January was a great month for Hard Rock and Metal bands releasing iconic albums as it was only the other day that Judas Priest celebrated thirty years of “Defenders Of The Faith” (which was toasted HERE) and now it was Van Halen’s turn to soak up the rays of praise as “1984” hit the record store shelves thirty years ago today. I have to admit that the money I was making as a Wall Street messenger back then was being put to good use and the record shop was a regular place to visit and walk out with something. Van Halen was one of those bands that I was listening to since the very first album and they were one of my top three bands of all time. The other two are KISS and Judas Priest and each has had works covered on the core PiercingMetal website in addition to these blogs. The anticipation was high about “1984” because friends and I had been hearing the single “Jump” for a few weeks and while the memory has faded on when we all first saw the video for the tune, I would like to think that this was not too long after the album hit the street if not before. One should realize that in this time in music the video drove added sales to the album. Continue reading Van Halen’s “1984”: Big Brother’s Still Watching @ 30 Years (1984-2014)→
The Mighty Van Halen were back on tour and supporting a brand new album entitled “A Different Kind Of Truth” and tonight they would be bringing down the house for all their fans at a sold out Madison Square Garden. The band actually had also played a couple of days ago and in case you wondered that event was also long sold out. Good for them but bad for folks like myself who did not actually find themselves with a ticket to enjoy the festivities. I did manage to secure a photo pass which meant that I would see as many songs as would be allowed for the media and then that was it. This is the real way that it works though my friends as I documented in full in my slightly whimsical METALLICA REVIEW from a few years ago. Click the logo below to indulge in my concert thoughts and then swing back here to see some side images that are only here.
Artist: Van Halen Venue: Madison Square Garden (New York, NY) Opener: Kool and The Gang Date: 3/1/2012 Label: Interscope Records
Since Internet attention is as fleeting as the proverbial speeding bullet I’m going to assume that the readership of the site out in our wonderful Metal Republic do not recall the narrative that I compiled when I attended the Metallica concert at this very same arena. The reason that I bring that particular show up is based on the fact that my Van Halen adventure went down in the very same fashion. I was without a ticket to attend since it was sold out and I had not been able to secure any sort of “media reviewer’s ticket” either but I did have the professional photographers pass. The down side of this would be I was only going to come away with photos and that all depended on the logistics that they put us in. Simply put, this was going to be a very short review summation. Continue reading Van Halen @ Madison Square Garden (3/1/2012)→
Last week the mighty Van Halen performed a “secret gig” at the legendary Cafe Wha? in Greenwich Village. This intimate affair was only open to press and some industry VIP’s and before you ask the question, no, we were not in attendance (even though we asked to little success). The band did play a killer set which you can see in the photo that I copped from Eddie Trunk’s Twitter, but be advised that he said the last two listed numbers were not done.
At the show the band announced a North American tour (gee ya think?) which would be in support of their forthcoming album “A Different Kind Of Truth”. I’ve embedded a link for you to order this on Amazon.com at the end of the post. The album would be the first official full length release with David Lee Roth since “1984”. Twenty seven years in the making I guess we can say so let’s hope for some magic. If you are keeping tally then you don’t need me to tell you that its been fourteen years since the last Van Halen album. Moving along, the band has released their first video from the new release and the song is called “Tattoo”. I embedded the Vimeo link for your discretion and wonder what you all think about it.
PiercingMetal Thoughts: My first listen did nothing for me, but that can be expected since we all want the super greatness that made this band so special in the first place to hit us when any new material comes out. That is seldom the case. I felt a lot of DLR solo album vibe in this and also later years VH so I will remain hopeful that the rest of the album leaves us in shock (a good one I mean of course). Order the new release below and be sure to catch one of the tour dates. It’s been announced that Kool and the Gang will be the opener on selected dates of the tour. I’ll take the fifth on that.
Before I forget to mention this, PiercingMetal.com was in attendance at the 2007 show at Madison Square Garden. We didn’t attend as media even though we were entrenched in this enterprise by then so no allotted tickets or photo passes were there for us to bring you right onto the stage. However, our review narrative was still done for the site fans and because we love this band. Check out the full article here and if you attended that show and feel like leaving it some comments, then by all means please do. Click HERE.
Artist: Van Halen Title: “The Best Of Both Worlds” Label: Warner Brothers Release Date: 7/20/2004 Genre: Hard Rock Rating: 4/5
“Best Of Both Worlds” is more of a proper retrospective for the mighty Van Halen than their initial offering of “Greatest Hits Volume 1” which we found being released in 1996 was and that is based on more than twice the amount of tracks being offered to the fans. The interesting thing is how while the band did have three singers over the course of their history with David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar and Gary Cherone, that nothing from the Extreme singer is here to enjoy or be exposed to for the first time. Clearly the “Best Of Both Worlds” means Dave and Sammy while the world that featured Cherone must have been in some alternate reality. Oh well, it’s a shame in some sense but his work with the band is something that most of the Van Halen fans would rather forget. Spread across the span of two ceedees the collection is delivered in a very interesting manner as we get a Roth track and then a Hagar one, and then the process repeats for most of the album until they begin to present some of the live stuff which Roth was not a part of. If you own the original collection I will tell you that you will not be making space in your shelf by tossing it because the new songs that were presented on that collection do NOT appear on this new one. I was glad to see this being the case because it would have been cheap and cheating the fans by adding them. With “BOBW” we finally get tunes from “Diver Down”, an album that was overlooked on the earlier issue. Continue reading “The Best Of Both Worlds” by Van Halen→
Artist: Van Halen Title: “The Best Of Van Halen” Volume 1 Label: Warner Brothers Music Release Date: 10/22/1996 Genre: Hard Rock Rating: 4/5
Musically speaking, Van Halen is probably number two in my list of three favorite Hard Rock and Heavy Metal band and finds themselves bookended by KISS and Judas Priest. That being said, I decided to toss out some thoughts on the bands first ever compilation release which hit the markets way back in 1996. It might surprise some of the newer fans of the bands work that this compilation was something like 20 years in the making and not only spanned about eight of their releases. With this being the case the argument about why this was not a double disc collection was something that definitely came up in conversation. As a collection I felt this was “okay at best” even though it featured a number of my favorite tunes and the reason I make a statement like that is based on it being a sole CD. Too many powerful moments in the bands history are avoided and instead the release comes off as a step-by-step walk through the bands history until the listener reached where we were at the time this was released. We start off with “Eruption” and the tune does NOT lead us into “You Really Got Me” which was the song that made everyone an instant fan of Van Halen even though it was originally penned by The Kinks. I know it was my own introduction to the band and the day after I heard it, I walked the two miles to the local record store to buy a copy of this on vinyl. I’m sure I am not alone here. So we end up with three tunes from the debut which is an album that does no wrong at all and only the “single” from “Van Halen II” with “Dance The Night Away”. The same applies for “WACF” with “And The Cradle Will Rock”. I liked so much more from this album and was sad to find all the rest omitted but again, one CD means limited time to get the point across. The radio classics are paid attention to for the most part from here on out from the Roth era and then we wander into the Sammy Hagar territory which would historically get a lot more mainstream support than most of the early stuff did. I liked some of what Sammy brought to the table in the band but I would have traded him away in a second if Roth could come back. Continue reading “The Best Of Van Halen” Volume 1 by Van Halen→