Van Halen cancels dates, but not in L.A.
When the happy fun buses that make up the reunited Van Halen tour roll into Southern California in early June, it may be a last opportunity fans have to catch the '70s metal giants on this tour. Dates on the band's summer tour, featuring the oft-feuding lineup of David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen and Alex Van Halen, as well as Eddie's son Wolfgang Van Halen, have been disappearing, canceled without so much as a statement from the band or any explanation from the promoter, Live Nation.
Tickets are no longer on sale for gigs beyond a July 26 date in New Orleans. All told, about 30 dates appear to have been dropped from the tour roster. There is some hope that this isn't the end for the band, as the only information offered by the promoter is that the tour dates have been "temporarily postponed." That's different than saying they're "permanently postponed."
Yet this trek felt perfunctory from the start. Yes, Van Halen can still, at this late stage in its career, be a powerful band. Live shows have been positively received as frill-free and energetically commanding, but new album "A Different Kind of Truth" hinted that this wasn't a band that had a real burning desire to continue to collaborate.
The songs, after all, were largely constructed and rejected 30 years ago. Roth earlier told The Times, "It's material that Eddie and I generated, literally, in 1975, 1976 and 1977."
Local fans can still travel back in time with the band. Concerts scheduled for June 1 and June 9 at the Staples Center are still, as of this moment, a go, and tickets are available. Speculation is that the tour is temporarily off due to in-fighting, as Rolling Stone quoted an unnamed source as saying, "The band is arguing like mad. They are fighting."
That's good news.
An earlier attempt at a reunion was axed due to Eddie Van Halen's health issues, and the guitar wizard has been understandably private when discussing his battles with cancer. However, a recent Esquire interview revealed that, after being declared cancer-free about 10 years ago, he had two recurrences in 2011. "I haven't talked about this, because I don't talk about this," he told Esquire.
The silence around the mysteriously disappearing tour dates would lead one to fear the worst, and representatives for the band and Live Nation did not respond to requests for comment. Yet Pop & Hiss' own anonymous sources close to Van Halen (the band and its pals certainly understand that rock 'n' roll is best with a little mystery) tell us that reports of squabbling are exaggerated.
The band, we're told, is in good health and its members simply realized they took on more dates than they could handle for their advanced ages. Or maybe, perhaps, it's just an elaborate ploy to sell out the remaining six weeks of shows?
Seats left over, however, aren't exactly worth grabbing. Two loge tickets will run you $330.20, and they even come gifted with a little fine print. These seats are "limited view." Then again, maybe it's worth it simply to hear these songs outside of their natural, strip-club habitat.
-- Todd Martens
Image: David Lee Roth, left, and Eddie Van Halen. Credit: Associated Press