The Joint at the Hard Rock, June 1

Photo by Erik Kabik

Photo by Erik Kabik

When your four decades in rock ’n’ roll include stints fronting three noteworthy bands with a successful solo career in between, you’ve banked quite a few memories. So it was only appropriate for Chickenfoot frontman Sammy Hagar, while introducing the pre-encore finale “Future in the Past,” to push life’s rewind button. With a video montage of his career rolling in the background, Hagar took to the mic and reminisced: “I’m the luckiest rock personality ever—ever! I got to play in Montrose. I had a great solo career, then 10 great years in Van Halen—the 10 best years of my life, by the way. And now, the ’Foot? Come on!”

The monologue was humble and heartfelt—vintage Hagar. Of course, considering he turns 65 in a few months, it would’ve been natural to conclude this also was his retirement speech. Natural … but wrong. And thankfully so, because in Chickenfoot, Hagar has found the fountain of youth—albeit with three 50-something teammates in guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani; the best background vocalist in rock history, bassist and longtime Van Halen buddy Michael Anthony; and a wickedly powerful drummer, Kenny Aronoff, subbing for Chad Smith (who is on tour with his first band, Red Hot Chili Peppers).

From start to finish, Chickenfoot was all smiles and energy, and performing as you might expect a seasoned group of musicians would. But it was the diminutive Hagar who stood tallest, if for no other reason than, with rare exceptions, he attempted—and hit—every note. In a time when most classic-rock singers 10 years his junior are their band’s weak onstage link, Hagar’s vocal range continues to defy Father Time (must be all the tequila).

After ripping through 13 songs from their first two albums, the band closed the night by reaching into Hagar’s time capsule and pulling out the hard-rocking Montrose classic “Rock Candy.” With that, the future had indeed met the past. And as the quartet (combined age: 235) took a final bow, the crowd responded with a standing ovation—proving that in rock ’n’ roll, as in life, you should always respect your elders. ★★★★☆

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