On Sunday, September 6, Van Halen brought their massive North American tour to Bethel Woods Center For The Arts. Fans arrived early and tailgated outside in the late summer heat. Those who didn’t want to stand outside in the heat, chose to explore the Woodstock museum located right on the concert grounds. Complete with air conditioning, a cafe, and gift shop, the museum is the perfect place to explore before any show at the amphitheater.
When doors opened, people rushed inside to secure their spot on the lawn or get to their seat in time for opener Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Kenny and his band came out and played a 9 song set. The night for Kenny and his band was highlighted by a fantastic cover of “Voodoo Child” by Jimi Hendrix. With a loud applause, the Kenny Wayne Shepherd band exited the stage and fans awaited Van Halen.
As expected, what was once a generally filled amphitheater ended up being packed house. Van Halen started the show off with “Light Up The Sky” and immediately went into “Runnin’ With The Devil”. After a battle with the flu early the week before, David Lee Roth seemed back to his old self. Although Diamond Dave gets criticized for his vocal abilities, he certainly gives it his all. After being on the road for a solid 2 months now on this tour, Van Halen seem to be rolling full force with no signs of letting up. Eddie, Wolfgang and Alex Van Halen sound near perfect and together with David Lee Roth put on a great performance.
Van Halen seems to be sticking to the same setlist every night, but without any complaints from the crowd. Mixing things up from a wide array of songs from albums such as 1984, Van Halen, Van Halen II, Women and Children First, A Different Kind Of Truth, Fair Warning and Diver Down, Van Halen has something for everyone to sing along to. With such a big catalog, Van Halen does a perfect job of mixing classics with new material as well as songs your biggest Van Halens fans may have never heard live before. Before the tour started, Wolfgang told fans that this tour would have some special songs in the setlist that haven’t been played in a long time. Sticking to his word, Van Halen put together a setlist that everyone should love. Some of the other songs that the band jammed were “Somebody Get Me A Doctor,” “Little Guitars” and “Ice Cream Man”. The beginning of “Ice Cream Man,” David Lee Roth came out onstage alone with an acoustic guitar and a harmonica. Then the rest of the band came out to finish that song together then play “Unchained”.
During Eddie’s guitar solo it was proven that he is human and experiences issues from time to time. Having issues with one of the effect pedals on his board, Eddie had to delay some of his licks for a moment. While trying to do the melody from “Cathedral” off Diver Down, Eddie ran into some pedal issues. While his tech came out to replace some cables and find the issue, Eddie said to the crowd, “Something is very wrong back here” to which Bethel Woods chanted Eddie. Not before long, Eddie was cranked back up to 11 and finished the solo with “Eruption” and started into “You Really Got Me”.
The night was ended with “Panama” and “Jump” off of Van Halen’s 1984 album, which turned into a giant sing along for the people of Bethel Woods Center For The Arts. Diamond Dave and the rest of Van Halen took the stage afterwards for a bow and left the crowd in high spirits. This show would have been the perfect way to end the summer for Bethel Woods Center For The Arts, but they do have one more show booked for later in September.
Van Halen is now working their way down south hitting up numerous states and then working their way west. The tour wraps up at the Hollywood Bowl in Hollywood, CA on October 4. You can find all the tour dates and ticket information at Van-Halen.com.
Setlist: Light Up The Sky, Runnin’ With The Devil, Romeo Delight, Everybody Wants Some, Drop Dead Legs, Feel Your Love Tonight, Somebody Get Me A Doctor, She’s The Woman, China Town, I’ll Wait, Drum Solo, Little Guitars, Dance The Night Away, Beautiful Girls, Women In Love, Hot For Teacher, In A Simple Rhyme, Dirty Movies, Ice Cream Man, Unchained, Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love, Guitar Solo, You Really Got Me, Panama, Jump