Van Halen Launches North American Tour Feb. 18 In Louisville

Van Halen Launches North American Tour Feb. 18 In Louisville

The New Year is nary a month old and even if you live under a rock there are three things you know: Tim Tebow is out of the NFL Playoffs, Mitt Romney is gaining momentum, and Van Halen is launching a huge tour of North America.

Van Halen kicks off a 45-date tour of North America beginning Feb. 18 in Louisville, Kentucky at the KFC Yum! Center. Highlights of their much-anticipated outing include stops in Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Toronto, and Los Angeles.

On March 11, Van Halen travels to Boston for a show at TD Garden. The iconic rock band will also play two shows in New York City (Feb. 28 and March 1) at Madison Square Garden.

Their jaunt, launched to support the group’s latest album, A Different Kind of Truth, concludes June 26 in New Orleans. Opening for Van Halen, on a part-time basis, will be Kool and the Gang.

No rock hut or stone teepee could keep this next tidbit from the consciousness of any self-respecting hermit. That tidbit is David Lee Roth is back with Van Halen. This means that three-fourths of the band that recorded the seminal album 1984 is together again and ready to tour. The missing fourth is bassist Michael Anthony. He’s replaced by Alex Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang.

A Diamond Dave-led Van Halen has a lot of people excited. After all, Roth and Eddie are one of the greatest frontman/lead guitarist combinations in the history of rock music.

Their place in history is undeniable but I think there’s another reason people are happy that Van Halen is back. That reason is Van Halen is happy (or at least they appear to be happy).

Especially with Roth at the helm, Van Halen is one of the few great rock bands that are known more for their smile than their sneer.

Most bands of Van Halen’s renown are serious, somber, frustrated, angry and/or depressed. Yet, when you think of Van Halen what is likely to come to mind is an exultant Roth kicking the sky or a grinning Eddie Van Halen merrily finger tapping his guitar.

Take the band’s video to their breakthrough single, “Jump.” In almost every shot Eddie is wearing a huge smile. You don’t generally think of Jimmy Page or Keith Richards as smilers.

Roth, on the other hand, is just plain comical—a jester if you will. You have his flamboyant dance moves, his interactions with the audience at Van Halen concerts, and his antics in videos like “Hot For Teacher” and “Panama.” A picture gets painted of Roth as a fairly content dude. If you closely examine the lead singers of other rock bands you eventually come to the conclusion, “what did his parents do to him?”

Now, Van Halen isn’t the only band that looks happy and appears to be enjoying themselves. There were plenty of hair bands in the 1980s that were jolly but they neither transcended the decade nor did they go to become one of the greatest rock bands of all-time.

Furthermore, Van Halen was able to be happy without losing their credibility, their edge, or their respectability. The band still had a sense of happiness in the Sammy Hagar era but not as much as when Roth was on the mic.

It goes without saying that you can’t attribute happiness, or even smiling, to other great rock bands. U2 has their moments but most of the time they’re rather serious. Coldplay is as fun-loving as the common cold and the Red Hot Chili Peppers definitely have a sense of humor but usually opt for staid posturing and solemn brooding.

We don’t even need to compare Van Halen to rock bands from the 1960s and 1970s. The biggies like The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Pink Floyd, and AC/DC could be light-hearted and even funny at times but you wouldn’t mistake any of them for being happy.

Granted, most of the aforementioned bands had their roots in the blues—not a happy genre of music—but beyond that they exhibited more misery and sorrow than mirth and cheer.

This doesn’t mean the members of Van Halen have no personal problems or inner demons. All it means is when they’re performing, whether in concert or during a video, they look and act like they’re blissful.

Van Halen’s ability to appear happy makes them a novelty not a novelty act. Better yet, this talent of theirs makes Van Halen concerts a real blast.

Van Halen’s 2012 Tour Itinerary
>>Feb. 18 – Louisville, KY @ KFC Yum! Center
>>Feb. 20 – Auburn Hills, 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 Arena
>>March 1 – New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden Arena
>>March 3 – Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun Arena
>>March 5 – Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center
>>March 9 – Buffalo, NY @ First Niagara Center
>>March 11 – Boston, MA @ TD Garden
>>March 15 – Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre
>>March 17 – Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre
>>March 21 – Kanata, ON @ Scotiabank Place
>>March 24 – Atlantic City, NJ @ Boardwalk Hall
>>March 28 – Washington, DC @ Verizon Center
>>March 30 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Consol Energy Center
>>April 1 – Rosemont, IL @ Allstate Arena
>>April 10 – Sunrise, FL @ BankAtlantic Center
>>April 12 – Tampa, FL @ Tampa Bay Times Forum
>>April 14 – Orlando, FL @ Amway Center
>>April 16 – Jacksonville, FL @ Veterans Memorial Arena
>>April 19 – Atlanta, GA @ Philips Arena
>>April 21 – Greensboro, NC @ Greensboro Coliseum Complex
>>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 – Saint 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 at San Jose
>>June 12 – Anaheim, CA @ Honda Center
>>June 14 – San Diego, CA @ Viejas Arena
>>June 16 – Phoenix, AZ @ U.S. 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

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