Pleasure me

Van Halen, TD Banknorth Garden, October 30, 2007
By JAMES PARKER  |  November 5, 2007
REAL DEAL Dave and Eddie are still a great couple.

Slideshow: Van Halen at TD Banknorth Garden, October 30, 2007
How much red-blooded American entertainment can one town take? Mere hours after the Red Sox had completed their victory cavalcade a week ago Tuesday, a reunited Van Halen took the stage at the TD Banknorth Garden and saturated the pleasure centers all over again. The eternally warring factions of Roth and Van Halen have been reconciled, and Diamond Dave stands once more beside Eddie, making grotesque pop-eyed faces of wonder and naive delight as the guitar god spews his miracles. Eddie in turn does his drunk-boy grin and rushes around with his shirt off. On bass, where the smiling Michael Anthony once stood, is Eddie’s son Wolfgang — a round and rosy-faced teenager in a black hooded sweatshirt. Somehow he is not at all out of place.

The incredible façade of cheeseball camaraderie projected by Eddie and Dave might lead the amateur psychologist to surmise that they continue to detest each other. But who cares about that? Eddie’s technique still sounds as if it had been scraped off the back of a passing asteroid, and Diamond Dave in the autumn of his renown is really something else. The physical limitations that age has placed on his performance (now 53, he can no longer make those kamikaze leaps from the drum riser) have had an alarmingly concentrating effect on his personality: he leers and preens and savagely grins, wizened and tricksterish under his top hat. The bawdy talk in “Everybody Wants Some” (“No, no, no, no, don’t take ’em off! Leave ’em on . . . ” etc.) was word for word as you hear it in the recorded version, but there was an impressive piece of freshly minted doggerel about the home team: “I love every base those motherfuckers steal. . . . Everybody knows New England is for REAL!” Nice one, Dave

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