Contrary to rumors that the famously volatile band isn't getting along, Roth said Van Halen is simply attempting to avoid exhaustion. "We bit off way more than we could chew, when it came to scheduling," Roth said. "The band is winning, but our schedule has been sidelined for unnecessary roughness."And if there was any lingering doubts, last night's performance at Staples Center certainly dispelled them. It was all smiles for two hours, plus a few hugs and kisses too. These guys were having a blast and it was genuine. Here's a clip of the opening number, "Unchained," from the band's fourth album, Fair Warning:
Now, I'm calling this guy either crazy or a Grinch, but Randall Roberts at the Los Angeles Times claimed the gig last night was a "lackluster" performance. I'm guessing this dude needed to pump out 1000 words of copy for newspaper's dead tree edition and decided to pad it with a heap of drivel.
Leo Howard, who plays "Jack" on Disney's comedy series, "Kickin' It" (watched regularly in my household), gave a superlative review in 140 characters on Twitter:
My mind is officially blown!!! VAN HALEN KILLED IT! @WolfVanHalen nailed it all, and @eddievanhalen was on fire! I'm still in shock!You can say that again.
— Leo Howard (@iamLeoHoward) June 2, 2012
To be fair, Roberts makes a good point about some missteps with the set list, and the Hollywood Reporter picks up on that as well at their otherwise excellent review, but it's extremely uncharitable to dismiss Van Halen in 2012 as a nice but low-charged bit of nostalgia:
Despite all the talent, and those songs, Friday night offered evidence that nostalgia by definition seldom moves a person forward, rarely satisfies in the long run, and can only sustain a certain number of concerts before weariness sets in.I'm going to disagree, and I'll bet most of the 20,000 fans at the sold-out arena would too. That place was on fire alright. If the band is indeed "getting along famously," I see no reason not to expect a long touring run and perhaps another trip or two to the studio. Roth, at 57, looks happy and healthy --- with plenty of trademark high kicks --- and Eddie Van Halen remains one of the world's premier guitarists. The Hollywood Reporter has the set list from last night. Eddie turned "Eruption" into a 9-minute guitar solo, and that was the lead-in to a smokin' rendition of "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love." And with "Jump" closing out the concert as the grand finale, complete with confetti and Roth waving a king-sized checkered flag, this was one homecoming that won't be easily forgotten.
If Van Halen makes it to your town when the tour kicks back up, do yourself a favor and catch the show. These guys still got it going on and how.