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Concert Reviews:
Hagar Brings Cabo Spirit To The Fox

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Saturday, November 3, 2007

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DETROIT -- Towards the end of his concert Friday (Nov. 2) at the Fox Theatre, a beaming, sunglassed Sammy Hagar told the crowd that "this is the way we do it in Cabo -- we loose!"

Of course, Hagar and his crew tend to have a lot of fun in Cabo, and they had no trouble bringing that drunken, rocking and rowdy beachfront flavor to the Fox during the course of their 95-minute set.

Cabo refers to the Cabo Wabo Cantina, Hagar's club in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where he has an annual birthday bacchanal that this year celebrated his 60th. But Hagar has also turned Cabo into a successful tequila line and, most importantly, a lifestyle brand not unlike Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville. That gives the veteran rocker from the San Francisco Bay Area an effective platform for his festival-like concerts, from a Cabo "village" in the lobby -- complete with bartenders wearing sombreros -- to an on-stage backdrop with a working bar, from which bikinied waitresses bring drinks to Hagar and his Wabos band members, and a platform for a couple dozen fans, the Waboritas, to be part of the show.

The musical part of the program was equally festive on Friday, with Hagar and company taking on nearly all aspects of his 35-year recording career. Following a set by former Van Halen bandmate Michael Anthony and his Mad Anthony Express, Hagar strode on stage to shower the front rows in confetti before starting with a blast that included the image-declaring anthems "Sam I Am" and "One Way to Rock" and a cover of Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart."

The rest of the show was filled with more hits ("I'll Fall in Love Again," "I Can't Drive 55," "Mas Tequila"), the new songs "Open" and "When the Sun Don't Shine" -- both slated for an album Hagar plans to release next year -- as well as a Van Halen set with Anthony on bass that included "Best of Both Worlds" and "Why Can't This Be Love," during which Hagar trekked through the Waboritas stationed behind him.

The entire affair was, as Hagar indicated, a touch loose but not ragged, and it just as, if not more, energetic as you'll see from some bands whose members are half Hagar's age. He also showed a little brass by finishing with an acoustic-styled version of Van Halen's "Dreams" as well as an acapella "Cabo Wabo." "It is what it is," he said with a grin as the group took its final bows, and it was, if nothing else, big fun and a blast of south of the border flavor on a chilly fall evening in Detroit.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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