Sammy Hagar & The Circle

Sammy Hagar & The Circle w/ George Thorogood and The Destroyers

Reviewed by Josilyn Wakkuri Libbert

The Crazy Times Tour’s Utah stop brought a night full of great music and fun for all in attendance! Sammy Hagar and The Circle, along with George Thorogood and The Destroyers, drew in a crowd of rock fans to USANA Amphitheater on Tuesday, August 30th. It was a hot night, but the concertgoers were ready to jam out to classic hits! 

George Thorogood and The Destroyers

George Thorogood and The Destroyers took the stage first. I was particularly excited for their set. I grew up listening to their music on nearly every road trip. They are one of my dad’s favorite bands! George kicked off the show with his classic opening line, “How Sweet It Is!”. They opened up with the song, “Rock Party,” which was the perfect song to get the night going! In every sense of the title, it definitely got the party started! I was immediately impressed by George’s performance. His voice was just as strong and clear as I remembered hearing it on CDs twenty odd years ago! The band was equally as talented and enhanced the whole set.

Some people were still making their way in during George’s first few songs. But he clearly had a good amount of the crowd there and ready for him! Super fans could be seen up and dancing in the crowd to every song. A person sitting next to me had even seen George four times prior to that show! There were a few times that George threw in, “Salt Lake City,” into the lyrics. Which of course really excited the crowd!

One of the songs he performed that night, “House Rent Blues / One Bourbon One Scotch One Beer,” started out with a story (The “House Rent Blues” portion) that is a somewhat comical bit that went on for a few minutes, which seems like quite the feat to memorize! It led smoothly into, “One Bourbon One Scotch One Beer.” All of the songs had parts where George and The Destroyers just jammed and seemed to have a great time doing so! He also sang a rocking cover of Hank William’s song, “Move It On Over”. Which was another fun one that had people up on their feet!

Before the final song, he thanked the fans in Utah for being such dedicated fans. That was met with lots of applause and cheering! The final song began following that, and the first few iconic notes of the hit song, “Bad to the Bone,” rang out through the amphitheater. The crowd went wild with excitement! The few people that had yet to get out of their seats shot up ready to rock out to that one! At one point of the song, he did another Utah specific lyric change. He said, “Make a Salt Lake City girl squeal,” instead of, “Make a young girl squeal,” and, again, the crowd loved that! George Thorogood and The Destroyers provided an incredible show. Once they were off the stage, people were singing their praises throughout the crowd saying things like, “Weren’t they great?” 

Sammy Hagar & The Circle

Up next was the legendary Sammy Hagar with his band called The Circle. Sammy not only has had an impressive career on his own, but also as David Lee Roth’s replacement in the band Van Halen. He started with, “Crazy Times,” and I could tell right off of the bat that this was going to be a fun show! I was totally amazed at Sammy’s energy level! I’m a third of his age, and I couldn’t even imagine running around, dancing, and jumping while singing in very warm temperatures like he did from the first song until the last!

The crowd was equally, if not more, in awe, and many of them followed suit with the dancing. As a lover of music and live music, there’s nothing better than watching people thoroughly enjoy seeing artists that they love, and USANA was filled with people who definitely loved Sammy and his music!

After the first song, Sammy said he hadn’t been to Salt Lake City in he didn’t know how long! He also said that he couldn’t believe how hot it was here when he got off of the airplane earlier that day. A few songs in, he sang songs like Van Halen’s, “Pound Cake,” and his song, “Three Lock Box.” It seemed like almost every person knew all of the words and were singing their hearts out! Following singing, “Top of the World,” Sammy said, “Top of the World? We ain’t too far from it!” referring to Utah’s higher elevation which he commented on a few times.

He played songs from other bands he was in, too, like, “Rock Candy,” from when he was with Montrose, and, “Mas Tequila,” from Sammy Hagar and the Wabos. Along with his energetic performance, his vocals were incredible too! He has such a powerful voice that didn’t falter on even the trickiest of segments!

Michael Anthony, the bassist in the band who was also the bassist and backing vocalist in Van Halen, gave an iconic performance of Van Halen’s song, “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘bout Love,” and dedicated it to the late Eddie Van Halen. That was a very touching moment amidst all of the crazy fun going on. Right after that song, they sang a great cover of, “Rock and Roll,” by Led Zeppelin which was a hit with the crowd! Jason Bonham, son of late Led Zeppelin drummer, John Bonham, is the drummer for The Circle. It was great to hear him and the band pay tribute to his legendary father.

A few songs later, someone tossed a jersey on stage that said, “Hagar 55” on the back. Sammy put it on and wore it for the entire performance of, “Why Can’t This Be Love.” When the song was over, he signed the jersey and gave it back to the person. What a special souvenir that would be! The audience was extra excited for, “I Can’t Drive 55,” which is another one of Sammy’s big hits! I had noticed many people wearing shirts throughout the night that referred to that song, so I was anticipating their reaction to that one!

Before we knew it, we were already at the encore. He finished out the night with Cabo Wabo a capella, which was pretty cool and very unique! Sammy Hagar and the Circle put on a high energy, talent filled show! It left people in awe of what they witnessed because they were that good! 

Both Sammy Hagar and the Circle and George Thorogood and the Destroyers provided a night of rock and roll lovers’ dreams at USANA Amphitheater! It’s a show that won’t soon be forgotten thanks to the performances of the band that created good times had by those in attendance!

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