Wolfgang Van Halen + The Darkness’ Justin Hawkins Lead Blistering Van Halen Set at Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert
The Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert gave those watching an eclectic look at the music that the late Foo Fighters drummer loved, providing a number of highlights throughout the day. One of the most high energy and well received performances came from a group featuring Wolfgang Van Halen on guitar, Dave Grohl on bass, Josh Freese on drums and The Darkness' Justin Hawkins leading a Van Halen set.
The dynamic Hawkins was a perfect choice to front the performance, in his silver glittery suit, while providing a bit of David Lee Roth panache for the audience. Freese pounded away behind the kit, while Van Halen and Grohl seemed to enjoy the camaraderie of playing off each other live onstage. The drum kit actually paid tribute to another recently deceased musician, paying a nod of respect to Olivia Newton-John.
The set started with a high energy performance of Van Halen's "On Fire," before the crowd absolutely erupted upon hearing Freese's drums pounding out the opening beats to "Hot for Teacher." That also gave a proper showcase to Wolfgang Van Halen, who nimbly worked his guitar fretboard much like his father Eddie Van Halen once did. It was an electrifying two-song set that can be viewed as part of the currently ongoing (at press time) concert. Check out some of more emotional moments of their performance below.
The show included an opening emotional speech from Grohl, a Liam Gallagher set featuring "Rock 'n' Roll Star" and "Live Forever," an anecdote from comedian Dave Chappelle, a set of Bowie classics led by Josh Homme and Nile Rodgers, performances from Hawkins' side bands Chevy Metal and Coattail Riders, guest turns by Supergrass, Kesha and Them Crooked Vultures, a stellar Jeff Buckley performance with Violet Grohl on vocals and taped messages from Chad Smith and Elton John.
You can watch the ongoing show below.