Van Halen have shifted shape a few times in their nearly five-decade history, with Sammy Hagar and even Gary Cherone stepping in for original singer David Lee Roth and longtime bassist Michael Anthony displaced by Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang in recent years. Roth briefly rejoined the band in the mid-’90s, but that reunion imploded before they could launch a tour. And when Roth finally did hit the road with Van Halen near the end of the George W. Bush administration, Wolfgang was on bass. So the original lineup hasn’t toured together since Roth’s departure from the band at their commercial peak in 1984.
Rumors suggest that’s about to change. First, in an interview with Vulture this month, Roth hinted that he’d be playing stadiums with Van Halen this coming summer. Unprovoked, Roth quipped, “Next time my rock band will be playing the same place that the Yankees play.” When pressed on whether he was saying Van Halen would be playing Yankee Stadium this coming summer, he said, “Yeah, but I can’t … If I say something on tape here and everybody goes, ‘Oh, this leaked…’ But, the band will be — I can’t say.” He added, “But the band is solvent. And I can say that I contacted colleagues about being part of the show — Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Jason Aldean, the Foo Fighters, [Eric] Church, and [Chris] Stapleton. And they all said that, if everything happens, they would certainly be involved.”
Then, a few days before Christmas, SiriusXM on-air personality Eddie Trunk revealed rumors from anonymous industry sources indicating that the original Van Halen lineup will be touring stadiums next year. Here were his comments, as transcribed by Ultimate Guitar:
I hesitate to even talk about this because every year there’s some rumor about Van Halen about to do something or announce something, and ultimately it just doesn’t happen.
But, a little more so than normal as we close out 2018, I’m starting to hear some rumblings. I have sources and people I hear from and stuff that — as I was saying the other day, has to remain off the record.
So I cannot cite my source, but I did hear from somebody who is in the music industry, who told me that he has spoken to some people and he’s hearing from some people that there indeed will be some Van Halen activity in 2019 in terms of live shows.
And the rumors are — and it’s again, I stress rumors, rumors, rumors. Did you hear me say rumors?
The rumors from reliable sources — but still rumors that are unconfirmed — is that the band will tour in 2019 with the original band, which would mean the return of Michael, and that there it’s gonna be some sort of stadium package
So again I cannot stress enough that is not confirmed in any way shape or form but there are starting to be some real substantial rumors about that as we close out 2018.
And somebody who will remain anonymous, who contacted me because he was listening to this show yesterday, said that he also has heard that — and he is actively in the industry.
And that would tie into what David Lee Roth said when he’s running around selling his skin cream or whatever it is that he’s doing — that Van Halen would play Yankee Stadium [in New York City].
I don’t think that Van Halen — even with the original band, I think Van Halen would need to have to do a full stadium tour of America.
Even bringing Michael back, hypothetically, I still think they probably want a little more meat on the bone to sell it – meaning I don’t think they would do it just then.
I’m thinking if it were to happen, it would be more of a — sort of like Def Leppard and Journey did some stadiums. Maybe not that much of a pure co-headline, but Van Halen with one or two real-name acts on as support.
And that would also tie into one of the things that Roth said because he mentioned some other bands that they might be playing with.
It’s something to hope for but I can tell you there are people that are actively in the music industry that listen to this show and I got an email from one yesterday saying, “Yeah I’m hearing it too. I’m hearing stadiums and I’m hearing, ‘original band.'”
Here’s audio of Trunk’s Van Halen segment:
Could it be true? If so, you rockers out there better start saving now because you know it won’t be cheap, especially if other rock legends are on deck to open. But if you have the chance to see the original Van Halen, well, you know what to do.
UPDATE: Michael Anthony tells Premiere Radio Networks, “The only comment I have is that I haven’t spoken to any of the guys since we last played together back in 2004.”