No. 22

April 01, 2015

After decades of rumors and buzz surrounding David Lee Roth rejoining his former band mates in Van Halen for touring and a new album, it finally happened back in 2011. It was not the first reunion for Roth who rejoined the band briefly in 1996 when the band appeared on the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards fueling a reunion speculation. That reunion never happened however as Eddie Van Halen would later state that Roth's antics on stage were an embarrassment. Roth was initially replaced with singer Sammy Hager and the band had a run of number one albums between 1986-1996. The band was then led by singer Gary Cherone from the band Extreme from 1996-1999 during a period of decline in the bands popularity. After a hiatus of four years between 1999-2003, Van Halen briefly reunited again with singer Sammy Hager from 2003-2005, followed by a second reunion attempt with David Lee Roth from 2006-2008. Roth toured with Van Halen starting near the end of 2007 but the tour was interrupted in 2008 by tensions within the band and Eddie Van Halen's need to re-enter a rehab facility for his alcoholism. It was during this time that bassist Michael Anthony left Van Halen and began touring with Hager. Since 2009, Eddie Van Halen had to undergo surgeries first in his hand for arthritis and then for diverticulitis in 2013. Without Michael Anthony, Eddie's son Wolfgang Van Halen joined the band as bassist. Again there were draw out rumors of Roth's return to the band for another round, leading to a studio album titled A Different Kind of Truth in 2012 and a handful of dates outside of the US in 2013. In February 2015, Van Halen fansite announced that Van Halen would be releasing their first ever live album with original vocalist David Lee Roth, Tokyo Dome Live in Concert on March 31, 2015. It was also reported that the band would be releasing newly remastered versions of their 1978 debut and 1984 on CD, digital, and vinyl.

In support of their first live album Tokyo Dome Live In Concert, Van Halen appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel Show where on March 30, 2015 they shut down Hollywood Boulevard to perform live on the broadcast. After 40 years, it was the first live appearance on TV for Van Halen fronted by David Lee Roth. Hollywood was invaded as over 5,000 diehard Van Halen fans overtook the boulevard for the performance. I'll be the first to admit that I have been crazed for years now, wanting to see a Roth reunion with Van Halen. Their performance on Kimmel was however not what I was hoping it would be. I think its important to note that the band looked healthy. Eddie Van Halen looked the best he has in years and he rocked out. Despite the decent performance by Wolfgang Van Halen, for many diehard fans the band still isn't the same with the absence of bassist Michael Anthony. If you could get past that, the band sounded rather tight and seemed ready to launch their new tour in the summer of 2015. Then there is David Lee Roth whose performance can only be described as far from bring up to par. He took the stage swinging his mic stand and busted his nose. The band had to stop and restart, the wound later required dozens of stitches. Roth attempted to gyrate like he once did in his youth, it at times seemed awkward. Nothing however can be compared to his vocal performance. Okay, in trying to cut Roth some slack, he is in his 60's now and one cannot expect that he would be able to deliver the screeching shrieks he made famous in his youth or pull off the martial art high kicks of his earlier stage antics. It was much more than this though. Roth's vocals were out of pitch, off-timed, and excruciating to listen through. This is no Roth we expected to see, nor wanted to see. Vocally he is done. He is little more than a center piece for diehard fans hoping to relive their glory days. Its actually a shame. Well at least in the studio he stands to have some hope with technology today sporting autotune and other methods of timing perfection. Long live Van Halen. Check out their performance below and draw your own conclusions.

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