With Van Halen’s new album, A Different Kind of Truth, finally unleashed on the world February 7, and with big first week sales projections in an era when nobody’s buying any music at all, the band is indeed finally back.
The live arena will certainly be a big test for the mighty V when they hit the stage for the first date of the tour on February 18, and they also did a rehearsal at the L.A. Forum for the tour on February 8.
According to Blabbermouth, Slash attended the show and tweeted, “Van Halen was killer tonight at the Forum. Eddie was brilliant. So amazing to hear / watch.”
The set list was, in order, You Really Got Me, Running With the Devil, She’s the Woman, Somebody Get Me a Doctor, Tattoo, Everybody Wants Some, Beautiful Girls, Ice Cream Man, China Town, Dance the Night Away, Hot For Teacher, Blood and Fire, Ed’s guitar solo, Panama, and Jump.
It also looks that for the most part the album’s passed the test with the fans, and some of the critics as well. True, the L.A. Times wasn’t enamored with it, with writer Randall Roberts giving it two and a half stars out of four. Roberts felt the album had three strong songs, but “half of this record features songs that will seldom if ever make it onto a concert set list. It’s these songs that drag the whole thing down and make [the album] feel tired, like an awesome old-school Trans Am that can do a wicked burnout from time to time but stalls from misuse.”
Yet Chris Willman of TheWrap wrote that although the album “lacks the classic song or three that would life the album all the way to the level of the vintage canon, [it] finds the fiftysomethings playing and singing like kids, albeit the kids who already sounded impossibly virtuosic and raunchy / wise beyond their years as a teen-prodigy garage band in the mid-’70s…you really couldn’t hope for much better of a brain-cell eliminator than this agreeably time-tripping return to form.”
Spin called the album “too long by a third, David Lee Roth often sounds like a 2 A.M. drunk doing David Lee Roth at karaoke… But the album clearly aspired to both be part of the canon, and, if need be, serve as an entry point.”
The Chicago Tribune also wrote that Roth and company don’t “disappoint the fans by trying to mature or reinvent” themselves. “The boys with crow’s feet and bum hips have made an album that speaks to the inner 16-year-old of their audience, re-creating a fantasyland defined by mullets, muscle cars and first visits to strip clubs.”
Finally, The Washington Post wrote, “The Van Halen brothers are still impossibly good at all the things they used to be good at, Roth slightly worse. His voice, once a gymnastic wonder, now seems more comfortable on heavy numbers in lower registers, which, coincidentally or not, is where much of ‘Truth’ resides.”