TVD Live Shots: Sammy Hagar & The Circle with Andrew Hagar & The Midnight Suns at Agua Caliente Casino, 3/4

In front of a hometown, Santo-infused crowd, Sammy Hagar & The Circle rolled into Agua Caliente on Saturday night and set the place ablaze with an 18-song set that captured the pure essence of Hagar’s legendary 50+ year career. It was, to say the least, a masterclass in rock’n’roll courtesy of Hagar, Michael Anthony, Vic Johnson, and Jason Bonham. Each were in rare form and delivered what many Redheads considered their finest live performance in years. With no signs of slowing down any time soon, Sammy Hagar & The Circle proved once again to another sold-out crowd that “There’s only one way to rock!”

I’ve been following Sammy Hagar since I was a teenager. He’s a local legend in the Inland Empire (he’s a Fontana native) and has always gone out of his way to ensure his hometown fans are well taken care of. That said, I’ve seen him countless times over the years and have never (and I mean never) seen him phone in a show or bring less than 100% to a live performance. Saturday night was no exception, and in front of a sold-out arena at the Agua Caliente Casino, Sammy & The Circle brought the heat once again.

Opening up on Saturday night was Andrew Hagar & The Midnight Suns. While the name should sound familiar (yes—he’s Sammy’s son), this band is not a novelty act by any means. Instead, it’s a killer quartet comprised of insanely talented musicians: Andrew Hagar (vocals), Joey Ariemma (guitar), Gregg Cash (bass), and Devin “The Sack” Lebsack (drums) who live and breathe the very music they play. This high-octane crew is 100% bad-ass and whipped up the Palm Springs crowd into a frenzy with a killer eight-song set list compromised of new releases, some older original tunes, and even a few covers courtesy of Stone Temple Pilots and Alice in Chains. Their set alone was worth the price of admission, and am looking forward to how high their star will rise in the not-so-distant future.

Now on to the main attraction, Sammy Hagar & The Circle. From the moment that Hagar, Anthony, Johnson, and Bonham took the stage, it was like the gods rained down from heaven and blessed the masses with 100% unadulterated rock ’n’ roll goodness. Launching into “There’s Only One Way to Rock,” Redheads could tell that the show was going to be special—and it was. These cats went cover to cover with an unbridled energy that most bands in their 20s couldn’t keep up with. From Montrose to Sammy Hagar to Van Halen to the Wabo’s, there was something for everyone in their 18-song set—even a Led Zep Cover!

When the smoke finally settled and Sammy and the boys took their final curtain call, it was evident that this band is still firing on all cylinders with a unique fan-based stage presence that is second-to none. The show at Agua Caliente was truly a religious experience, heightened by the fact that this was another hometown performance for Hagar, a man who has dedicated his life to family, friends, and fans for over 50 incredible years. It’s amazing to watch this band continue to tweak, adjust, and evolve in the “Crazy Times’ we all live in. They are getting better with age and are offering no signs of slowing down any time soon. God bless Sammy, Michael, Vic, and Jason.


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