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Live Concert Review:

Van Frickin' Halen
Blaisdale Auditorium, Honolulu, Hawaii, Fall 1998...we think

By Travis Fickle

Published in RW #12, 1999

Van Halen Live
Is this a pic of Van Halen? Hard to say for sure.

"It's Van Halen, dude!" Malcolm was practically foaming at the mouth. I knew it was important, after all, he was calling before noon.

"Come on, Malcolm!" I screamed at him. "You and I both know how these things go. I show up, there's no ticket for me, I get pissed, pissed drunk and usually end up pissing somewhere I'm not supposed to. Forget it!"

"Dude, you think you can play guitar? You ain't shit! Eddie Van Halen, now that's guys got licks that'll blow your mind. He can make that guitar sound like a pig with a drumstick up its ass. Maybe you'll learn something."

Jesus, he sounded positively rabid. Sometimes it's just better to play along with the guy.

"Okay, I guess I could go." After all, there's all sorts of ladies at a Van Halen concert, right? Those guys are like magnets for nasty girls with troubled childhoods. "I'll do it."

It seemed easy enough: get drunk, take in a few pedantic guitar solos, check out what the new singer looks like (I got Malcolm to give me odds he'd be wearing something with fringe) and write up a fluff piece such as, "Like Vikings making landfall at Greenland, Van Halen takes the stage to the God-like thunder of an arena full of white trash losers hopped up on gold paint and roofies." You know, that kind of thing. Bo,y was I wrong.

First of all, the lighting is all wrong in the front of the arena. Everybody has this really metallic sheen about them. they all have the complexion of the 7-11 clerk who rings you up for smokes just as you happen to be peaking on three hits of Orange Sunshine. The place was like a time capsule. If you were at your hippest when "Hot for Teacher" was ruining young kid's minds everywhere, then you were at this show wearing your original Members Only jacket. And there were mullets! My god were there mullets–the permed, short in front, long in the back, good old fashioned mullet. There were the tight corduroy pants, the Marlboro reds in a box, you know the type.

I make my way to will call, doing my best not to make eye contact with anyone. Most of the guys here look like paroled felons. I knew when I saw the magnitude of the event that the Reglar Wiglar was a bit outgunned. After all there were guys in Italian suites with blonds on each arm waiting at will call.

"I should be on the list..."

"Hold on a second. Who sent you? I mean, who got you on the list?"

Time to make a plausible sounding name, "Mr. Goldberg or Goldman...or Goldstein? I can't remember."

"You're not on the list. Here's what you can do though. Take a walk around the arena to the very back, ask to talk to the stage manager and tell him your name. Maybe he can help you."

I just wanted to get out of there. The mescaline was starting to kick in and I was beginning to get really self-conscious. It seemed like everybody was staring. I couldn't really tell if I was walking right, my legs were starting to feel like stilts, the ground was looking farther and farther away, and it was pulsating with cigarette butts and chewed gum. At this point I can feel the rotation of the earth and I don't like it.

I finally get around to the very back. An alley leads towards the arena to my right. It gets even darker that way. I walk around a collection of dumpsters towards a fence. A few feet down I realize it's just a dead end.

The bastards! They were just toying with me.

Down but not out. I formulate a plan. There's a pond with huge goldfish in it between me and the arena garden. I slip over the rail into the water like a Navy Seal and approach by sea. I get close to the other side and turn on the bullshit.

"Who the fuck pushed me? Alan, was that you? You fucking asshole, don't run away from me. I'll get you."

Before I know it, security is pulling me out of the pond. "I have a ticket...oh shit, it must have fallen into the water. I'm not going back in there, there's all kinds of diseases and germs in there."

But they're still grabbing me, holding me tightly by the arm. They're not buying it. Maybe they saw me jump...who cares? Fuck 'em.

I didn't want to see Van Fucking Halen anyway. I scream into the face of the security guard to my left, "FUCK VAN HALEN! Who's their singer now anyway. Oh, I forgot, I don't give a fuck!"

They lead me back to the gate and suddenly everything goes black...

More Live Reviews:

Pearl Jam
Bruce Dickinson

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