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Charlotte Bobcats Arena

Live Review: Van Halen w/ Ky-mani Marley

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The Deal: David Lee Roth and company kick off their reunion tour ... after a long 20-year wait.

The Good: Ky-mani Marley provided a solid, but brief, opening set and sounded just like his father for "No Woman, No Cry." The return of Dave to the helm of Van Halen was worth the wait as the band rifled through a hits list from their early days. After "I'm the One," the band stood on the S-shaped stage and soaked in the applause from the sold-out crowd. Roth noted, "It took 20 years to get this far." Roth and Eddie had a brief challenge of who could make a better motorcycle noise, with Roth conceding victory to the guitar legend. Throughout the night, the band looked comfortable, like they hadn't missed a step in 20 years. The highlight, aside from the guitar solo, was Roth's story of a drug-fueled adventure in 1972 leading up to "Ice Cream Man."

The Bad: Brief splashes of feedback could be heard a few times, but nothing too distracting. Let's face it, they're old and not as active as they once were – DLR did few kicks and Eddie jumped about 15 times; they only used the ramp into the crowd a handful of times. At moments, the show seemed a little too scripted – Dave bouncing around on an inflatable microphone (which he later carried over his head to the stage in a symbolic statement, perhaps?), his "Princess Diana-like waves to the crowd," costume changes and faux-sword play, but that's also just the way he is... While Wolfgang didn't have much of a stage presence, he filled in nicely to replace Michael Anthony.

The Verdict: Diamond Dave, who was all-smiles, and the boys performed like not a day went by since their last show together. A helluva reunion show. (A setlist and more photos can be found at qcvibes.com)

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