Van Halen

Thursday, May 24, Pepsi Center, 303-830-8497.

There's no shortage of purists who would argue that, even with David Lee Roth back fronting the band, the current version of Van Halen can't really be considered classic VH — not with Wolfie on bass in place of  Michael Anthony, whose trademark backing vocals are every bit as essential to the outfit's patent sound as Eddie Van Halen's fretwork and Alex Van Halen's timekeeping. But those people need to lighten up and put things in perspective: Whereas a great many bands of this vintage are touring with only one original member, here you have three bona fide American badasses playing the sounds they invented with the same vigor as when they first made them. Will Michael Anthony be missed? Most definitely. Is his absence enough to make you skip the show? Not by a long shot. What's more, Kool & the Gang are the openers. Uh-huh. Enough said. (Speaking of Kool & the Gang, stop by to read a full interview with the band.)

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