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Sammy Hagar and the Waboritas at The Fillmore in San Francisco
Concert Review: Tuesday May 7, 2002
By Beverly Paterson, The Lance Monthly
(more articles from this author)
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"Forever the party dude, Sammy created a festive atmosphere on stage, as he and his band members downed shots of Tequila, served by scantily-clad waitresses."

This show marked the final installment of Sammy Hagar and the Waboritas' three-night engagement at The Fillmore, and wow oh wow, was it mighty special! I can't comment on the previous two gigs because I wasn't there, but I have a feeling the best was saved for last, due to the fact the show offered a major surprise that duly added a pinch of excitement to an already electrifying performance.

Although Sammy Hagar, on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, is clearly the focal point of the package, it takes more than one individual to make a band produce magic, and The Waboritas command gobs of credit for their fervent musicianship. Comprised of lead guitarist Victor Johnson (some of you may remember him from The Bus Boys, who enjoyed a day in the sun at the dawn of the eighties), bassist Mona, keyboardist Jesse Harms and drummer David Lauser, The Waboritas are as tight as an aspirin bottle cap and they really know their stuff.

Playing with a strong personality such as Sammy is no easy chore, but here's a band that's capable of holding their own and aren't completely obscured by their front singer's magnetic presence. The Waboritas are confident, assured and sincere about what they're doing. Far too many bands are content to go blindly through the motions, but these folks are deep into the music and possess a chemistry that is convincingly faultless.

Covering nearly every aspect of Sammy's long and winding career, the set was split evenly between solo songs, material recorded with Van Halen and Waboritas tunes. The show kicked off to the riveting strains of "Red," ensued by further notable marvels like "Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy" and "Two Sides of Love." Charged with waves of thundering choruses and swarms of squealing riffs, the eager beaver crowd was treated to a flood of ear-shattering pop metal escapades that remain at the top of the game. To be sure, the bulk of Sammy's work veers toward the machismo cock rock end of the stick, but considering how extremely melodic and well arranged his anthems are, you're inclined to overlook the rather juvenile lyrics and simply savor the appeal of the consistent energy bursting forth.

Having rocked the audience senseless, The Waboritas suddenly elected to exit the stage and were soon replaced by Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony and guitarist Kirk Hammett and drummer Lars Ulrich from Metallica. Sammy introduced his new band as High Maintenance before tearing into a handful of old Montrose numbers that included "Rock The Nation," "Space Station #5," "Bad Motor Scooter" and "Rock Candy."

High Maintenance was truly devastating and were so loud and heavy that the whole room vibrated with intensity. For a moment there, it seemed as if the walls would cave in and the floor would crack wide open! What a glorious experience it was . . .

Following High Maintenance's fiery performance, The Waboritas rejoined Sammy and churned out a wicked version of Van Halen's "Let's Finish What We Started." Other banner cuts featured in the show were "There's Only One Way To Rock" and "High And Dry Again," while "I Can't Drive 55," which was re-titled "I Can't Drive 65," closed the blistering set. The Waboritas were determined to keep the fire burning after High Maintenance strutted their goods, and they succeed on all accounts.

Forever the party dude, Sammy created a festive atmosphere on stage, as he and his band members downed shots of Tequila, served by scantily-clad waitresses. Sammy was his usual animated self, acting sassy by peppering his conversation with swear words and lewd remarks that were just too purposely stupid to be offensive. He also frequently grabbed his crotch and danced his booty off to the hard rocking sounds that penetrated the club. Sammy is a great entertainer, yet he always puts the music first, which has arguably weathered the many trends that have come and gone in the thirty years he has been in the limelight.

The show as a nonstop barrel of fun, but then again, what else would you expect from a guy who cites Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere and The Raiders as a prime influence!

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