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Van Halen rocks packed AT&T Center

Hector Saldaña | MySanAntonio.com

The show: Van Halen at AT&T Center on Friday to promote its latest album, “A Different Kind of Truth,” the first with singer David Lee Roth since 1984. Kool & the Gang opened.

Attendance: More than 14,000; biggest show at AT&T Center this year.

First take: The San Antonio reunion stop took on added significance after word last month that Van Halen was abruptly postponing about 30 remaining concert dates. They’ll play only two more shows — Houston and New Orleans. The official reason given was fatigue. But Alex Van Halen’s rowdy ‘n’ rude drum intro certainly didn’t sound tired at all on opener “Unchained” — and neither did whammy-bar-god guitarist Eddie Van Halen, son Wolfgang on bass or the shimmying, crotch-grabbing Roth, who called it a “Texas-style opening.” A growled, sexy and impossibly tight “Runnin’ With the Devil” had fans on their feet.

A little later, Roth showed he’s lost none of his bad-boy attitude: “Is it too early in the night to make a booty call?” he joked. When a female fan responded that she was born in 1982, he boasted, “In 1982, I was a naked, sexy …”

Odd coupleThank David Lee Roth‘s sense of the absurd and showmanship for Kool & the Gang opening the show. The hits were undeniable and the classy band, which included original members Robert “Kool” BellRonald BellGeorge Brown and Dennis Thomas, kept things funky and gritty. Ronald Bell and Thomas, in particular, delivered soulful outlandish stabs on their saxophones. But “Ladies Night,” “Get Down on It” and “Celebration” simmered more than ignited with this crowd.

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