Same feeling here...I always thought the opposite. I couldn't wait for the next album to see what the new thing or lick was going to be. Every album he was doing something on the guitar he had not done on the previous albums. Until Van Hagar that is. For me each album release was like a new chapter of guitar lessons.
I guess if I went back and listened to everything now, I could see where it would all sound similar (not much progression). But at the time those small steps were huge to my ears.
Oh and btw, nailed it Rocco!