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Concert Reviews:
Sammy Hagar turns Monday into Saturday night at DTE

@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- Early during his concert at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sammy Hagar scoffed at the notion that he shouldn't play on a Monday night.

"We're turning Monday into Saturday tonight," Hagar informed the crowd. "Ain't nobody going to work tomorrow morning -- and if you are, God bless ya."

The Red Rocker and his band, the Wabos, along with special guest Michael Anthony (Hagar's bandmate in Van Halen and Chickenfoot) certainly delivered a party -- 100 minutes of spirited rock, nearly all of which were radio hits at some juncture of the past 40 years. But as he reviewed his musical "journey" during this stop on his Four Decades of Rock tour, Hagar clearly had more than just a good time in mind.

Over the course of 21 songs, the 66-year-old Hagar seemed determined to show that his lengthy career was no fluke. This time out there were no fans on stage and no waitresses bringing him drinks -- though Hagar certainly swigged a little beer as well as some of his new Beach Bum Rum brand. It was a more businesslike affair, in other words, though without losing the genial, slapdash flavor that makes Hagar shows so much fun.

Dressed characteristically in red, Hagar was also in noticeably stronger voice and took plenty of guitar solos to show that even alongside bandmates such as Ronnie Montrose, Eddie Van Halen and Joe Satriani he's no slouch himself. The net result not only proved his point but also provided a reminder of just how much of a fixture Hagar has been since that first Montrose album came out in 1973.

Anthems such as "Red," "I Can't Drive 55," "There's Only One Way to Rock," "I'll Fall in Love Again" and "Your Love is Driving Me Crazy" flew by in a furious early-show torrent, bookended by a Montrose medley ("Space Station #5," "Rock Candy" and "Bad Motor Scooter") and a six-song of Van Halen favorites from Hagar's tenure with the band, most of them featuring Anthony on bass.

Hagar certainly had the DTE crowd in singalong ecstasy as he pounded through "Right Now" (which gave a video screen shout-out to Gleaners Food Bank in Detroit), "Why Can't This Be Love," "Best of Both Worlds," "When It's Love," "Standing on Top of the World" and "Finish What Ya Started," and Hagar even let bygones be bygones by including images of brothers Eddie and Alex Van Halen on the three rear-stage video screens that showed historic footage throughout the night. Anthony stuck around for "Heavy Metal," the returned after "Mas Tequila" to sing the Kid Rock part on "Knockdown Dragout" from Hagar's forthcoming "Sammy Hagar & Friends" album.

The encore tossed in a couple more songs from that set, including Bob Seger's "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" and Ronnie Dunn's "Bad on Fords and Chevrolets," which Hagar duly noted is "about the Motor City" and was an apt way to send fans back to their own cars. Hagar thanked the crowd "for allowing me to do this my whole life" and promised that he "will continue to do this my whole life."

And he certainly wasn't hearing any complaints about that on Monday.

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