From The Sun Chronicle:
UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Believe it or not it has been 28 years since Van Halen came out with a studio album with flamboyant frontman David Lee Roth.
The hard rockers, who last month issued their 12th studio album and have reunited with Roth for the first time since 2007, took center stage at the Mohegan Sun Arena Saturday night for a stop on their reunion tour.
The band more than ever resembles a Van Halen group with pioneer guitarist Eddie Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang, 21 next week, having replaced Michael Anthony on bass and as backup singer. Eddie’s brother Alex remains on drums.
“A Different Kind of Truth” – the group’s first album in 14 years, and its first single, “Tattoo,” both have received favorable reviews and hit the top of the charts. A lot of the material stems from old demos.
Energizing the crowd starting off with 1981’s “Unchained” and “Runnin’ With the Devil” off the critically-acclaimed debut 1978 album, the third tune of the show was the new album’s second single, the intense “She’s the Woman” that featured one of the few Roth trademark kicks that found its way into the concert. “Tattoo” came one song later. But the focus this night was on the rockers long string of popular songs.
“Everybody Wants Some!!” off 1980’s “Women and Children First,” remains a concert staple. Ever the outrageous showman, Roth, 56, sported a white safari hat in reflection of the song’s drum-vocal introduction. Eddie Van Halen’s screaming guitar stood out as usual, and he dashed across the stage playing before jamming with his son.
“Somebody Get Me A Doctor” and the new heavy metal “China Town” continued the smashing sound.
A drum solo was sandwiched between the band’s two famous covers, Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman,” and The Kinks “You Really Got Me.”
“The Trouble with Never,” another new number, led into the group’s most catchy song and their first hit single, “Dance the Night Away” from their second album from 1979. As Roth twirled himself and his coat, the crowd sang along.
“Hot For Teacher” is from “1984,” Van Halen’s peak of commercial success and its last album with Roth before he went solo and was replaced with Sammy Hagar, and the snappy “Beautiful Girls” from Van Halen II epitomizes Roth’s playboy image.
Wearing one of his shiny outfits, the singer was on acoustic guitar for his “Ice Cream Man” cover.
After “Panama,” the still youthful-looking Eddie Van Halen, 57, played about a 10-minute sizzling solo, showing off his innovative guitar play, including his tapping technique and turning the volume control. Music critics consider Van Halen one of the most influential guitarists in rock history.
“Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” off the first album was kicking.
With no encore, the final song was their signature No. 1 song “Jump” from “1984” – an album that spent a year on the charts, reaching second place. Roth didn’t leap on stage as he did in the famous video, settling for waving a large black and white checkered flag to signal the show’s end, which also featured confetti shot on stage.
Pretty much all the hits with the exception of “Jamie’s Cryin'” and “And the Cradle Will Rock” made their way into the set list for a show that had most standing throughout.
The group had its origins in Southern California in 1973 where the Van Halen family with a musician father relocated to in 1967 from the Netherlands, and played the bar circuit for a few years. The Van Halen brothers actually started off playing each other’s instruments. Kiss’s Gene Simmons helped them get signed to a record deal.
Eddie Van Halen, who had been married to actress Valerie Bertinelli, who is Wolfgang’s mother, has suffered through bouts of alcoholism and cancer. The soft spoken Van Halen and Roth have long been among the oddest rock duos.