Van Halen kicked off what promises to be a busy 2012 with a fiery, hit-laden show at Cafe Wha? in New York on Thursday night (Jan. 5). As the rock legends played to a collection of rock critics and headbanging celebs at the crammed, 250-capacity club, their new label, Interscope Records, was preparing to announce the dates of the band's extensive 2012 tour, as well as the title and release date of their first album with frontman David Lee Roth since 1984. "A Different Kind of Truth" will hit stores on Feb. 7.
Instead of focusing on new material at their club gig, however, Van Halen ripped through their classics at the sweaty club show, which Roth referred to as "unarguably one of the best gigs of the career." With guitarist Eddie Van Halen nailing every riff, his son Wolfgang Van Halen coolly handling the bass and Alex Van Halen pounding away on the kit, Roth led the uproarious crowd through sing-alongs of "You Really Got Me," "Panama," "Jump" and "Everybody Wants Some," among others.
"Last time I stood on a stage this low, we had to have the car back by midnight, man!" Roth told the crowd with a laugh. The singer, who split from the group in 1985 and was temporarily replaced by singers like Sammy Hagar and Gary Cherone, shared stories about serving as an EMT in the Bronx and shouted out his 92-year-old Uncle Manny, the founder of Cafe Wha? who was in attendance last night.
"It took us 50 years to get this gig. It was easier getting into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame than getting this gig," said Roth. "This is a temple. This is a very special place. And I am more nervous about this gig than I would ever be at the Garden."
Van Halen played one new song, the boisterous "She's The Woman," which was recorded as a demo in the 70s and will presumably appear on "A Different Kind of Truth." The album release follows Roth's reunion with the group in 2006 and a resulting reunion tour in 2007-08, as well as a new deal with Interscope that was finalized in November. "A Different Kind of Truth" will be previewed by first single "Tattoo," which will be released this Tuesday (Jan. 10) alongside its accompanying music video.
Meanwhile, Van Halen will kick off their 2012 North American trek on Feb. 18 in Louisville, with the band set to play 45 shows through the end of June. Kool and the Gang will serve as openers for select tour dates. Tickets for the first shows on the Live Nation-promoted arena tour to go on sale on Jan. 14.
Here is the setlist from Van Halen's Cafe Wha? show:
1. "You Really Got Me"
2. "Runnin' with the Devil"
3. "Somebody Get Me a Doctor"
4. "Everybody Wants Some"
5. "She's the Woman"
6. "Dance the Night Away"
8. "Hot for Teacher"
9. "Ice Cream Man"
10. "Ain't Talkin Bout Love"
Here are Van Halen's 2012 tour dates:
Feb. 18: Louisville, KY (KFC Yum! Center)
Feb. 20: Detroit, MI (The Palace of Auburn Hills)
Feb. 22: Indianapolis, IN (Bankers Life Fieldhouse)
Feb. 24: Chicago, IL (United Center)
Feb. 28: New York, NY (Madison Square Garden)
Mar. 1: New York, NY (Madison Square Garden)
Mar. 3: Uncasville, CT (Mohegan Sun Arena)
Mar. 5: Philadelphia, PA (Wells Fargo Center)
Mar. 9: Buffalo, NY (First Niagara Center)
Mar. 11: Boston, MA (TD Garden)
Mar. 15: Montreal, QC (Bell Centre)
Mar. 17: Toronto, ON (Air Canada Centre)
Mar. 21: Ottawa, ON (Scotiabank Place)
Mar. 24: Atlantic City, NJ (Boardwalk Hall)
Mar. 28: Washington, DC (Verizon Center)
Mar. 30: Pittsburgh, PA (Consol Energy Center)
April 1: Rosemont, IL (Allstate Arena)
April 10: Fort Lauderdale, FL (BankAtlantic Center)
April 12: Tampa, FL (St. Pete Times Forum)
April 14: Orlando, FL (Amway Arena)
April 16: Jacksonville, FL (Jacksonville Arena)
April 19: Atlanta, GA (Philips Arena)
April 21: Greensboro, NC (Greensboro Coliseum)
April 25: Charlotte, NC (Time Warner Cable Arena)
April 27: Nashville, TN (Bridgestone Arena)
May 1: Tulsa, OK (BOK Center)
May 5: Tacoma, WA (Tacoma Dome)
May 7: Vancouver, BC (Rogers Arena)
May 9: Calgary, AB (Scotiabank Saddledome)
May 11: Edmonton, AB (Rexall Place)
May 17: Winnipeg, MB (MTS Centre)
May 19: St. Paul, MN (Xcel Energy Center)
May 22: Kansas City, MO (Sprint Center)
May 24: Denver, CO (Pepsi Center)
May 27: Las Vegas, NV (MGM Grand Garden Arena)
June 1: Los Angeles, CA (STAPLES Center)
June 3: Oakland, CA (Oracle Arena)
June 5: San Jose, CA (HP Pavilion)
June 12: Anaheim, CA (Honda Center)
June 14: San Diego, CA (Viejas Arena)
June 16: Phoenix, AZ (US Airways Center)
June 20: Dallas, TX (American Airlines Center)
June 22: San Antonio, TX (AT&T Center)
June 24: Houston, TX (Toyota Center)
June 26: New Orleans, LA (New Orleans Arena)
(Additional reporting by Marc Schneider)