I think it’s fair to say contributing Star music reviewer Bill Brownlee was less than impressed with Van Halen’s show Wednesday night at Cricket Wireless Amphitheater.
Saying the concert “resembled a disaster film with slapstick interludes,” Brownlee laid the blame on frontman David Lee Roth, whose “well-intentioned but deeply flawed efforts severely handicapped the band,” he wrote.
To put it mildly, many other Van Halen concertgoers didn’t agree with the review. And some of their rejoinders were smart and funny. A sampling of some of the best (and yes, the most personal):
“While Dave doesn’t have the best voice, he never has. He does however put on a hell of a show and I left the show wondering why anyone would think Sammy (Hagar, who led the band from 1985-1996) would be better for them.”
“Dave is a lyricist and an entertainer. No, he is not a Steve Perry and I do not think anyone expects that. The fact that he is a ‘ham’ (and has always been) makes him even more attractive as the lead man.”
“Another lazy and classless critic, probably a Hagar sheep, repeating the same old copy and paste criticisms of DLR live.”
“DLR is 60 years old, so of course his voice isn’t what it used to be. He’s still an entertainer and that’s what he does and did last night. The band sounded awesome and Eddie can still tear up a guitar better than most any wanna be rock band. I and my friends quite enjoyed seeing a legacy band play some of their best hits. I’m sure this bitter Star writer would have a blast at a Nickleback or Justin Bieber show.”
“Critics are merely that. If this was written by an actual fan who has followed them all their life, the review would be positive. Dave never was a great lead singer. That's not what his show is about. Missing the boat on that.”
There is something about reading a negative review of a show you’ve enjoyed that feels like a personal criticism. And this last commenter in particular hits on a truism about legacy acts such as Van Halen: Their audience consists of lots of longtime, true-blue fans.
They knew they weren’t seeing Diamond Dave of 1979. And that was OK by a lot of them.