Sammy Hagar Rocks Lowell’s Tsongas Arena – MA

Photos and Review by Ilya Mirman
Sammy Hagar HERE
Sick Puppies HERE
Buckcherry HERE
I’ve been a fan of Sammy Hagar since the summer I first heard 5150’s opening words, “Hello, Baby!”  After two great opening acts – Sick Puppies and Buckcherry – Sammy and The Waboritas took the stage in Lowell’s Tsongas Arena.  The tour’s concept is an ambitious one – to showcase Sammy’s 40 year career, spanning his years with the hard rock band Montrose; his solo career; and his stint fronting Van Halen.  And though I shot Sammy with Chickenfoot a couple years back, it was a real treat to see the Red Rocker’s live performance that spans his broad repertoire.
Sammy kicked the evening off with a Montrose medley – Space Station #5, Rock Candy, and Bad Motor Scooter.  (Not only was it great to hear these live, but made shooting the show that much more fun, because press photographers are in the pit for the first three songs, and the medley counted as just the first song!)  Behind the band, giant screens played videos and song-related footage, making the entire set an enormously engaging and entertaining experience, both visually and aurally.  For those of us growing up watching his videos (back when MTV actually WAS music television!), the juxtaposition of live  Sammy in front of his iconic videos was fantastic.
Speed and driving were a consistent theme throughout the set, and we were soon reminded that Hagar “Can’t Drive 55.”  Sammy was clearly having a blast and bantered freely with the audience, so much so that the event felt much more like a raucous house party than an arena concert.
After several more songs from his solo days, Sammy launched into his Van Halen catalog.  My personal favorite album from his days with VH remains 5150 – and though I wish they played more than “Why Can’t This Be Love” from that album, I get that they have 40 years and scores of great songs to consider.  And, the Van Halen songs they did include were great (Right Now, Top Of The World, and Finish What Ya Started).
It should be noted that The Waboritas are fabulous musicians in their own right, and playing together for the better part of the past decade has clearly made the band jell.  Mona Gnader is a fabulous bassist, and David Lauser’s drums provides just the foundation needed for the four decade retrospective.  And Vic Johnson on guitar was not only massively entertaining as he traded licks and smiles with Sammy, but made quick work of every solo, effortlessly channeling Eddie Van Halen when needed while bringing his own flair in spades.
If you haven’t seen Hagar in concert, you’re missing quite a rock show!

Sammy Hagar

Sick Puppies 



Set List

Space Station #5 / Rock Candy / Bad Motor Scooter

I Can’t Drive 55

Bad on Fords and Chevrolets

I’ll Fall in Love Again

There’s Only One Way to Rock

Three Lock Box

Right Now

Why Can’t This Be Love

Top of the World

Finish What Ya Started

Personal Jesus

Heavy Metal

Mas Tequila

Knockdown Dragout

Not Going Down

Marching to Mars

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