4 Unforgettable Moments from David Lee Roth's Las Vegas Residency Kick-Off

David Lee Roth
Christopher Devargas

David Lee Roth performs at the House Of Blues Las Vegas on Jan 8, 2020.

When 65-year-old “Diamond” David Lee Roth took the stage at the House of Blues inside Mandalay Bay on Jan. 8 to launch his Rocks Vegas residency, it was anyone’s guess what would go down.

The notoriously outspoken rambling rocker is prone to rants, non sequiturs like “my inner child is Edward James Olmos” and unabashed peacocking, which his fans both love and love to hate. In this realm, he did not disappoint. The show was a series of, “Oh my god, what is going to happen next,” moments.

See below for four never-to-be-erased-from-our-memory moments from this gloriously enjoyable train wreck.

He wears an Elvis wig

Popping on stage in a bedazzled leather jacket that resembled one of Elvis’ famous jumpsuits was just the warm up. Three songs in, during Van Halen?’s “Unchained,” Roth decided to throw on a pompadour wig and give a shout out to the King on what would have been his 85th birthday. Only time will tell if this moment will remain a permanent part of the show or is just one of the many “surprises” Roth promised the audience.

Speaking of surprises... 

Conveying how much he loves spontaneity, Roth told the audience that no two shows of his residency would be the same. Backing this up, the initial setlist, which included “Running with the Devil” and “Ice Cream Man” was cut down to a concise 13 songs after the show started. The final show included his own work like “Just Like Paradise,” his covers such as “Just a Gigolo” and “California Girls,” other people’s songs like The Kinks “You Really Got Me,” and Van Halen hits such as “Jump” and “Panama.”

He forgot some lyrics onstage

In one particularly cringey moment, Roth forgot the words to his cover of The Beach Boys' “California Girls.” He acknowledged it and we all moved on, reluctantly. Perhaps this faux pas was related to the fact that he told the audience he has been “plant-based since 1970” while giving a shout out to Las Vegas’ Costco of weed, the Planet 13 dispensary.

David Lee Roth loves to tell long stories

Instead of Rocks Vegas, this residency could easily be renamed “Storytime with DLR.” The set list was punctuated by epic tales of his youth in Detroit and also his early days with Van Halen as they hosted illegal wet T-shirt contests at a Van Nuys Boulevard nightclub. He also gave a demonstration of the four “rocker” walks that every star should know including the Frankenstein, the Curb Step, the Basketball and the Early Release. All good to know fun facts.

 The show goes on January 10-11 and then returns March 18, 20, 21, 25, 27 and 28.