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David Lee Roth in Los Angeles - Photo Gallery

By Frank Meyer, Contributing Editor
Saturday, September 6, 2003 @ 9:22 PM

Diamond Dave Live at the Unive

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For the last decade, every time “Diamond” David Lee Roth has played a homecoming show, it’s been at a smaller venue such as House of Blues or as part of a package, such as the Sam and Dave tour with Sammy Hagar. So headlining the Universal Amphitheater on his own (Edgar Winter opened, but few were there to see him) was a triumphant return of sorts, and Dave took full advantage of the spotlight. And as my friend said to me mid-way through the concert, “There no one who loves or deserves the spotlight more than Dave.”

Playing a two-hour-plus set of Van Halen classics and solo chestnuts, Roth seemed like he coulda played all night long. From the opening drums frenzy of “Hot For Teacher” to the closing leap off the drum riser on the encore of “Jump,” the blonde-maned lion roared with enthusiasm and glee to a packed house. More than capably backed by a two-guitar strong, five-piece band, Dave bumped and grinded his way through all the hits and more, from “Unchained” to “Yankee Rose,” “Dance the Night Away” to “Just Like Paradise,” “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” to “Mean Streets,” it was hitsville all the way, daddy-o. The crowd went typically apeshit for “Running’ With the Devil,” “Ice Cream Man” and “You Really Got Me,” but seemed just as delighted by fan favorites such as “And the Cradle Will Rock” and “Everybody Wants Some.” Unlike his last coupla tours, where he pretty much stuck to the VH catalogue, this time around Dave threw in both “Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody” and “California Girls,” both crowd-pleasers, of course. Even his cover of Steve Miller’s “Shoo Bop,” from the new Diamond Dave album, drew enthusiastic response, and that would normally be beer-refill time if ever there was one. But the crowd stuck with their hero.

And hero he is. Because as Eddie withers away in his lavish Mulholland Drive mansion, Michael jams with Sammy and Atomic Punks and Big Al retires, Dave is the only member of the original outfit that is out there rockin’ and givin’ the people what they want: a mean, lean, down and dirty, kick ass rock ‘n’ roll show just like back in ’78. Once a year so, Dave dons the leather pants (and/or spandex), throws on the cowboy boots, grabs the band, some midgets and a coupla tour buses full of Jack Daniels and hits the road to remind people what a rock show is supposed to be all about. Energetic, fun, physical, rowdy, sexy and full of laughs, Diamond Dave still knows how to party and we’re still all invited. He still kicks high, still gets high, and still reaches for the stars at very show. And ain’t that what living is all about?

(Photos Courtesy of Albert R.)

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