Ahhh Van Halen – the stalwarts of hard rock, the masters of sound, the heroes of the 80s for many. Life would be more boring without this band; keeping their faith in their music has led them to last this long, and surprisingly only now releasing their first live album with original member David Lee Roth on the vocals. Considering they are supposedly up there with the great live acts, this has been something fans have waited to get their hands on for a while – but does Tokyo Dome Live In Concert stand up to the hype?
This live edition spans all 7 previous albums with Roth, featuring classics that you’ll know and love as a fan, but also very accessible to a newbie looking to find out what all the fuss is a about. If you are a fresh face to hard rock, Tokyo Dome Live is a good place to feel the real energy and passion of the genre. Unchained opens up with a typical log-winded guitar solo that you’d expect, before the classic riff kicks in and you’re filled with images of big hair and horrible but brilliant fashion sense. China Town shows off the musicianship, which is still as good as ever, whereas Drum Struck is an impressive technical demo for lovers of the sticks and skins.
Runnin’ with the Devil is the first time we really hear the vocal skills shine through. Its honest to say that vocally, the band are not as strong as back in their heyday, but there’s still enough will, passion and drive to take on such a loud sound and make a mark on top of the music. By the time you get to Mean Street, there is a real sense that the band have got into their groove and become possessed by the music; this creates an atmosphere of euphoria, with a big intro, big riffs and big fun.
An 8-minute version of Eruption at the tail end of the record blows your mind, with multi-instrument solos melting your face, and then to sign off with style, it would be rude not to end the album with Jump. It’s one of the main reasons people would have gone to this gig, and it’s why the band are remembered so fondly to this day. You can’t say much about this track without relying on tired old cliché’s, so lets just say it sounds as good here live as you remember hearing it on the radio many, many times.
Tokyo Dome Live in Concert reminds you why you love music. It’s about a band that have worked tirelessly to get to where they are, expertly use instruments to create hard hitting rock, and know how lucky they are to do what they love for a living. Although age is hunting them down, they are determined to shine through to the bitter end, and this live record is testament to that relentless yearn to perform. May they continue for years to come? Let’s hope so.