If there was a song or jingle like “99 Bottles of Beer,” which was pinned to sing on long road trips, I’m sure I would have sat in every seat at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena belting the lyrics out while counting down to a Van Halen reunion tour, avec David Lee Roth. It's now official: On June 14, Van Halen will perform at the Viejas Arena with Kool and the Gang.
San Diegans, we’re pretty darn lucky as most bands of this caliber bypass our “midsize” venues for multiple dates in LA at the Staples Center. The 2007 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees are music legends, branding their sound, lyrics and eclectic live shows into a musical time capsule ready for fruition.
Although the band formed in 1972 and recorded the albums Van Halen, Van Halen II, Women and Children First and two additional titles, it wasn't untli the album 1984 that Van Halen became a household name. Hits including “Panama,” “Jump” and “Hot for Teacher,” controlled the airwaves and saw heavy rotation on MTV. The Pasadena-based band dominated the '80s with its hard rock and heavy metal output. The fighting began, though, and Roth left the band and focused on his solo career. Disheartening, but not a total disaster" Roth fared as well as most frontmen do, and fans were given “California Girls” and “Just a Gigolo” to pacify their pain.
Enter the Hagar: Sammy Hagar and the 5150 album, which gave the new Van Halen their first No. 1 album debut on the Billboard chart. Notable tracks included “Why Can’t This Be Love,” “Love Walks In” and “Dreams.” Van Halen soon won their first Grammy Award (1992), and the band continued its success. After a few more merry-go-rounds with Hagar, and the returning Roth (and a stint with Gary Cherone) as lead singers, it's Roth who will be fronting the band Van Halen’s 2012 A Different Kind of Truth album tour.
I can’t wrap my head around the decision to have Kool & the Gang as openers for most of the Van Halen tour. The R&B, disco and jazz group had a prominent hit with “Cherish” in 1980 and "Celebration" in 1985. A fine group with impressive instrmentation, I'll attribute their selection as an acquired taste as the reason for the choice; the pairing is baffling