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Van Halen’s Houston Date

June 24 is the Houston date. From the looks of things on, any ticket under $100 is going to be along the back wall at the far end of the Toyota Center. Not that I'm ruling it out.

"New Tattoo" is the new thing. I can't say I'm overly impressed. But who goes to shows like this for the new material? Eddie Van Halen is still Eddie Freakin' Van Halen. Close your eyes and "Unchained" is still "Unchained."

Van Halen - Tattoo from Van Halen on Vimeo.

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The Club Circuit

» NY Times: Arena Rock, Well Preserved and Condensed

More on the "Van Halen is back" meme ...

As press briefings go, it rocked. On Thursday night, Van Halen took to the stage of the venerable Cafe Wha? on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village, capacity 250. “Last time I stood on a stage this low, we had to have the car back by midnight,” said the singer David Lee Roth. The objective was to prove Van Halen is alive and amicable for an arena tour that starts Feb. 18 in Louisville, Ky.,after the Feb. 7 release of a new album, “A Different Kind of Truth.” It’s to be Van Halen’s first full album with Mr. Roth as lead singer since the band fired him in 1985, although they have done previous reunion tours.

I'll definitely be picking up the new release ... and hoping that a decent concert ticket can be had for under $75.

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Aggre-blogging: The Post-Christmas Lull

Still slaving over pixels, demographics, and writing. I trust that your extended weekend was better. An abbreviated news roundup as the rest of the news world took a few days off.

» San Antonio Express-News: D.C. judges see Texas bias
Standard disclaimer: you’re just not following redistricting’s legal round properly unless you’re reading Michael Li’s blog. The DC Circuit court has spoken up on Texas Redistricting … and the early news is not good for the Texas GOP. There’s also some interesting tidbits in the court’s decision regarding coalition districts. It’ll be interesting to see what that means for the HD26/137/149 corridor in the Houston area. (Related: Michael has the Houston-area Organization of Chinese-Americans’ amicus brief posted for more reading on the treatment of those three districts.)

» Wash. Post: Code for America: An elegant solution for government IT problems (Vivek Wadhwa)
It sure would be great to have local government that saw value in something like this. Just sayin’.

» New Republic: The Mandate Miscalculation (Paul Starr)
» New Repubic: Was the Mandate a Mistake? (Jonathan Cohn)
Yeah, so I’m still with Paul Starr on this one. It’s arguable that the health care mandate cost Democrats their governing majority, although I’m also of the opinion that if Obama signed into law a mandate that we all like puppies, that would have served as a suitable substitute. Still … I think the puppy thing would have faded as an issue by now. Staking your political reputation as being a “BFD” on health care reform by forcing everyone to go buy health insurance, not so much.

» Economist: The faith (and doubts) of our fathers
I’ve always found it odd that the relatively modern “War on the Founders” was a necessary pre-condition to the Christian faith. That and creationism and forced prayer in school. Steven Waldman’s “Founding Faith” is a good enough rebuttal to the first while still noting the importance that Christian faith had in the founding.

» Demos: From Citizenship To Voting: Improving Registration For New Americans
Bookmarked for future reading.

» A bit of Greg Trivia for the few who might care: I’ve never seen Van Halen with David Lee Roth. I’ve seen Van Hagar and Van Cherone (which was a great live show, FWIW). I didn’t catch either the Sammy Reunion tour of 2004 or the first DLR Reunion tour of 2007. I did manage to take in the Sam & Dave show in 2002. Dave’s voice was shot and I left after his very horrible set. But the allure lives on. Still, I may have to entertain the idea of catching this version of the reunion for a while. At least until I see how expensive the tickets are.

Van Halen - Long Version Trailer from Van Halen on Vimeo.



Nobody ever said they were writing Shakespeare back in the day, but man were the guitar players better ...

A quick digression here: How good of a guitar player is Paul Gilbert? Consider the following guitarists who have had a significant and noticable impact on Eddie Van Halen (inarguably, the greatest of them all). Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page are Eddie's biggest, most obvious influences. The two-hand tapping bit is reportedly influenced by a one-off use of the technique by Page. Jimmi Hendrix is evident in any rock guitarist's playing. Alvin Lee of Ten Years After is pretty much the quintessential bridge between the arena rockers of the 60s/70s and the LA-bred speed shredders of the 80s, Eddie moreso than most. Each of those three are great guitarists who influence any of us who pick up a slab of wood with a few strings connected to it. But the solo of the above song by Mr. Big was the onset of Eddie Van Halen ripping the technique off for the song "Poundcake." That's right ... Paul Gilbert does something cool and innovative enough that Eddie Van Halen learns a new trick and updates his own bag of tricks. Wikipedia serves as my witness.

To my way of thinking, this is the equivalent to Whataburger being so good that they force McDonalds to create a "Texas burger." You know you're good when you accomplish something like that. And that, my friends, is what makes Paul Gilbert great.

Seriously, though. Mr. Big. House of Blues. Tuesday. All kinds of awesome!


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