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David Lee Roth Live in Hollywood on New Year's Eve

By Frank Meyer, Contributing Editor
Monday, January 5, 2004 @ 5:19 PM

David Lee Roth Live at the Hou

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What better way to ring in the New Year than with the toastmaster of the immoral majority himself, Diamond Dave, eh? At least that’s what myself and a House of Blues full of rockers thought as we poured into the venue to watch the man with the million dollar smile rock in 2004 like it was 1978 all over again. With his now road tested, backing band in fierce form and a crowd of enthusiastic fans clinging on his every word, Roth raised the proverbial glass and proceeded to shatter it in true hard rock fashion with a two-hour-plus greatest hits and fan favorites show that was as bombastic and hard rockin’ as one is gonna get in this day and age.

Opening with surefire crowd pleaser “Hot For Teacher” and closing with the smash anthem “Jump” would be enough hits to bookend any other artist’s set, right? But one forgets just how many hits ol’ Dave has under his belt and part of the fun of the show is watching the folks in the crowd turn to each other in amazement and glee as the next riff kicks in, “What? I forgot about this one! I can’t believe he’s playing this! Fuck yeah!” “Runnin’ with the Devil,” “You Really Got Me,” “Panama,” “Unchained, “ “Dance the Night Away,” “Yankee Rose,” “Just Like Paradise,” and the list goes one. Want bone-crunching hard rock? “Somebody Get Me a Doctor” or “And the Cradle Will Rock…” should keep ya satisfied. Want hip shakin’ sex boogie? How ‘bout “Everybody Wants Some.” Need a fix of down and dirty blues? “Ice Cream Man,” perhaps? And it don’t stop… and it doth not quit…

I’m also happy to report the Diamond one was in fine vocal form. He hit the high notes, nailed the lyrics and threw in as many jokes as possible, all to the delight of the ladies in the first few rows, all of whom were soon up on their boyfriends shoulders throwing their bras on stage and waggling their hooters for Dave’s perusal. I believe they met with his approval. Dave also had a newly shorn short ‘do. Perhaps shedding his famous blond locks for his recent role on the Sopranos? Clad in leather pants and a cowboy shirt, he looked like the rock ‘n’ roll animal (or happy tiger) he has always set out to be. Snarling and laughing at the same time.

Just before midnight, Roth counted us into the New Year as the band rocked on “Auld Lang Syne” and balloons and confetti dropped from the ceiling, the bar dolled out free Champaign, couples smooched, midgets stalked the stage, freaks and geeks cavorted around with percussion instruments, and Dave, beaming with delight and genuine happiness, crashed cymbals. That moment -- looking exactly like those old Van Halen shots you’ve seen in the old tour books where the band is partying on stage with cake and chicks -- completely encapsulated what we love about Dave. He is the perennial life of the party, the consummate hedonist, the game show host in the win, lose or draw game show that is life. He parties so that we don’t have to (though we do anyway, he just does it better and harder). He parties for the world. Every minute is a party, every show, every interview. He wears a smile smeared across his face at all time at this point not because he’s some crazy man, but because… well, wouldn’t you be? Fuck. Think about the life he’s lead. And unlike most of his peers, he’s alive, well, fit, healthy, not in AA, still partying, still filling halls with hard rock, and still dancing the night away to the delight of fans. Are you kidding? I’d have a smile the size of Panama on my kisser if I’d been in Dave’s shoes for even a day. The chicks, the drugs, the rock, the roll…

…the cars, the planes, the mansions, the destroyed hotel rooms….

…the chicks, the whips, the tits….

…the money, the power, the ups, the downs, the adventures, the arrests….

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