First, it was on. Then, in a matter of weeks, it was off. Now, after more than a decade of rumors and misfires, it seems the long-awaited reunion of Van Halen with founding frontman David Lee Roth is back on. The group announced the dates for Van Halen’s first tour with Roth in 22 years on Monday morning in Los Angeles. Tickets for select dates will go on sale Saturday.
Whether the group holds together long enough to begin — let alone complete — the tour in September is another matter, as relations between Roth and the other bandmembers have been problematic for decades (see “Eddie Van Halen Says Reunion With David Lee Roth For Tour Is ’Pure Magic’ “ and “Van Halen Reunion Tour Might Not Happen After All” ).
Regardless, the date has been set: On September 27 in Charlotte, North Carolina, the band — Roth, guitarist Eddie Van Halen, drummer Alex Van Halen, and Eddie’s 16-year-old son Wolfgang in the place of founding bassist Michael Anthony — is scheduled to launch the opening leg of its North American run. So far, 25 dates have been booked, running through December 11 in Calgary, Alberta; the tour will make stops in Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and San Diego.
The band emerged during a press conference on Monday as one of their biggest hits, 1984’s “Jump,” played loudly. “This is not a reunion, this is a new band,” said Roth. “Usually, when a band comes back like us, it’s rockers with walkers. You don’t want to see the same old band, like U2 with the mullets. You want to see something exciting.”
The members also added that they had been rehearsing for four months before announcing the tour, and said the reunion will be permanent — not a one-shot deal, like this year’s Police reunion, they said.
The 25-song setlist for the tour was chosen by Wolfgang, the bandmembers said. Fans noted the presence of Valerie Bertinelli, Eddie’s ex-wife and Wolfgang’s mother, in the crowd at the press conference.
The bandmembers also said that they’re planning to release a new album in the not-too-distant future but provided no details about when it will be recorded or released.
Roth either quit the band or was fired in 1985. Van Halen carried on first with singer Sammy Hagar and later with Gary Cherone. Roth released several solo albums before pursuing a career as an EMT and, later, as shock jock Howard Stern’s very unsuccessful replacement at New York’s K-Rock; his time on the air didn’t even last four months (see “David Lee Roth Reportedly Being Replaced By Opie & Anthony” ).
After Hagar left Van Halen in 1996, there was a semi-reunion with Roth, which began with the recording of two tracks that later appeared on the band’s 1996 Greatest Hits set. That reunion was short-lived, ending after an appearance on the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards.
Then, in early 2006, Roth began saying in interviews that a reunion was “inevitable” and all signs pointed to a full-fledged tour for the summer of 2007 — which now, belatedly, is back on track.
Van Halen tour dates, according to the band’s publicist:
»9/27 — Charlotte, NC @ Bobcats Arena
»9/29 — Greensboro, NC @ Coliseum
»10/1 — Philadelphia, PA @ Wachovia Center
»10/7 — Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre
»10/10 — Cleveland, OH @ Quicken Loans Arena
»10/14 — Indianapolis, IN @ Conseco Fieldhouse
»10/16 — Chicago, IL @ Allstate Arena
»10/18 — Chicago, IL @ United Center
»10/22 — Auburn Hills, MI @ Palace of Auburn Hills
»10/24 — Minneapolis, MN @ Target Center
»10/26 — Kansas City, MO @ Sprint Center
»10/28 — St. Louis, MO @ Scottrade Center
»10/30 — Boston, MA @ TD Banknorth Garden
»11/3 — East Rutherford, NJ @ Continental Airlines Arena
»11/13 — New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden
»11/20 — Los Angeles, CA @ Staples Center
»11/23 — Glendale, AZ @ Jobing.com Arena
»11/25 — San Diego, CA @ Cox Arena
»11/27 — Sacramento, CA @ Arco Arena
»11/29 — San Jose, CA @ HP Pavilion
»12/1 — Portland, OR @ Rose Garden
»12/3 — Seattle, WA @ Key Arena
»12/5 — Vancouver @ GM Place
»12/9 — Edmonton, AB @ Rexall Palace
»12/11 — Calgary, AB @ Pengrowth Saddledome