Live Review, 6/3/12: Van Halen Finger-Taps Its Way to Glory at Oracle Arena

Van Halen

Kool and the Gang

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Oracle Arena

Better than: Any of the still-touring Sunset Strip hair-farmers from the 1980s that Van Halen inspired.

There aren't too many '70s-era hard-rock bands that can inspire the kind of unabashed hedonism — a “bring me the skull of Sammy Hagar filled with tequila” type of wild abandon, if you will — as Van Halen with original lead singer David Lee Roth. During the band's initial heyday, which stretched from its scorching 1978 debut through Diamond Dave's famously acrimonious departure after the 1984 album and tour, Van Halen served as the soundtrack for infinite teenage bacchanalia in the backs of countless boogie vans. Strange, then, that the scent of sauerkraut and relish on hot dogs overpowered the weed smoke in my section of Oracle Arena Sunday night for the first of Van Halen's two Bay Area concerts, as opening act Kool & the Gang tried to get the party started.

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