Sammy Hagar and the Circle – At Your Service (Rating 4.5 out of 5)
We are calling our shot now. At Your Service will be the best live album of 2015, and it won’t even be close. In fact, this one might might be the best live album in the last five years, heck maybe in the last decade. With his band Chickenfoot on life support due to scheduling conflicts and creative differences around the viability and profitability of creating new music, Sammy Hagar has put together a new project that features the Red Rocker, original Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, Waboritas guitar player Vic Johnson, with Jason Bonham on drums, collectively known as The Circle.
For those that are prone to pick nits, a case could be made that since none of the songs on this album are originals from the band, then isn’t this nothing more than a covers record performed live? To that we say simply, listen to the damn record and get back to us. Pulling hit songs and obscure favorites from the back catalogs of each of the band members including Led Zeppelin, Van Hagar, Montrose, Chickenfoot, Sammy Hagar Solo, and the Waboritas, each song is a scorcher of a trip through memory lane with Sammy Hagar driving the magic bus.
If your scoring at home the set list includes songs from :
Sammy Hagar solo (4 songs), Montrose (1 song), Led Zeppelin (4 songs), Van Halen (6 songs), along with the obligatory solo runs from Jason Bonham and Michael Anthony. Old school kick-ass Rock & Roll at it’s finest.
The production value on these tunes taken from their 2014 tour is more than top notch, Hagar is in fine vocal form and sounds like Pavarotti compared to some recent cringe worthy canary performances from David Lee Roth on Van Halen’s latest live effort, and the entire set is delivered in Time Machine Hot Tub style.
There are highlights a plenty to savor here including “Rock Candy,” arguably the greatest Montrose song, a mind numbing, ear splitting version of “Good Times,Bad Times” where Bonham performs an eerily accurate drum intro, and “Right Now” with a soaring vocal turn that plants the flag firmly atop mount Hagar and bitch slaps the Red Rocker vs. Diamond Dave “who can still bring it” debate.
The combination of a group of stellar musicians with a chip on their shoulder and something to prove along with the sheer awesomeness of the material they have at their disposal makes for a combustible performance with each member seemingly at the top of their game. With Hagar acting as ring leader of this Rock and Roll circus everyone gets a chance to shine whether it’s belting out their own material or ripping into a solo. The future of his super group is still a bit unclear, the shelf live of these sort of projects is usually under one year, however word on the streets is that they are starting to work on their own songs, and that is a very good thing.