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Hagar, Sammy and The Wabos: Livin' It Up! in St. Louis (DVD)

If there were any lingering doubts that Sammy Hagar has become the R-rated Jimmy Buffet of hard rock, they've been laid to rest with this party of a DVD recorded during the summer of 2006 in front a raucous crowed and released a year later. Surrounded by risers filled with fans loaded on margaritas, bikini-clad "waitresses" who continuously bring Hagar some of his own Cabo Wabo tequila and an exuberant band that cannot possibly be having more fun, Hagar works the entire stage -- wearing banners, hats, shirts, necklaces and practically anything else the crowd tosses onstage. The opening song, "Mas Tequila," ends with Hagar swatting a giant piñata filled with confetti and streamers that would be considered over-the-top during any other concert's finale. But Sammy and the Wabos are just getting started. And it's all filmed so expertly that you can almost smell the joy of sweat, booze and sex.

Unlike David Lee Roth, who was nobody before Van Halen and went back to being nobody after Van Halen, Hagar had a pre-Van Halen career, and he seems to be having no problem finding happiness after Van Halen. Touring with his longtime band in support of his most recent CD, Livin' It Up!, Hagar plows through classic solo material, Montrose hits and Van Hagar gems (including a groovy, laid-back and guitar-heavy version of "Right Now") -- dropping some of the higher-sung notes but none of the enthusiasm he brought to these tunes decades ago. Bassist Michael Anthony, exiled from Van Halen, performs with Sammy and the Wabos for the final third of the concert. With such a deep catalog, it's questionable why Hagar felt the need to cover Bob Dylan ("Rainy Day Women #12 & 35"), The Staple Singers ("I'll Take You There") and the Beastie Boys ("Fight For Your Right"). But he almost makes up for those missteps with "The Girl Gets Around," an unexpected deep cut from the Footloose soundtrack.

Bonus footage includes individual interviews with Hagar and his very cool band, including short and knarly bassist Mona Gnader and tall and smooth guitarist Vic Johnson – who combine for what has to be the oddest-looking and most distinct background-vocals tandem in all of classic rock. In Hagar's 11-minute interview segment, he says he wants to be remembered for throwing the finest rock 'n' roll party ever and for giving people the time of their lives. I wasn't at this St. Louis gig, but I've seen Sammy live before. And he delivers, as this DVD so vividly proves.

Track Listing:
1) Mas Tequila
2) Mexico
3) There's Only One Way to Rock
4) Rainy Day Women #12 & 35
5) The Girl Gets Around
6) Rock Candy
7) I'll Fall In Love Again
8) I'll Take You There
9) Sam I Am
10) Little White Lie
11) I Can't Drive 55
12) Heavy Metal
13) Good Enough
14) Summer Nights
15) Right Now
16) Finish What Y Started
17) Best of Both Worlds
18) Fight For Your Right
19) Cabo Wabo

Added: November 15th 2008
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Sammy Hagar Web Site
Hits: 2015
Language: english

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