Music » Livewire

David Lee Roth

Sunday, August 20, at the House of Blues.

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Had Van Halen's pre-Hagar lineup held solid for a few more albums, David Lee Roth might have supplanted Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant as the archetypal rock-and-roll frontman. But, as your first-grade teacher no doubt explained, life isn't fair. Long story short: Van Halen's classic lineup split, Roth's new band took an early lead with 1986's libidinous Eat 'Em and Smile, and then it all went to hell. One at a time, his lineup of ace players split. Roth recorded more albums, but they generally sucked. Big time.

Roth isn't giving interviews for the tour. Most likely, he's not being a jerk; after an unceremonious dismissal from his gig as Howard Stern's replacement, he's no doubt wrapped up in some serious litigation for big bucks. And he famously can't control his motor mouth and irrepressible enthusiasm (which apparently scuttled a near-reunion with Van Halen in 1996). But the concert announcement came with a set list, and he'll perform only four solo songs: "California Girls," "Just Like Paradise," "Just a Gigolo," and "Going Crazy." The other 16 songs are Van Halen's best, starting with "Hot for Teacher" and ending with "Jump." When you're talking VH's greatest, everybody still wants some.

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