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Friday, September 3, 2010

Sammy Hagar live at The Palace of Auburn Hills, MI

Sammy Hagar and the Wabo’s live at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Michigan. Tuesday 31st August, 2010

(Picture courtesy of

Sammy Hagar, known to many rock fans the world over as 'The Red Rocker,' hit The Palace of Auburn Hills this past Tuesday evening, as special guest to Aerosmith.

You know full well when you see Sammy, that he'll entertain you and I've been seeing the guy play live for around 30 years now, with the first occasion being back in my old home town of Portsmouth, England at a great little venue - In some peoples eyes! - called Portsmouth Guildhall.
Yes, that was indeed 1980 and I'd already got into his Trans Am, Nine On a Ten Scale and Live, Loud and Clear albums and at the time had just purchased his latest Danger Zone album. He was great and never stopped running around the stage ... That was then.

Today the man, has become quite the partier since opening his Cabo Wabo resort bar and grill location, selling his own Cabo Wabo tequila and has just opened a bar and grill, at New York's JKF airport ... He even told us Tuesday night that he got so wrecked the night before, that they were lucky he was even there and that he was lucky he could still stand up!

Did that mean he wasn't in a fit state to play on Tuesday night?
Put simply, nope! He rocked the Palace, he really did as he proceeded to dig deep into his recording history to present an hour's worth of material that stretched through his Montrose days, his solo years and his Van Halen years too.

Backed by the very able Waborita's, Vic Johnson (guitar/vocals), Mona (bass/vocals) and David Lauser (drums) only, no keyboards tonight, they still sounded great!
As the lights went down, so the intro track ran and ‘Rock The Nation’ from Sammy’s Montrose days rang out around the arena and the crowd were getting buzzed!

The band hits the stage and launches into the more than appropriate, ‘There’s Only One Way To Rock’ and what a great start!

There’s a tasty Cabo Wabo back drop for the band and Sammy even has his usual tequila / martini bar with girls, at the side of the stage. At the end of the song Sammy says, ‘Give it up Detroit!’

Then it’s ‘I Can’t Drive 55’ and the band is on fire and Sammy is of course dressed completely in red as befits his title.

Sammy and the Wabo’s have limited space in front of the area set aside for Aerosmith and typically rule of thumb with many large acts, the walkway that runs into the crowd centre stage, is off limits to opening acts. Sammy’s monitors run across front of stage, blocking what would be the entrance to the walkway and Sammy and Vic Johnson, step over the monitors to make themselves, better known to the front rows of the crowd.

It’s Van Halen time, as ‘Top of the World’ is next and dos sound good as the band continues to rip it up.
At the end of the track, Sammy starts talking to the crowd and tells us, ‘You know I love this shit!’ As he’s clearly enjoying himself, then he calls over to the martini bar, ‘Hey, I need a drink!’ One of the girls duly obliges and brings a martini and Sammy starts sipping it and then tells us of the first time he played the town was with Montrose, down at Cobo Arena …

Cue ‘Space Station Number 5’ which then kicks into ‘Rock Candy,’ before completing the Montrose trio with ‘Bad Motor Scooter!’
With Sammy pulling on his guitar and adding some wicked guitar during the latter song.
Woo hoo! You rock Sammy and of course the Wabo’s too!

Next Sammy says, ‘You know what time it is? It’s 5150 time,’ as ‘Best of Both Worlds’ is cranked to the max and Sammy is totally utilizing Aerosmith’s walkway.
He goes on to add after the song that I mentioned earlier, about how he was so messed up last night that he was lucky to remain standing. ‘Time for the hair of the dog he says. Bring me another drink please ladies!’

‘3 Lock Box’ next from his classy solo period and he again pulls on a guitar and he’s ripping it up again, big time!

With no keyboards, the next track seems a very odd version of ‘Right Now.’ Bass solo thrown in for good measure and the song is stretched out quite a bit and almost goes into Led Zeppelin territory with Sammy throwing out some screams ala Robert Plant style.

‘Finish What You Started’ is next and sounds great before it’s back to Sammy’s solo career and then‘Heavy Metal’ and the crowd is right behind the man and his band, as Sammy provides another great solo piece. You really do rock Sammy, no question!

Sing along time next, as Sammy tells us he wrote this next song on his birthday down in Cabo Wabo, as we get the Wabo’s soundtrack in ‘Mas Tequila’ and yes, the crowd is right with him!
Then of course Sammy leads all the waitress girls down to the walkway with shot glasses galore to hand out to welcoming front of house crowd!

Confetti bombs are fired out and the band launch into their closer, ‘Why Can’t This Be Love.’
No encore, that’s all folks!

What a great, fun and rocking set! Thanks Sammy, come back soon my friend, it’s always a great show!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Sammy’s website – Like you couldn’t guess! -

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