Van Halen 2015


Sure, the year isn’t over, but the tour is, so I thought I’d jot down some thoughts about what our favorite band brought us in 2015.

Tokyo Dome Live
I think we all would have preferred a new studio album and it’s been discussed why they apparently could not do that (schedules?), but the main school of thought is that any product is better than no product, right? But then there’s the product itself, and there were certainly some observations about the quality of vocals on there – and the fact that it was released a couple of years after it occurred (a lot of us had the Smash Up The Typhoon bootleg). Should there have been a few touchups on there? How about some artwork or bonus features? I don’t want to take us down that road again, but I honestly haven’t played it all that much – not like 2012’s A Different Kind Of Truth. Maybe we all felt a bit let down after the rumors of a big ‘project’ came out. Overall I’d grade the release a ‘Meh’.

2015 Tour
I saw them in Bristow, VA (just outside of DC) in late August and it was a great show. The vast majority of videos on YouTube were really good, too. I think more than a few of us were a bit worried after the TV appearances (Dance The Night Away), but David Lee Roth seemed to get it together for the tour. Maybe he got wind of the feedback. And that band is hitting on all cylinders. Might have been the tightest show I’ve seen, although my friend commented that it’s because they (Ed and Wolfgang) pretty much just stand there and not running around like it’s 1982 allows them to play a lot more like the record. “He’s 60 – give him a break!” I responded. Anyway, great tour with a great setlist and I feel a little bad that they don’t take it to Europe. Adding Drop Dead Legs alone to the set made this tour an A.

Van Halen Rising
I’ve never had this level of anticipation for a VH-related publication before and Mr. Renoff’s book did not disappoint. I read it a 2 days and I’ll re-read it again really soon to let it really sink in. I cannot say enough about how much I enjoyed reading this book and looking at those old rare pics. And we also got 4 never-before-released Club Days tunes on YouTube. If you’re on this site, yet on the fence about this book (is that even possible?!?!), stop thinking and buy it. Thanks again Greg!!! A

Van Halen on TV
Getting on Kimmel, Ellen, and the Billboard Music Awards were all positive, even if there were a few notes that were off and the “hey let’s grab this random girl out of the audience for DTNA” shtick was only clever if this were 1986 and if both appearances weren’t nationally televised. It also made me realize that while I’m used to DLR and his antics, my 13-year-old daughter was taken aback with some of his moves, gestures, and the Nicki Minaj comment (I think ‘creepy’ and ‘awkward’ were her exact words), but she just doesn’t get it. Poor kids these days have THE WORST music to listen to… I’ll give them an A for effort and a B for performance.

Edward Van Halen
And we were all treated to EVH in the media. Sometimes he seems that he has it all together and is the respected elder statesman of guitar heroes that he deserves to be. And sometimes he reminds us that he’s killed a lot of brain cells. First, I enjoyed watching him discuss his life story at the Smithsonian – he deserves a Kennedy Center award in my book, and it was cool to hear that Kevin and his son got to meet him there. And another Guitar World cover story was fun. The interview in the Washington Times was a let down, only because he hinted at what we almost could have had (remastered WB demos) and seemed to stretch the truth a bit when saying the master reels couldn’t be found.

And then there’s the Billboard magazine interview EVH did blasting Michael Anthony. I use the word ‘blasted’ because that’s the word internet headlines used and because that’s what he did. I’m one of those fans that likes both versions of the band, but prefers the original classic – makers of the first 6 albums. That’s Ed, Al, Dave and Mike. And Mike. I’ve accepted his son being in this band and moved on, so I don’t get why he feels the need to trash Anthony at this point. Had he complemented his time in the band and said “hey, we moved on and I wish him well”, that could have given us an impression that, well, EVH has moved on, too. But my favorite guitar player of all time just goes out of his way every now and then to remind us (at least me) that he’s kind of an ass and I suppose he feels the need to promote his son by dissing the guy he replaced. And maybe he thinks fans that bring up Mike are whiners. So be it. Disappointing read though. I defend the original classic whenever and wherever – even when it’s EVH bashing the bass player. D

What’s Next?
So what’s still coming this year? Will we see a Wolfgang solo album? Will EVH play on some of it? Will it be awesome and the greatest thing since Fair Warning? Will EVH find new superlatives to sell his son and his work to us? Will we get a DVD from this tour? Will they head into studios (not together at the same time, of course) in 2016 to do a new album?

Last thought. Would it have killed anyone to bring Mike out at the last Hollywood Bowl show and let him get a nice hand and sit in on Runnin' With The Devil or Somebody Get Me A Doctor? I would be bursting with respect today had that happened. I know, I know, I said I’m past this. Just typing all this out made me think like that, I guess.