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Van Halen -Deluxe 6 LP BOX Tokyo Dome In Concert and more

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The deluxe 6 vinyl box set collection featuring Tokyo Dome Live In Concert (4 vinyl set) and the newly remastered Van Halen and 1984 albums.

Tokyo Dome In Concert 2015
Van Halen didn't release a live album until 1993, by which time David Lee Roth had long since left the group. Tokyo Dome in Concert arrived some 22 years later, by which time Diamond Dave had returned to the fold and Michael Anthony had left, replaced by Eddie Van Halen's son Wolfgang. In other words, this isn't the dream double-live set of the fans dreams -- the original line-up captured in their 1977-1984 peak -- but rather a surprisingly muscular reunion. If Roth's voice isn't what it used to be, he still radiates charm -- he's always happy to be there, so you're happy to be there with him -- and having Van Halen tackle the group's classics underscores what a different band this incarnation actually is. Michael Anthony happily hugged the root note of a chord, anchoring the wild flourishes of Eddie and Alex, but Wolfgang follows his father and uncle into the breach, slapping and bouncing notes with maniacal energy. What this version lacks in muscle it makes up in dexterity, a shift that's not quite as subtle as it reads. All this activity turns Tokyo Dome in Concert into a marathon taken at the speed of a sprint -- no wonder David Lee Roth often seems breathless!

Van Halen 1978
If punk drove virtuosity from rock, Van Halen, with the flashy expertise of their debut LP, and as the stage-stealing support on Black Sabbath's Never Say Die tour, single-handedly revived it. Main focus was guitarist Edward Van Halen, with his grinning good looks and startlingly fast finger work. The chiming, swooping instrumental "Eruption", which he'd often perform spinning on his back, sent a new generation haring down to the guitar shops. This was hard rock as no-holds-barred entertainment. Drummer Alex Van Halen would play with his kit literally in flames. Strutting, super-athletic vocalist David Lee Roth produced sexy, seedy, streetwise lyrics since matched only by Axl Rose from Guns 'n' Roses, but also possessed a pop sensibility that made hits out of "Runnin' With The Devil" and their cover of "You Really Got Me". Glamorous, humorous, heavy but heavily melodic, Van Halen was the high-water mark for US rock.

At the time of its release, much of the fuss surrounding 1984 involved Van Halen's adoption of synthesizers on this, their sixth album -- a hoopla that was a bit of a red herring since the band had been layering in synths since their third album, Women and Children First. Those synths were either buried beneath guitars or used as texture, even on instrumentals where they were the main instrument, but here they were pushed to the forefront on "Jump," the album's first single and one of the chief reasons this became a blockbuster, crossing over to pop audiences Van Halen had flirted with before but had never quite won over. Of course, the mere addition of a synth wasn't enough to rope in fair-weather fans -- they needed pop hooks and pop songs, which 1984 had, most gloriously on the exuberant, timeless "Jump." There, the synths played a circular riff that wouldn't have sounded as overpowering on guitar, but the band didn't dispense with their signature monolithic, pulsating rock. Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony grounded the song, keeping it from floating to pop, and David Lee Roth simply exploded with boundless energy, making this seem rock & roll no matter how close it got to pop. And "Jump" was about as close as 1984 got to pop, as the other seven songs -- with the exception of "I'll Wait," which rides along on a synth riff as chilly as "Jump" is warm -- are heavy rock, capturing the same fiery band that's been performing with a brutal intensity since Women and Children First. But where those albums placed an emphasis on the band's attack, this places an emphasis on the songs, and they're uniformly terrific, the best set of original tunes Van Halen ever had. Surely, the anthems "Panama" and "Hot for Teacher" grab center stage -- how could they not, when the former is the band's signature sound elevated to performance art, with the latter being as lean and giddy, their one anthem that could be credibly covered by garage rockers? -- but "Top Jimmy," "Drop Dead Legs," and the dense yet funky closer, "House of Pain," are full-fledged songs, with great riffs and hooks in the guitars and vocals. It's the best showcase of Van Halen's instrumental prowess as a band, the best showcase for Diamond Dave's glorious shtick, the best showcase for their songwriting, just their flat-out best album overall. It's a shame that Roth left after this album, but maybe it's for the best, since there's no way Van Halen could have bettered this album with Dave around (and they didn't better it once Sammy joined, either).

Track listing:
Disc 1 to 4: Tokyo Dome Live In Concert
1. Unchained
2. Runnin' With The Devil
3. She's The Woman
4. I'm The One
5. Tattoo
6. Everybody Wants Some!!
7. Somebody Get Me A Dr!
8. China Town
9. Hear About It Later
10. (Oh) Pretty Woman
11. Me & You (Drum Solo)
12. You Really Got Me
13. Dance The Night Away 14. I'll Wait
15. Cradle Will Rock...
16. Hot For Teacher
17. Women In Love
18. Romeo Delight
19. Mean Street
20. Beautiful Girls
21. Ice Cream Man
22. Panama
23. Eruption (Guitar Solo)
24. Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love
25. Jump

Disc 5: Van Halen 1978
1. Runnin' With The Devil
2. Eruption
3. You Really Got Me
4. Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love
5. I'm The One
6. Jamie's Cryin'
7. Atomic Punk
8. Feel Your Love Tonight
9. Little Dreamer
10. Ice Cream Man
11. On Fire

Disc 6: 1984
1. 1984
2. Jump
3. Panama
4. Top Jimmy
5. Drop Dead Legs
6. Hot for Teacher
7. I'll Wait
8. Girl Gone Bad
9. House of Pain

Condition cover and vinyl: mint

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