A few minutes before David Lee Roth and Alex, Eddie, and Wolfgang Van Halen walked onto the tiny stage at low-ceilinged Greenwich Village club Cafe Wha? last Thursday night, a colleague of mine leaned over and asked what was, at the time, a very important question: “Is there any band that fits into 2012 less well than these guys?”
Of course, a few minutes later we were both making the championship-belt gesture at each other, signifying that Van Halen’s hour-long set had secured the heavyweight title. It was easy to get wrapped up in the group’s first show together since 2008, and not just because the band picked up everybody’s bar tab.
The name Van Halen has always sounded like a code word for the sort of neutron bomb that Slim Pickens could ride into oblivion, and each one of the songs they played — including the not-at-all-new “new” song “She’s the Woman” — cut perfect four-minute swaths of destruction that wiped out any negativity or cynicism that might have been in the air.
Which came back to my friend’s point: Before Roth gave 250 journalists (and Jimmy Fallon) the chance to shout along to “Panama” with him as they got drunk with their friends, would Van Halen have made sense in a vacuum in 2012? Let’s take a look: READ FULL STORY