For much of Monday night's concert in Reading, Pa., David Lee Roth's vocals struggled to be heard clearly above the powerful racket being made by his Van Halen bandmates.
That wasn't a bad thing.
The one-of-a-kind lead singer, back leading the band that made him famous 30 years ago, gave a packed Sovereign Center a wildly uneven performance.
Prancing around in front of a mammoth, high-definition screen, Diamond Dave, 57, certainly was fun to watch. He unleashed spin kicks, contorted himself into a variety of positions, twirled the mic stand like a martial artist and seduced a woman in the front row during an extended take of "Everybody Wants Some."
But his vocals were all over the place. He forgot words, he had trouble staying in time and his attempts at hitting some difficult notes -- for example, the "Can't you see what I mean" line in show closer "Jump" -- were often cringe-inducing.
A shame, because the cymbal-heavy chugging backbeat provided by the Van Halen family members sounded as powerful and infectious as ever.
Really, is it possible to hear the first minute of "Hot for Teacher" and not be ready to take on the world?
Guitarist Eddie and drummer Alex, both pushing 60, sound like musicians half their age.
Bassist Wolfgang -- Eddie's son -- actually is half their age.
The 21-year-old wasn't even born until the band was well into the Sammy Hagar era.
The younger Van Halen was almost a nonentity, his contributions overpowered by the ferocious playing of his father and uncle. His lone moment in the spotlight was the brief one-note intro to "Runnin' With the Devil."
Not surprisingly, the band culled nearly half of the 22-song set from its 1978 self-titled debut and "1984," the mega-selling albums that bookended Roth's first stint with the band.
Also not surprisingly, many of those songs -- "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love," "You Really Got Me," "Ice Cream Man," "I'll Wait," "Panama" -- got the biggest responses.
But the band dug deep a few times for the diehards in attendance, dusting off early rockers "Romeo Delight" and "Somebody Get Me a Doctor."
"A Different Kind of Truth," this year's reunion album, also comprised a nice chunk of the 110-minute set. Of the five songs played from the album, the single "Tattoo" and the pounding "China Town" made the biggest impression.
The set also featured two unaccompanied solos: a brief rumble by Alex and a lengthy excursion by Eddie, which included a heavy dose of his trademark tapping and incorporated segments of his legendary solo piece, "Eruption."
Fans likely did a double-take when they saw who the band tapped to be its opening act.
About the only things Van Halen and R&B/funk veterans Kool and the Gang have in common is a string of hits in the '80s and namesake band members.
Only two founding members of the group remain, including bassist Robert "Kool" Bell, but the groove remains.
Dressed entirely in white, the 10-piece band couldn't have done a better job kick-starting the evening, with 50 minutes of nearly nonstop energy.
The interplay was tight and the arrangements were loose, allowing the band members to solo, which they did, and get the crowd to chant, which they did.
Kool and the Gang wisely chose to bypass its popular ballads, sticking to '70s funk classics like "Ladies' Night," "Hollywood Swingin' " and "Jungle Boogie," and '80s rock-tinged hits like "Tonight" and "Misled."
By the time the set came to a close with -- what else? -- "Celebration," much of the arena was on its feet, singing along.
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