VAN HALEN - Tokyo Dome In Concert (Review)

information persons: 
Produced By: 
Van Halen
Release Date: 
Musical Style: 
Hard Rock
Warner Bros.
Thursday, May 7, 2015
Is it at all possible to review this release without making the voice of frontman David Lee Roth an issue? Better for me if I don’t, as lunatic members of the DLR fanclub will certainly riot should anyone dare state the obvious.
But, at the risk of doing something I hate - sitting on the fence - it ain’t that bad. We are talking of course about the current (and recent) vocal abilities of the great Sir David Lee Of The Roth – a frontman so iconic in rock n roll circles that it is almost an 11th commandment to hold him in reverence.
I’ll roll out the cliché that Dave was always more frontman and circus ring leader than styled vocalist, but his charisma and charm (plus fronting the best band on the planet) made him a household name.
I like Dave – I like his energy, I like his intelligence and wit and I like (most) of his recorded output over the years.
Yes, his voice is kinda rough, even for an old guy, but his fitness and stage aura is unquestionable and it is that factor that gets him a pass on all concert appearances and therefore this live document of the band’s 2013 tour.
I’d probably rather hear Dave then watch Dave, his antics are a bit much sometimes, so the lack of DVD here is not an issue for me.
There is also at least a dozen other Van Halen live concerts that fans rank higher in demand than this outing, but this is both the first appearance of Dave and Wolfgang on any official live release.
Any archival live release would have to involve Michael Anthony (I had to mention him, didn’t I?) and that would just be awkward…right?
So, Tokyo Dome - In Concert is here and you know what, I may have a far more enthusiastic love of the Sammy Hagar era (yes, I had to mention him too), but you cannot deny the band is on fire here and Eddie Van Halen – wow. It’s one of life’s joys to hear him play any riff at all, let alone those to the iconic Hot For Teacher, Panama, Unchained, Mean Street and Running With The Devil.
Yes, there are vocals that make you cringe occasionally and yes, they miss that Mike Anthony wail, but this is a pretty nice raw, 100% live on the night recording.
And I’m especially enthusiastic about the new inclusions – China Town, She’s The Woman and Tattoo (ok, maybe a little less so on that one…), but A Different Kind Of Truth was a fricken awesome album and deserves to be part of the classic set list of songs.

I love Van Halen. They frustrate the shit out of me though. I’d much prefer a new/old/anything studio release. C’mon guys, time waits for no man, get on with it! 
But in the meantime this will do for a while, or at least every time it gets warm enough for a BBQ.