I can’t tell you how many articles I’ve already read in the first few weeks of 2012 promoting this year’s most anticipated tours. And truth be told, they’ve all pretty much been the same: lists of 10-12 big-name acts with lengthy legacies who are looking to pad their retirement funds through sickeningly high ticket prices (think Madonna and The Rolling Stones). Van Halen is on a great many of these lists. The band fits the above criteria to a T, but the potential for a train wreck at any point in time may be worth the price of admission alone. The Van Halen situation is a little, um, different, shall we say, as their noteworthy reunion took place more than five years ago. That’s when David Lee Roth and Eddie and Alex Van Halen made amends for a North American tour, playing songs exclusively from Van Halen’s six albums between 1978 and 1984. Oh, and there was also the matter of original bassist Michael Anthony being replaced by Eddie Van Halen’s under-aged son, Wolfgang.
Now, for 2012, the same group returns, this time with the twist of a new album, A Different Kind of Truth. Wolfie’s closer to the legal drinking age in the U.S.; it’s as low as 18 years old in some Canadian provinces, which may explain why 7 out of 45 scheduled shows so far are in the Great White North. All joking aside, there is a wealth of material from the “Diamond Dave” era that this current incarnation of Van Halen should consider digging up as they rehearse for the tour opener on February 20th in Louisville, KY. And I apologize in advance for the shoddy quality of some of these videos. It’s a shame YouTube wasn’t around when Van Halen was in its prime.