live music: VAN HALEN x MSG x 2.28.12

Van Halen performs at Madison Square Garden in NYC on 2.28.12. Photo by Joe Russo.

Madison Square Garden, NYC 2.28.12 – This was one of the more highly anticipated shows I wanted to try to see/shoot in recent memory. I was most intrigued about what this was going to sound like without Michael Anthony and his harmonies…or what will the dynamic be like between Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth?

Van Halen performs at Madison Square Garden in NYC on 2.28.12. Photo by Joe Russo.

Van Halen performs at Madison Square Garden in NYC on 2.28.12. Photo by Joe Russo.

Van Halen performs at Madison Square Garden in NYC on 2.28.12. Photo by Joe Russo.

Van Halen performs at Madison Square Garden in NYC on 2.28.12. Photo by Joe Russo.
Van Halen hasn’t toured since 2007. Since then, Eddie has had surgery on his left wrist and has been treated for arthritis in his fingers…another factor to wonder about with the reformation. And so here they are reunited in 2012 as the band hits the road in support of their first new studio album since 1998’s “Van Halen III”…entitled “A Different Kind Of Truth”.

Van Halen performs at Madison Square Garden in NYC on 2.28.12. Photo by Joe Russo.

Van Halen performs at Madison Square Garden in NYC on 2.28.12. Photo by Joe Russo.

Van Halen performs at Madison Square Garden in NYC on 2.28.12. Photo by Joe Russo.

I’ve only shot at MSG a few times in the past. I really didn’t know what to expect with this one as I was told it was a soundboard shoot. I’ve seen the soundboard halfway back on the arena floor as well as all the way back to the far end of the arena. I made the assumption it would be the latter and prepared accordingly.

One the way up to The Garden, I stopped off to rent a longer lens. I picked up a 300mm 2.8L IS and a monopod. It turned out to be the right call. I grabbed a spot on an equipment case to the right of the soundboard all the way in the back of the arena and got set up.

As always with the bigger bands, the lighting is always on point…tonight was no exception.

Van Halen performs at Madison Square Garden in NYC on 2.28.12. Photo by Joe Russo.

Van Halen performs at Madison Square Garden in NYC on 2.28.12. Photo by Joe Russo.

Van Halen performs at Madison Square Garden in NYC on 2.28.12. Photo by Joe Russo.

The band hit the stage with such energy and ferocity. DLR was sliding all around the stage while EVH played pretty close to flawlessly. AVH is about as solid a drummer as there is and I was impressed by Wolfgang Van Halen’s bass playing. But again, Michael Anthony was sorely missed.

Van Halen performs at Madison Square Garden in NYC on 2.28.12. Photo by Joe Russo.

Van Halen performs at Madison Square Garden in NYC on 2.28.12. Photo by Joe Russo.

The show wasn’t perfect by any means. DLR sounded great at times and other times a bit choppy with his vocals. He forgot the words to their new single “Tattoo” where he said “…and I forgot the words so let’s take it to the chorus!” If memory serves me correctly, I believe Eddie messed up at some point during the show as well.

Van Halen performs at Madison Square Garden in NYC on 2.28.12. Photo by Joe Russo.

Van Halen performs at Madison Square Garden in NYC on 2.28.12. Photo by Joe Russo.

Van Halen performs at Madison Square Garden in NYC on 2.28.12. Photo by Joe Russo.

All in all I had a great time and it was a lot of fun.

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