Concert Review: The Red Rocker, Sammy Hagar & the Circle at Artpark

What started as an overcast, chilly, maybe it might rain type of evening at Artpark ended up not being so bad.  The Sun eventually made an appearance later on.

I had a great seat in the little section that actually has seats.  A strange thing did happen at this point.  I looked around and thought “Man, there’s a lot of old people here”……..Then I realized that I was, in fact, one of said “old people”.  HOW did this happen?


Night Ranger came out first and went through their hits, as well as some from Damn Yankees as well.  Their musicianship and showmanship was fantastic, however vocally they left a lot to be desired.  Maybe it was just a bad night for them (that happens), or they couldn’t hear themselves (that happens a LOT).  Whatever it was, it was cringworthy in parts.  But what they lacked in vocals, they made up for in musicianship, and put on a great show nonetheless.

A short break to change the stage.

Sammy and The Circle came out a bit later.  They opened with a new song called “Trust Fund Baby” from a new album that was recently released.  The album is called Space Between. He played a few songs from it, and had cool videos playing behind the band during those songs that sort of told the story. I’m thinking the whole album is about greedy pigs judging from the videos.  If you have ever seen Pink Floyd or Roger Waters/David Gilmore solo, it was like that.

They hit through Sammy’s extensive 40 year music catalog going back to the Montrose days doing a ripping version of Rock Candy.  The band just ROCKED.  They rocked the whole set.  Vic Johnson, Lead Guitar, played in a chair all night cause he had previously fallen off a stage and broke his leg….sober!  Jason Bonham, son of Led Zeppelen drummer John Bonham, on drums had his own moment before the band tore into Led Zep’s Rock and Roll.  He spoke a bit about his Dad, and his own feelings about now touring with his childhood heroes.  No one ever cares about the bass player.  There are even jokes about it, for real.  The loudest applause of the night went to bass player Michael Anthony!  No kidding! SO many Van Halen fans 🙂  People went crazy when he came out! He put on a terrific show. He was on vocals quite a bit and it was nice to see him shine like that.  Sammy Hagar, The Red Rocker, 71 years old.  I can’t count how many times I have seen him, and there has never been a bad show.  That guy is just always ON, and his band is always on.  He is funny and gracious and a killer performer! Sammy was his usual self,  took stuff from the audience and signed it and handed it back.  One fan gave him a Sabres Jersey #55 with Hagar on the back.  He wore it for like 3 songs then signed it and gave it back! He even signed a few bras this time around LOL.  All the while just loving it.

Here’s a snippet of “I Can’t Drive 55”.  Notice the Ferrari on the video in the back.  That’s a Ferrari BB512i, he still owns this car (and MANY more).

Sammy Hagar grew up poor, and his family depended on food banks while he was growing up. Now, wherever he plays a show, he makes huge donations to the food bank in the area to give back. He encourages us all to do the same during “Right Now” from his Van Halen days.  I like knowing that part of my concert ticket money goes to feed the hungry.



All in all, great show!  We got to hear I Can’t Drive 55, 3 Lock Box, Finish What You Started, Heavy Metal, and even a Mighty Led Zeppelin cover, to boot!   It is refreshing to see a big name rocker do so much for the food pantries wherever he plays.

Next concert up for The Newsteader:  Bad Company August 20th    -JAP-

Categories: Concerts, Local News

3 replies »

  1. Why don’t you review Savannah King at Nickle City Frets Friday night?

  2. Cool. Savannah is awesome. She played a few songs from her desert journey last year as part of Nickel City Sessions. The hip kids all bought tickets for Saturday. Hope she sells out Friday too. Support organic music