Slouching toward Cabo

There are is lot of vinyl in the crates and on the shelves behind me. There are not, however, any Sammy Hagar records.

OK, there is the Montrose record we listened to in Jerry’s basement all those years ago. And I do have a review copy of his last solo CD, released three years ago. But otherwise no solo Sammy Hagar, no Van Hagar, no Chickenfoot.

Even so, Sammy Hagar is one of my favorite live acts. I dig the energy and irreverence he brings to his shows, which are parties in themselves. It’s a bit like a Jimmy Buffett show cranked up … and more irreverent.

This week, those of us who dig the so-called Red Rocker had a little treat. Hagar’s birthday was Oct. 13. He’s 64 and seemingly has the energy of a 24-year-old.

He treated the faithful to live streaming video of four birthday shows from his Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. There weren’t many of us watching on the nights I caught them, maybe 1,200 the first night and maybe 1,000 the third night, but it was something to see and hear.

They used one camera, pointed directly at the stage. They let it rip — visually unpolished and unedited — as Hagar, bass player Michael Anthony and a host of celebrity guests gleefully tore through tunes from all the groups Hagar has been in, plus Led Zeppelin and the Beastie Boys among the covers.

Think about that. Here’s one of your faves having a party with his friends, jamming in a little club, and you’re invited. Watch the streaming video and chat with other fans online if so inclined. Nice.

I’ll probably never make it to Cabo for one of those birthday bashes. I’m neither young enough nor cool enough for the room, nor could I drink enough for the room. So having Sammy’s party streamed all the way to Wisconsin was a nice way to enjoy it vicariously.

So why don’t more acts do this? I’m guessing Reason No. 1 is they don’t want to give away the product.

Somehow, I doubt Mr. Hagar was in any way shortchanged by streaming four shows in real time. That club looked plenty full every night. Nor do I think streaming those shows will cut into his record or merchandise sales in any way. Hagar may be on to something, not that anyone will follow his lead.

This is a little bit of what it was like.

“Dreams/Cabo,” Sammy Hagar, from “Cosmic Universal Fashion,” 2008. It’s a live cut from the 2007 birthday bash in Cabo.

Here’s what he says about this cut on the liner notes:

“We record shows all the time, but the audience in Cabo at the Cantina during the Birthday Bash is a very special crowd. This was ‘07 so if you were there then that’s you singing on Dreams and Cabo. If you go there once you’ll be there twice …”

The latter holds true for his live shows. Trust me.

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Filed under October 2011, Sounds

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