Sammy Hagar still knows how to throw one heck of a beach party. It didn’t matter in this case that the “beach” was a muggy parking lot in the Detroit suburbs, thousands of miles from his typical home base in tropical Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Fans began congregating early in the day, laying out spreads of food, playing games (including cornhole) and often, just sitting around enjoying themselves as music from across Hagar’s career blasted out of stereos across the lot.

Backstage, the mood was no less festive. “I’m going to leave you guys here. Don’t steal my shit,” Hagar joked, following an interview. The former Van Halen singer’s wardrobe case was packed with red sneakers, and extras of his trademark aviator sunglasses: “Put these on, everybody looks cooler with shades,” he told UCR. “Trust me.” There were also plenty of on-brand T-shirts, particularly the one that said, “But First, Tequila.”

Hagar revealed that he'd been facing pushback from handlers about his idea to open with “Crazy Times,” the title track from the Circle’s forthcoming album of the same name. They suggested that Hagar place it in between a couple of Van Halen songs. “Fuck it, I’m going to open with it,” he said.

He did just that, not long after our conversation, as the second leg of the Circle’s ongoing tour with George Thorogood kicked off on Aug. 23. The track made its debut that night in front of a packed house at Pine Knob Music Theatre and served as a high-energy lead into the classic chaser of “There’s Only One Way to Rock” from 1982’s Standing Hampton. You can see a selection of photos from Hagar’s visit in the gallery below.

The rest of the evening was filled with a mixture of Van Halen and Hagar classics, as fans anticipate the forthcoming live debut of the Circle’s rendition of Elvis Costello’s “Pump It Up.” Hagar and the members of the band have been rehearsing it – and offered the audience a pre-recorded preview in the form of the video for the song, which played out at the end of the night.

Sammy Hagar and the Circle in Detroit, Aug. 23, 2022

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