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'Tokyo Dome In Concert'
(Rhino Entertainment)
Out now

tony conley
Tony Conley

van halen

Perspective. That's when you look at something through the proper set of eyes. When you hear with the right set of ears.

That's what I've tried to do with the new live Van Halen live album, and it's working for me. Tokyo Dome In Concert is something we've been waiting for for decades, and it does not disappoint.

The 800 pound gorilla in this is Diamond Dave's voice, so let's talk about it. DLR was never about the notes, the tone or the enunciation - he's the clown prince of hard rock and he runs this three ring circus like a champ. He gives a great running commentary, supplying the words, and he cheerleads the finest family act in heavy rock history.

'Panama' is a great example as he talks about the weather, his bassist being in Tokyo for the first time and his delivery is no better or worse than it was in the 80s. We've become so reactionary about old lineups and what we think we remember that we've lost track of what's right in our ears and eyes.

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And like I said, this band is called Van Halen. Eddie Van Halen has never once made it easy on himself and while sometimes it became almost unbearably painful to watch, I could say the same about my life, so who am I to judge, right? What matters is that he's come out the other side and he's playing like we had always hoped he'd be playing at this age.

He is as feral as ever, his tone is brown, the amazing right hand rhythms are intact and his incendiary leads lead the way. This record is a brilliant encapsulation of his legacy. No one could reasonably be unhappy with what I'm hearing here.

The other two thirds of the VH family band is in fine shape - Alex is still making 'Somebody Get Me A Doctor' an excellent demonstration of how to keep aa hard rock song moving without getting stale. He pushes, pulls, pokes, and probes, pummeling his hi-hats while while the rest of his kit is careening down the tracks like a runaway train. It's impossible to imagine what this band would sound like with another drummer. I can't contemplate it. He and his brother are a set, and they are musically inseparable.

Who doesn't miss Michael Anthony in Van Halen? I do. You do, and probably so do others closer to the situation, but he's not here so get over it and dig the kid. Wolfgang Van Halen has a great set of hands, and he sings his heart out (he's no MA, but nobody else is either).

If I could take you back to the mid 80s and let you listen to this I believe you'd be pretty OK with it. Wolfe is much more than an adequate bass player, he could play with anyone and when you hear him driving the band on 'Hear About It Later', there will be no doubt in your mind that he is the right guy for the gig. Nepotism? Sure, when it's the right move to make, it makes perfect sense. His tone is appropriately huge, and his note choices show that he's absorbed a tremendous amount of music over his young life.

At just under two hours 'Tokyo Dome In Concert' is the perfect length; you don't get worn out, but you get full. This is a righteous representation of what Van Halen was during the David Lee Roth era. 'Tattoo' I could still live without, but it translates better to the stage than it did to the recording studio.

That being said, this album is a lot better than I expected from what had been leaked over the last few months - when taken as a whole, it's a very good Van Halen concert that occasionally raises itself up to greatness and never sinks to the depths we've seen the band hit during hard times. It'll be interesting to see where they go from here.

A lot of internet noise is being made over Roth's rough vocals (which are truly about the same as they ever were onstage) and the absence of Michael Anthony but that's what happens in life - things do not stay the same, but this is a solid comeback for Van Halen and if you don't think it's worth it just for the sound of the band, I don't know what to tell you. Lighten up and enjoy the rock 'n' roll!!

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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