Van Halen | Tokyo Dome: Live in Tokyo (Warner Bros.)

cd van-halen_copyEddie & Co. sound as fresh as they did in their heyday.



Just in time for the upcoming summer concert tour, Van Halen has at last released a live album. Featuring original vocalist David Lee Roth, as well as son of guitarist Eddie, Wolfgang Van Halen, on bass, this is lethal rock ‘n’ roll at its finest. This is Tokyo Dome Live!

The band had never released a live recording before, and with so many lineup changes, it seemed like it would never happen. Yet with the return of David Lee Roth, and the resulting album and tour, dubbed “A Different Kind of Truth,” Van Halen decided it was time to officially document themselves in a live setting. Interestingly, they kept the material from the Roth years, eschewing the Sammy Hagar/Gary Cherone eras.

Capturing sold-out shows at the Tokyo Dome, the band is at a high point here. Technically proficient and seemingly having a great time on stage together again, Van Halen delivers just about every tune a fan could want to hear. As the disc opens with “Unchained,” Eddie & Co. sound as fresh as they did in their heyday. David Lee Roth’s vocals haven’t always been up to par in a live setting, but here he performs with his patented brand of attitude. Even the newer songs come across quite well.

The recorded set drips with hit songs, including “Running With The Devil,” “You Really Got Me,” and the über hits from the band’s 1984 album: “I’ll Wait,” “Hot for Teacher,” and the number-one hit “Jump,” which closes the almost two-hour set. Eddie Van Halen’s blistering guitar work has never disappointed, and this release is no exception. His version of the classic guitar piece “Eruption” from the band’s 1978 debut is played with feeling and skill. Guitar mongers everywhere will love it.

Also being rereleased are the band’s eponymous debut and the epic 1984, both remastered from the original analog recordings. The remaining releases with Roth will be given similar treatment this spring.

Packaging for Tokyo Dome Live is cool, too. A rarity among live albums, this one actually features the lyrics. Overall, this is a well-done set, highly anticipated and ultimately satisfying. Eddie and the boys are in great form, seeming to enjoy the ride once again. B+ | Marc Farr

About Marc Farr 244 Articles
Marc Farr is the Live Music & Assignments Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. He's so invaluable to us, we've nicknamed him Mr. Music. Reach out if you have coverage ideas! "I know it's only rock and roll...but I like it!"
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