WHO: Van Halen and Kool and the Gang.
PERFORMING: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan; 212-307-7171, ticketmaster.com or thegarden.com. $63.15 to $171.80.
ALSO PLAYING: 7:30 p.m. March 24 at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City. $41.25 to $171.30.
You can’t judge an album by its single.
That appears to be the consensus regarding “A Different Kind of Truth,” Van Halen’s first record with original singer David Lee Roth in 28 years and first album overall since 1998. Van Halen – Roth, brothers Eddie and Alex Van Halen on guitar and drums, and Eddie’s son Wolfgang on bass — is bringing its tour to Madison Square Garden this week.
“Tattoo,” the disc’s first single, was released in late January to generally negative reviews, which said the song lacked the fire expected from the reconfigured lineup. But many of the fans and critics who were initially disappointed changed their tune after hearing the album in its entirety earlier this month.
“I’m really inspired by how rocking the album is,” said Eddie Trunk, host of “That Metal Show” on VH1 Classic and the syndicated hard rock and metal radio show “Friday Night Rocks” (Q104.3 FM). “It sounds like a young band.
“I was extremely concerned after hearing ‘Tattoo,’ ” the New Jersey resident said. “But I said, ‘Let me wait until I hear the whole album,’ and I’m really glad that I did because I love the record.”
“A Different Kind of Truth,” the band’s 12th studio album and seventh with Roth, marks the recording debut of 20-year-old Wolfgang Van Halen. He took over bass duties after the band parted ways with Michael Anthony, whose participation in former singer Sammy Hagar’s solo projects caused a rift with the Van Halen brothers.
The band is known especially for Eddie Van Halen’s pioneering guitar work, including his introduction of the two-hand tapping technique on the band’s self-titled 1978 debut and blazing solos that left the best shredders in awe. The band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.
Carlstadt native and Soulfly guitarist Marc Rizzo said Eddie Van Halen has been a major inspiration. “From shredding to tapping while always playing melodically and with tons of feel, he completely reinvented what guitar players can do,” Rizzo said.
Megadeth bandleader Dave Mustaine said Van Halen is one of the more diverse hard-rock bands. “They can play something ripping like ‘Hot for Teacher’ and something as emotional as ‘I’ll Wait,’ ” Mustaine said.
The Van Halen faithful have also heralded Roth’s return. His master showmanship has long been seen as the perfect complement to Eddie Van Halen’s six-string acrobatics, an essential band element that many feel successors Sammy Hagar and Gary Cherone could not match.
“He’s one of the greatest frontmen of all time,” said Wayne resident and guitarist “Metal” Mike Chlasciak. “Everything he does is on a grand scale. He’s the ringleader.”
Chlasciak, who plays in Judas Priest singer Rob Halford’s solo band, said the return of Van Halen with Roth at the mic is something to celebrate.
“I hope the new record will inspire younger bands,” Chlasciak said.