These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

dinosaurs walk and still ruie the world

i'm still recovering from last night's Van Halen concert at the palace of Aubern Hills. it was a treat to see, mostly, the original members of the band (bassist michael anthony was no among them, and it didn't much matter).

mark b. and i went to the show on his invitation. neither of us had been to the palace so that was interesting to see a show at a that venue. we sat at the lowest point of the second bowl, extreme stage left 9we could see lots of backstage activity and muc of the left side of the band). still, what an interesting perspective for me. usually there are coplaints when you don't sit facing straight on. but not this time. we probably got to see more where we sat than most seeing them up front.

the set up was in the shape ofa letter S, with it being lit up in different colors. Stuck within the first loop of the S were people standing (much like it was in the heart shape in the U2 concert dawn and i saw a few years back). the top part of the S loop contained the band, the drums and the backstage area.

it was a guitar-filled show, from the first sounds until the end. it was probably the most guitar i've heard or seen in any concert i've attended. a shirtless, short-haired (and slightly balding) eddie van halen ran, slid, caressed, squeezed his fingers over that fretboard and created awesome sounds that many people can only dream of doing. this started with "you really got me now" and ended with "jump." most sonds in between contained vital guitar piece that rocked each song.

eddie went up front and played "eruption" so effortlessly. he added bits and pieces to the guitar solo. his fingers sped over the fretboard. it was crazy. i've heard the solo before, but seeing and heairng it was something else. it was magical (??).

alex van halenlooked cool and at home behind his massive drum kit. he pounded the drums with ease as his arms sweep across the snare, toms, cymbals, while his feet pumped the bass pedal (or pedals). he looked as he did 20 years ago, wearing a white bandana wrapped around his head. he was on fire, moving as fast on the drums as his brother did on guitar.

and diamond dave? time apparently has done nothing to diminish his voice. he's never been a great singer; he's always been an entertainer. but he sounded fine. he pranced and preened around the stage, but it wasn't cockiness, it was coolness. much like the van halen brothers, his hair was get short. it was just cool seeing david lee roth. he's one of those guys that's a legend in rock and roll and getting to check him out on stage was great.

they went through their entire repertore up until 1984. they must have played every hit. mark was satisfied. they played everything they could have from van halen and 1984, mixed with many songs in between. i was not disappointed.

my favorite was when they played "ice cream man." roth came out strumming a guitar. he gave a little history of the song, how he and the van halen prothers were playing back yards and charging $1 per person, using a neighbor's ice cream truck to store the booze, getting high in someone's garage and meeting up with a girl who became his girlfriend for more than three years. he said this next song was her favorite. he segued into the song. shortly after, eddie's guitar came screaming in, followed by drums and bass. it was awesome.

and wolfgang van halen? he pulled his own weight. you could hear the bass just fine. not bad for a 15-year-old kid. in fact, he had the longest hair of the bunch. there was a point where roth was giving him a hard time, sayihg once, "someone's been practicing he bass playing." he said into a microphone, "gimme a break." the crowd cheered.

there was much energy in the place. we were sitting higher and people weren't flipping out or anything. too much shaking and you could go tumbling down a few rows. still, great show. my ears were ringing until i woke up this morning.

mark and i were talking about concerts on the way home and trying to compare them. he said it's top five for sure for him.

i said it was top three for me. i'd put the tom petty show dawn and i went to a few summers ago (see blog entry titled tom petty) near indianapolis at number one, then the U2 show dawn and i saw oct. 2002 in austin as second, followed by this van halen show.

check off van original vanhalen off the list.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


i yelled at some kids yesterday. and you know what? it felt damn good. no, it wasn't me flipping out and going off on them or even cussing them out. here's the story.

yesterday afternoon we were upstairs cleaning up and i heard some of the neighborhood kids running around near the house. actually they sounded as if they were in our driveway. they were laughing and running.

the sounds abated and continued. i went downstairs and asked dawn to see what was up. she went outside through the kitchen door and i heard her talking to kids.

i went outside and saw red things on the driveway. i had previously heard a 'whomp" sound against the house that was associated with the kids but hadn't paid much attention to it. now i knew.

they were tomatoes. the little bastards grabbed tomotoes from the few plants we have (and a few peppers), picked them off, and threw them against the house. remnants of the tomoatoes were strewed throughout the drive.

i laid into them. there were four of them. three boys and one girl. however, i wanted to know who were the ones. i bent over and started into one of them who actually helped with gardening and planting some of the stuff. his eyes were wide as i told him he was NEVER to return to our driveway again. another kid, who i started into, said he didn't do it. the girl blamed it on her brother. so it turned out that two of the four were the culprits.
i turned my attention to them, telling them how would they like it if i went over to their homes and threw tomotoes at the exterior? perhaps because they were about 6 or 7 years old, it might not have sunk in, but i wanted to let them know they can't do that kind of shit and get away with it.

i told them to leave and never return. dawn, the smarter of the two, said they had to pick up the pieces of tomatoes and peppers and throw them away first. grudgingly they did. and they left. i told them never to come back again. i hope they don't. i will not be happy to see them in our driveway. they were invited in the first place.

i understand they are kids, young kids at that. but they must learn manners and behavior. they can never be too young to learn these things.

also, their parents should be to blame. after all, what are parents for but to learn from, to discipline. it comes from the home. if they don't get discipline from home, it ain't going to get done. so i blame the parents mostly. in fact, when the little girl went back across the street, her mother came out and she said, "so-and-so got in trouble." i thought the mom would come over to say something. but she said nothing. it leads me to believe she doesn't care. if it was my kid, i'd take him back and make him or her apologize and then perhaps buy some tomatoes for them as a gesture of good will.

if we had children, there's no way in hell they'd get away with this kind of shit. they wouldn't have don it in the first place, though.

the tmoto incident is over and i hope the little bastards don't ever come back beyond the sidewalk. i'll pretend to be the crotchety old man from "monster house" and yell at them every time they get close. ha!