Rock USA closed with electrifying Van Halen performance

Who doesn’t like happy endings? Rock USA does it again in 2013 with rock giant and headliner Van Halen closing out the four day music festival in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The week was tough, battling heat and long waits that have yet to be explained, but Van Halen managed to come together for one impressive and well-rounded performance.

When Rock USA announced Van Halen would be performing this year understandably fans exercised a good amount of caution – their last tour being cut short with little explanation.

But all worry was washed away as Alex Van Halen’s intimidating drums were uncovered and Eddie’s towering amps were kicked on and screaming during sound check.

Eddie ripped into “Unchained” as the rest of VH slowly paced out onto the stage, Roth doing so in a more provocative way. They looked good and sounded even better. While the sparkle and dazzle of a full blown tour was missing, the stage rather empty and not much for visuals, Roth attempted to make up for it. Being the showman that he is, all eyes were on him.

It was the perfect night for a rock show. Temperature was down from the blistering first half of Rock USA, and a nearly-full moon dotted the sky. “Dance The Night Away” and “Pretty Woman” received fantastic crowd participation, one of the loudest I’ve heard, but it wasn’t until “Panama” until we heard the full capacity of the 35000+ field of people.

“Hot For Teacher” had Roth on his A game, darting from side to side, back and forth between Eddie and Wolf. “Welcome to class my name is Mr. Roth!”

The chemistry among each other was great and it seemed like they were getting along. Though while wrapping up their encore “Jump” Roth was seen shaking Eddie and Wolf’s hands signaling they weren’t going to have much time to catch up after the show.

Roth also lead acoustically into “Ice Cream Man,” bringing the band out for the later chorus and guitar solo. “When you’re done with your corn on the cob and BBQ I recommend some ice cream!” “Summer time is here baby!”

Eddie also snuck in a quick guitar solo mixing parts of “Eruption” and “Cathedral”. Ripping his finger open early in the stretched solo had his hand bloodied, but that didn’t stop him from tearing through like nothing was wrong. Everyone got a kick out of him taking a seat on the drum riser and flailing away. It was mildly disappointing to not see Frankenstein though.

I think this was in line with what Rock USA expected. A setlist peppered with nothing but hits and only a few new numbers was simply perfect for the occasion. And who could be mad, after all they did make it back to Wisconsin.

Unchained – Runnin’ With the Devil – She’s the Woman – Romeo Delight – Tattoo – Everybody Wants Some!! – Somebody Get Me a Doctor – China Town – Hear About It Later – Oh, Pretty Woman – Drum Solo – You Really Got Me – Dance the Night Away – I’ll Wait – Hot for Teacher – Beautiful Girls – Ice Cream Man – Panama – Guitar Solo – Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Love – Jump

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