February 8, 2012
The Van Halen reunion is in full swing. It’s goodbye to “Van Hagar,” even if the current incarnation isn’t entirely the band many of us grew up with: bassist Michael Anthony has been replaced by Ed’s son Wolfgang Van Halen, and rumor is, unceremoniously so.
Still, at the band’s hot-ticket rehearsal show last night at the Forum, it was pretty clear that the guys have been revitalized by making new music together; their latest, A Different Kind of Truth, is out. Last night’s hour-long show was considered a warm-up for their upcoming tour. Here are six reasons to think it should be a good one.
6. Diamond Dave Still Shines
Roth is a showman first and foremost; prancing about in be-jeweled jackets, metallic pants and flashy hats, he’s still extremely watchable. He may not be jumping like he used to, but he and his vocals remain robust.
5. The Father/Son Thing
Wolfgang may not possess the hesher heartthrob looks his dad had when he was his age, but he’s a solid bassist who seems to understand the show is about pops’ chops and Uncle Dave’s razzle dazzle. Seeing Ed and Wolfie jam together throughout the show is pretty sweet.
4. Alex Van Halen
Only a drummer of Alex’s caliber could hold his own next to the masterful shredding and audacious crooning of the rockgods up front. Alex’s rhythms are not only just as important to the Van Halen sound, they are the backbone. Last night, he slammed the point home.
Though the simplicity of the set design lets the band be the focal point — and recalls arena shows of yore — the band’s Jumbotron backdrops offer up some pretty cool and complimentary eye candy.
2. Eddie’s happy again!
Health problems and contentiousness with Roth and Hagar seemed to wear on the legendary guitarist over the years and his negativity threatened to overshadow his skills; remember those angry MTV interviews? But these days he’s grinning while riffing and noodling. And his solos are downright giddy.
1. The songs.
You will hear all the hits on this tour and if last night’s set was any indication, they will be integrated seemlessly with the new stuff. We thought the single “Tattoo” was catchy but super cheesy when we first heard it, but seeing it live, sandwiched between “Somebody Get Me A Doctor” and “Everybody Wants Some,” it came off pretty badass.