MGF Reviews Sammy Hagar and the Wabos – Livin' It Up! Live in St. Louis

Sammy Hagar and the Wabos – Livin’ It Up! Live in St. Louis
Image Entertainment (6/19/07)
112 minutes (NR)

After 30-plus years in the industry, Sammy Hagar has earned the right to do whatever he wants. And what he wants to do is party. For any rock fans looking to join a party at the push of a button, look no further than Hagar’s latest DVD release, Livin’ It Up! Live in St. Louis..

This time around, Hagar’s brought his backing band The Wabos, along with special guest and former band mate, Michael Anthony (for half the show, at least).

Livin’ It Up! … is a nearly two-hour journey through Hagar’s career. It’s loud, it’s raucous, it’s a trip… but most of all, it’s loads of fun—for any rock fan.

From the early solo material (“I Can’t Drive 55”) to the later solo material (“Little White Lie”) to Van Halen (“Finish What You Started”) and even Montrose (“Rock Candy”), Hagar belts out all of his most-loved tracks, with minimum between-song banter, with a smile. He even throws in a couple of covers (“Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” and “Fight for your Right”) for good measure. There’s even a great bit with Hagar signing everything he can get his hands on for the fans in attendance. What better party host could you ask for?

The show is featured in widescreen, with a 5.0 digital-surround soundtrack. The colors are crisp and clean, and really pop once the sun starts to set during the show (the concert was held at an outdoor shed). Once the show is lit solely by stage lights and everything gets a little darker, there is hardly any compression artifacts. The sound is clear and balanced, with most of the band and vocals coming through the front speakers; the rears were mostly used for audience noise, but overall the mix made you feel like you were at the show, instead of watching it at home.

Overall, it’s a solid set from the Red Rocker. The Wabos are a serviceable backing band, although it seemed the mic on the bassist (Mona) was a little too loud. At times, she was pretty much overpowering Hagar and the music. Maybe that was one of the reasons the show seemed to really pick up once Anthony joined the show (and essentially replaced her on bass).

Of note were the fist-pumping opener “Mas Tequila” and “Right Now”, re-arranged to guitar because, as Hagar pointed out, there’s no keyboardist in the band. Guitarist Vic Johnson put an interesting spin on the familiar riff, though longtime fans may still miss Eddie Van Halen’s magic.

Extras include a handful of interviews with Hagar and the band, a scenic video and behind-the-scenes feature, and two music videos—one for “Sam I Am” (along with a making of…) and one for “Tropic of Capricorn”.

Rock fans can never go wrong with a Sammy Hagar release. This DVD is just a good-time party concert. There are a couple of things keeping this from being a perfect offering (backing vocals being too loud, a little light on the extras overall, a 5.1 surround mix maybe), but this DVD is what it is—a great sampling of what it’s like to see Sammy Hagar live.