Review of St Paul Van Halen show Saturday night from StarTribune.com:
With High Kick And More, Van Halen Was Band Of Old
All eyes in Van Halenville were on St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center on Saturday night.
Eddie Van Halen and his namesake band — once again featuring original singer David Lee Roth — slinked into town under a cloud of speculation and rumors of stormy infighting.
The quartet unceremoniously canceled most of what’s left of its tour without explanation Thursday. St. Paul was the first of 14 dates left penciled in on the calendar, seemingly with an asterisk.
All the question marks quickly turned to exclamation points, though, as the band opened Saturday’s set with two of its wickedest classics, “Unchained” and “Runnin’ With the Devil,” and fans shouted expletives in approval. If there is behind-the-scenes drama going on, it only came out on stage as pent-up aggression.
The show’s first half was laden with some of the band’s heaviest tunes, also including “Everybody Wants Some,” “Somebody Get Me a Doctor” and the lesser-played “Romeo Delight.” As Eddie cranked out the solo in the latter tune, Diamond Dave cozied up to him and smiled as if they were best buds. At least they still make good bandmates.
With Alex Van Halen (Eddie’s brother) on drums, as always, and Wolfgang Van Halen (Eddie’s son) filling in again on bass as he did on a 2007 tour, the band sounded plenty tight and monstrous.
Roth sounded a little haggard but looked to be in good shape, too. He even pulled off one of his famous high kicks early on. It impressed fans and crew members alike — they re-showed the kick on the big screen in slow motion.
Review highlights from Kansas City Tuesday night from KansasCity.com:
Van Halen ignites Sprint Center crowd
If there is dysfunction and dissension in Camp Van Halen, it wasn’t evident Tuesday night.
A few days after it announced the postponement of dozens of shows on its tour, amid rumors that band members “hated each other,” according to Rolling Stone, Van Halen headlined a show at the Sprint Center. And everything appeared hunky-dory. There were plenty of smiles, hugs and even a kiss or two among the band during the two hour show, which was a rag-tag blend of sweet nostalgia, campy entertainment and arena-sized rock ’n’ roll.
In return, a crowd of more than 8,500 bestowed upon the band a steady shower of appreciation and unconditional love.
This is the second tour for this version of Van Halen, which features founding members David Lee Roth on vocals, brothers Eddie and Alex Van Halen on guitar and drums, and Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie’s son, on bass. He joined the band in 2007 for the Roth reunion tour, which came to the Sprint Center. Five years later, everyone is older, for better and worse.
There was a rumor flying around that Sammy Hagar, who replaced Roth in 1985, was in the Sprint Center on Tuesday. It sounds more like a hoax or a case of mistaken identity.
If Hagar had been in the house on Tuesday, however, he’d have realized that (a) everyone is getting along well enough to make it through a show every night; and (b) Roth is the guy most Van Halen fans prefer, by a long shot, despite the flaws in his game.
All that was most evident during the finale. As soon as the keyboard intro to “Jump” was piped in, the place went a little crazy. Eddie jumped around like his favorite team had just won the World Series and Roth looked like a guy taking a victory lap. By song’s end he was waving a checkered flag, standing in a blizzard of confetti. It was the perfect ending to an entertaining night, moral implied. Life’s too short for grudges and regrets. Might as well jump and dance while you still can.