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Sammy Hagar: Livin' It Up in St. Louis (DVD)


Going to a live performance is one of the best ways to appreciate music. There's no substitute for it, and watching a DVD of a concert is, at best, a pale shadow. Things that make sense or seem right at the time—singing along, flicking the lighter, the index-and-little finger salute that means either "Rock on" or "I'm slinging a web"—look like the posturing of morons on tape. The magic just doesn't transfer.

That said, if you're going to watch a concert DVD, you'd have a hard time finding a better one than Livin' It Up in St. Louis. Recorded in 2006, it captures the glory that is Sammy Hagar, blowing through St. Louis with the Wabos, with some help from ex-Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony. Shot on digital video, it's the rare concert film that was edited by someone not on Ritalin. You can see every pore and shadow as Sammy rips through a mix of old and new, including a couple of interesting covers. Not only is the video clean, but also the sound mix is excellent, so much so that it highlights problems with the original concert mix (mainly the vocals).

Of course, your interest in this DVD will depend on your view of the Red Rocker, either performing his own stuff or Van Halen songs, as well as your view of the Sammy vs. Dave debate. The Red Rocker is still in fine form, growling and playing like a guy half his age. A concert DVD may be a poor substitute, but this one clearly shows what a blast Hagar live is.