The reunion of David Lee Roth and the Van Halen family became official Monday as the re-formed Van Halen announced a 25-concert arena tour that begins Sept. 27 in Charlotte, N.C.
It is the first time in 22 years that Van Halen will tour with Roth as the band’s lead singer; it is not a full reunion of the original lineup of the hard rock pioneers, as Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang has replaced Michael Anthony as bassist. The last Van Halen reunion tour — in the summer of 2004 — featured Sammy Hagar on vocals.
Roth, flanked by Eddie, Wolfgang and Alex Van Halen, commandeered the press conference at the Four Seasons Hotel, playing standup comic, snake-oil salesman and politician in announcing that fans should “meet the band in the future not the pasture.”
“It’s not like the Police — we’re not going to do one tour,” Roth said near the end of the conference, by which time it was clear the band will not be playing any new material in the shows nor booking any studio time soon. “We’re all together with this. We have formed this like a brother team.”
Wolfgang Van Halen, the band agreed, picked the 25 songs that will constitute the show, which stops Nov. 3 at Continental Arena in East Rutherford, N.J., Nov. 13 at Madison Square Garden and Nov. 20 at Staples Center.
“It’s all the songs you have been hearing blasting out of the backs of pickup trucks at Burger King over the last 20 summers,” Roth announced, noting that the band’s catalog is as familiar as Beethoven’s Fifth. “This is a revision (of Van Halen) with hits as familiar as the roof of your mouth.”
Naturally, Roth and the Van Halen brothers said the band is better than ever.
The Van Halen tour, initially penciled in for the summer, was delayed after Eddie Van Halen went into rehab. There were questions whether the tour would ever happen, as previous discussions of a David Lee Roth-fronted Van Halen, which date back to 1996 when he sang on two new songs for a greatest hits album, never came to fruition. During Eddie Van Halen’s rehab stint, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, putting the kibosh on a reunion. Only Hagar and Anthony attended.
Van Halen recorded six albums with Roth, two of which, “Van Halen” and “1984,” have sold more than 10 million copies each. All were top-20 sellers and featured hits such as “Dance the Night Away,” “Oh, Pretty Woman,” “Jump” and “Panama.”
Roth, who had a decent solo career that began in the mid-1980s, has tried an array of methods to maintain his celebrity, including doing a talkradio stint in New York, appearing on “The Sopranos” and recording a bluegrass album of Van Halen tunes.