Thursday, April 1, 2010

Van Halen hits pay-per-view

It’s been far too quiet in Van Halen-land recently, but that’s all about to change.


This afternoon, VH will announce details about a press conference next week, where it is expected the band will release its 2010 schedule, including a major pay-per-view event featuring “special guests.”

“Van Halen: Live & Unchained” is set for Saturday, May 22, as the band opens the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, home of the New York Jets and New York Giants. The pay per view will be available in theatres, via satellite, online and through major cable providers for home viewing.

The inside word is that the show will feature four distinct parts: the evening kicks off with a short set by the current VH lineup; part 2 will be a reunion set with Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony; the current VH lineup returns to the stage for the third set, which will include the premiere of at least two brand new VH tunes; and, then the blockbuster: the show finale features the original VH lineup, including Anthony, playing a greatest-hits package sure to shake the foundations of the new stadium.

Yes, hell may have frozen over - as recently as last year, the thought of either Hagar or Anthony returning to the VH camp, even for a one-off event like this, was unthinkable: both guys were either fired or quit (depending on whose side of the story you choose to believe), and the mudslinging between ex-bandmates has continued for years. While Michael has always taken the high road (he was officially replaced by Eddie’s son, Wolfgang, in 2007), Hagar has been very vocal about things, including his recent comment that “Van Halen broke up in 1995.”

What the apparent “one-off” event means is anyone’s guess – could it be the format for the summer tour? Hagar and Anthony are available since their current project, Chickenfoot, is on a hiatus as drummer Chad Smith returns to the Red Hot Chili Peppers lineup. The ‘Foot are heading into the studio later this month to start recording tracks for their follow-up to last year’s self-titled debut, but it’s a short window of opportunity based on some downtime in the Peppers’ schedule, so it may turn out to be more of a pre-production step to get some demos together for the sophomore disc.

The Roth/Hagar scenario is interesting: beyond the war of words between the two over the years, they actually teamed together back in the summer of ’02 on the “Heavyweights Of Rock” tour, which included alternating headline sets. Dubbed by fans as the “Sans-Halen” tour, the trek ended with more heated words between the two VH frontmen.

It remains unclear whether information on a new VH album will be announced at the press conference, set for next Tuesday at a legendary Los Angeles club where VH honed their chops back in the '70s.

Van Halen - Fair Warning - Unchained Van Halen - Fair Warning - Unchained

Van Halen – Unchained (1981)

Van Halen - 5150 - Best of Both Worlds Van Halen - 5150 - Best of Both Worlds

Van Halen – Best of Both Worlds (1986)
Live Without A Net (1987)