Sammy Hagar returned to the stage May 23 for a performance with his band the Circle in Key West, Fla.
The Red Rocker remained active during the hiatus caused by COVID-19, regularly posting on social media and creating a series of streaming performances dubbed the Lockdown Sessions. Still, these activities couldn’t replace the special energy that comes with performing in front of an audience, and Hagar was clearly excited to celebrate the return of live music.
The May 23 set began with “There’s Only One Way to Rock,” Hagar’s signature hit from 1982’s Standing Hampton. From there the Circle made their way through tunes from throughout Hagar’s career, including solo material (“Three Lock Box,” “I Can’t Drive 55,” “Little White Lie”), Van Halen songs (“Good Enough,” “Top of the World,” “Right Now”) and even the occasional cover, like Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll.”
Watch Sammy Hagar and the Circle Perform ‘Right Now’ During Their May 23 Concert
After returning to the stage for an encore, Hagar mused that he promised he “wouldn’t get up here and give no speech” about the COVID-19 lockdown, “but I just wanna say it really is cool to see things opening up and getting back to normal.”
The Red Rocker then mentioned how the Lockdown Sessions were able to keep he and the Circle feeling “like a real rock and roll band,” even when they weren’t able to be together.
“We started feeling really, really grateful for those people that stayed on the money. The firemen, the policemen, the mailman, the grocery store attendant, the plumber that came to my house and fixed my fucking toilet during COVID,” Hagar continued. “Those people became kind of like the real heroes in life. Everybody’s got these heroes that are just bigger than life, well it seems like during 2020 some regular people stepped up and became heroes.”
From there, he and the Circle launched into a cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes,” their first time performing the song in concert. Video of the performance can be seen in the Facebook post below.
Roughly a year ago, Hagar made waves by saying concerts couldn’t wait for a COVID-19 vaccine before returning. “I would rather see everyone go back to work. If some of us have to sacrifice on that, okay. I will die for my children and my grandchildren to have a life anywhere close to the life that I had in this wonderful country and freedom,” he said at the time. Months later, Hagar clarified his stance, saying any return to touring would need to be “safe and responsible.”
The Circle will continue performing throughout Florida into June. Stops in Illinois, Idaho and Washington are scheduled in August.