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On November 2, 2013, Completely Unchained, a tribute band for Van Halen, rocked the Tioga Downs Casino with two shows, concentrating on Van Halen hits from 1978 to 1984 (the David Lee Roth years). The band consists of Gene Henriksen (David Lee Roth), Johnny Roggio (Edward Van Halen), Kevin Humphries, (Michael Anthony), and George Pagonis (Alex Van Halen). Though the Completely Unchained band members represent various Van Halen band members, it is Henriksen who steals the show as Diamond Dave.
Henriksen mimics David Lee Roth in appearance with his shoulder-length blond locks, sunglasses, and tight pants, but his vocal replicated David Lee Roth's screams as well. A third of the way through the set, Henriksen removed his shimmering shirt to show the extra work he puts into being David Lee Roth - his six pack abs and chiseled chest. "The first time I heard 'Running with the Devil' on the radio," Henriksen said in an interview with Gary James, "I pulled over and I was like 'Who's this?' You never heard that kind of guitar playing back then.
I mean, you had your Aerosmith, and you had your Rolling Stones and you had your Led Zeppelin and you had your Queen, but you never had a guy who shredded like that on guitar. When you first heard and David Lee Roth back then, when his voice was nice and clean and that and he had all the screams and all the harmonies, and they just had really big, good songs. I was just blown away. I've loved them ever since." Henriksen belted out the early bluesy hits with Roth's gritty voice and humorous sarcasm and matched personality for personality with Diamond Dave on "Unchained," "Top of the World," "The Cradle Will Rock," and "Beautiful Girls." But most Van Halen fans remember "Hot for Teacher," "Panama," and "Jump" the most, which the band aced.
Johnny Roggio on lead guitar did not really look like Eddie Van Halen as much as he resembled Eddie with the classic red guitar with white and black strips. However, his guitar playing reminded fans of Eddie Van Halen, especially during their final song (Panama) when, on an extended solo, he slipped into Michael Jackson's "Beat It," which Eddie Van Halen helped on the Gloved One's Thriller album. Kevin Humphris played bass like Michael Anthony, but seemed to have much more energy.
Humphris also added vocals for the group when Completely Unchained played two songs from the Van-Hagar era when Sammy Hagar replaced Roth as lead singer. George Pagonis played drums and in no way resembled Alex Van Halen in appearance, but fans would probably agree it would be more important to bang out those licks from "Hot for Teacher" like Alex than look like him. Completely Unchained does not copy Van Halen. They prefer to say that they match the energy Van Halen had in their early years.
"We do Van Halen music, we do it great," said Henriksen in an Advertiser-Tribune article, "we act like them, but we're not Van Halen. We put our own spin on it, but it's still like you're at a Van Halen show…We're just over the top. It's completely 100-percent pure energy and adrenaline, and it's a lot of fun. Also, I could be a comedian for two minutes." Completely Unchained was fun and friendly. They even came out after the show and talked with the audience.
This concert was a must see for tribute band aficionado, Van Halen fans, and rock 'n' roll fans. Tioga Downs, in Nichols, New York, has a reputation of bringing in tribute bands to be seen in a small venue. Tickets usually range in the $15-$20 range, with Completely Unchained costing just $15 a ticket. Past tribute bands include 52nd Street (Billy Joel), Tequila Sunrise (The Eagles), The B-Street Band (Bruce Springsteen) and TUSK (Fleetwood Mac).
Additionally, there are fruit smoothie slots - slotoff.com, to play and Coasters Bar with many large screen televisions for viewing games before and after the show. They also have food and drink specials.