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Sammy Hagar & The Circle @ Morongo, Cabazon, CA (02.24.17)

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Sammy Hagar is considered by many to be one of the most influential rockers of all-time.  From his humble beginnings in Fontana, CA to super-stardom in his formidable years with VAN HALEN and beyond, Sammy is a true testament to what hard work and determination can do when faced what seemed like nonstop adversity from the moment he picked up his first guitar.  Where most would have bowed out to extreme pressure, Hagar thrived in its midst and became one of the most successful entertainers on the planet today.  On top of his heavyweight success as the Red Rocker, Sammy Hagar also became a formidable entrepreneur, writing several books AND developing a boutique tequila called Cabo Wabo.  In 2007 he sold 80% of his Cabo Wabo tequila business for a whopping $80M dollars and is currently developing a new brand of tequila, Santo Mezquila, with long-time friend and The Voice star, Adam Levine. 

On Friday March 24th, SAMMY HAGAR & THE CIRCLE took the stage at Morongo Casino and Resort in Cabazon, CA for what would end up being one of the most killer sets of the year.  Expectations were high for the sold-out crowd, many of which have followed Hagar throughout the years from his early days as front man of MONTROSE through VAN HALEN and beyond.  As lights dimmed, energy levels began to skyrocket as frenzied fans, known as Redheads, jumped out of their seat as the show was about to start.  Strobes flashed red and blue as guitarist Vic Johnson, bassist Michael Anthony, and drummer Jason Bonham all took their place on stage.  After a short prelude, Sammy Hagar joined the band center stage, grabs the mic and belts out that out that all-too familiar, “Hello Baby…!”  And at that moment, all bets were off in Cabazon as the band launched into 1981 anthem “There’s Only One Way to Rock”.  Based on Hagar’s energy and emotion, it was clear that Friday’s show was going to be one for the ages.

Over the next few hours, SAMMY HAGAR & THE CIRCLE mesmerized the Southern California crowd with a brilliant setlist comprised of classics spanning his accomplished 40+ year career as well several Led Zeppelin standards channeled through the magical sticks of drummer Jason Bonham (son of Zep’s late great John Bonham).  Standards such as “Rock Candy”, “I Can’t Drive 55”, and “Why Can’t This Be Love” were played with a reckless abandon that transported many back to their first experience with Sammy Hagar concert.  Hagar’s vocals were spot-on, and showed no signs of rust as he brilliantly maneuvered the 90-minute 15 song set.  In addition, performances by Anthony, Johnson, and Bonham were simply amazing.   Vic Johnson electrified the crowd with brilliant guitar work coupled with a kick-ass stage presence that left nothing on the table the entire show. Michael Anthony’s bass lines were sick, and his backing vocals were nothing short of brilliant (they transported me right back to his VAN HALEN days).  And finally, Mr. Jason Bonham.  This guy’s stick work is truly intoxicating and absolutely killed the entire show – his dad would definitely have been proud!  The evening ended with an amazing encore featuring two of my favorite songs, VAN HALEN’S “Dreams” and LED ZEPPELIN’S “Rock and Roll”.  You could tell from the look in Sammy’s eyes that he did not want the night to end, and he connected with as many fans as possible up until the last note was played.  SAMMY HAGAR & THE CIRCLE gave it their all in what many considered his hometown show and ultimately delivered a powerhouse set that left every fan in attendance wanting more.

If you have an opportunity to see SAMMY HAGAR & THE CIRCLE perform live in 2017, you will not be disappointed.  There are not many vocalists who can still bring energy and enthusiasm to the stage like Hagar can, and what’s even more amazing he’s doing it at nearly 70 years old!  The guy can flat-out sing and still puts twenty somethings to shame with his unique brand of In Your Face rock n’ roll that is rooted in a hard-work ethic unmatched in this day and age.  On top of that, he’s surrounded himself with an amazing band in Vic Johnson, Michael Anthony, and Jason Bonham.  Each are legendary musicians and along with Hagar complete The Circle. Until next time...

Stay Frosty and Rock On!


Set List:

“There’s Only One Way to Rock”
“Rock Candy”
“Good Times Bad Times”
“I Can’t Drive 55”

“Big Foot”
“Right Now” 
“Little White Lies”
“When the Levee Breaks” 
“Why Can’t This Be Love”

“Finish What Ya Started” 
“Heavy Metal”
“Mas Tequila”



“Rock and Roll”


Matthew Belter

Executive Editor - Long Beach

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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