mona Gnader (bass) and David Lauser (drums).
For his solo era Hagar and the Woboritas performed past hits such as “I Can’t Drive 55,” “There’s Only One Way to Rock” and “I’ll Fall in Love Again.”
Going into the home stretch Michael Anthony (bass) of the Van Halen years came out to cheers from the audience as they played “Right Now,” “Why Can’t This Be Love” and “Best of Both Worlds.”
Hagar brought out a canon and shot off a streaming line of confetti into the crowd and towards the end of the show several canons shot more of the red bundles of joy out into the crowd as fans were on their feet screaming.
For his encore, Hagar performed “Eagles Fly” and, according to Hagar, the latest car song “Bad On Fords and Chevrolet.”
The entire crew came out and sang “Cabo Wabo” a capella, capping off an historic night of great songs by legendary performers with a new band headed for that legendary status.
Photos by Randy Miramontez
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