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Cinderella, Extreme outshine 'Diamond Dave'


It must be hard for David Lee Roth to accept what has become of his career.

Once the leader of the greatest post-Led Zeppelin rock 'n' roll band in the world -- Van Halen -- Roth has now been relegated to the musical B-team and is even being upstaged in the minor leagues by upstarts like Cinderella and Extreme, who opened his show last night at Merriweather Post Pavilion.

Last night's effort from "Diamond Dave" was nothing short of pathetic.

Roth gave his solo music and the hallowed classics of Van Halen such poor readings that it was easy to believe he would stop halfway through the show and say it was all a bad joke.

But in songs like "Unchained," "Panama" and "Ain't Talkin' Bout Love," the joke was on us, as he skipped lines, omitted words and, quite frankly, just didn't sing. In two songs, his "Just Like Paradise" and Halen's "Jump," he forgot many of the words.

What he probably could have used was Sammy Hagar to bail him out.

What makes it all the more disappointing is that Roth was backed by his most impressive outfit yet in the three trips on the road since leaving Van Halen in 1986.

Led by longtime drummer Gregg Bissonette and hotshot guitarist Jason Becker, the five-man unit mimicked early Van Halen music and harmonies with uncanny perfection.

Every element was in place for a terrific show. Everything except the Roth from 1978.

The only saving grace of his portion of the show was "Beautiful Girls." He still didn't sing the harmonies, but at least capably ad-libbed the speaking parts, which he failed to do in "Panama" and "Hot for Teacher."

At least prior to the Dave debacle, Cinderella and Extreme were quite entertaining and made the show more than worthwhile.

Extreme played a 40-minute set, garnering more crowd participation and approval for its recent No. 1 song "More Than Words" than anything else did all evening. And that came at 6:15 so many of the fans hadn't even made their way into the show yet.

Extreme was very good, but it was Cinderella who provided the biggest surprise of the show. Its 80-minute, 15-song romp weaved blues, metal and melody into one of the most impressive rock sets of the year.

No longer content to rely on hair spray and makeup, the band has made great strides since the last time they opened for Roth in 1986, adding a keyboardist, a saxophone player and a pair of wonderful backup vocalists, who added just the right touch even on old metal songs like "Shake Me" and "Night Songs."

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