SAMMY HAGAR & THE CIRCLE - At Your Service (Review)

information persons: 
Produced By: 
Sammy Hagar & Vic Johnson
Release Date: 
Musical Style: 
Melodic Hard Rock
Release Year: 
As soon as this was announced we all knew they’d be comparisons. The timing of this release alongside the David Lee Roth fronted Van Halen release was ideal for hungry keyboard warriors across the globe to reignite the Dave vs Sammy argument for the 433rd time. But it is what it is, and because I’ve just reviewed the live VH album (better than expected) it’s fresh on my mind as to what it was missing there.
Hagar fans are going to love this. Van Hagar fans are going to love this. Dave Lee Roth/classic VH fans won’t – because it’s better than the Van Halen Live In Japan record. Ok, ok, I know it’s all down to personal taste, but I say that mainly because Sammy Hagar has a far superior vocal range and quality compared to David (no disrespect there, it just is) and Hagar also has the ability to draw upon 40 years of music, whereas Van Halen are boxed in to tackle tunes from just 79-84 and a few new cuts from 2012.
The band is shit hot – Vic does a great Eddie (but no one is better than EVH) and also gets to groove on licks written by Ronnie Montrose (when Hagar digs back to his origins with Montrose’s Rock Candy) and Jimmy Page (thanks to the inclusion of the nuclear Jason Bonham on drums).
The Zeppelin covers are handled with respect and authenticity, much like the Van Hagar catalogue.
Then there’s Mr Nice Guy Michael Anthony and his essential backing vocals and bass thumping.
Of the two eras, Whole Lotta Love, When The Levee Breaks and the iconic Rock N Roll are the highlights from the Led Zeppelin catalogue; while from the Van Halen list, its Poundcake, Why Can’t This Be Love and Right Now that impress most.
Throw is some Hagar solo classics like One Way To Rock, Little White Lie, Heavy Metal and of course I Can’t Drive 55 and you get a fantastic collection of infamous rock n roll brilliance.
The recording quality is probably above that of the Van Halen, the power in the mix is deafening at high volume and Hagar just sounds amazing.
And the acoustic Dreams that closes the album is far superior to that of the recently released Hagar/Johnson acoustic album.
If only there could be some new, truly great Hagar/Eddie Van Halen music, you know, something to wash down the taste left from the unfortunate Best Of Both Worlds compilation.