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Van Halen Rock Intimate Show at Legendary Hollywood Studio (VIDEO)

Charles Epting

A year ago, Van Halen started recording at the famed Henson Studios in Hollywood. Formerly A&M Studios, the complex was originally built by Charlie Chaplin, the silent film legend, in 1917.

Wednesday Night, Feb. 1, Van Halen returned to the site to play a focused, exhilarating, approximately 70-minute hit-crammed set for a couple of hundred guests on the studio’s tiny yet historic soundstage.

On the heels of the release of a new album, ‘A Different Kind of Truth,’ and major tour, the band unveiled part of its stage set in the small room; a series of intense, high-definition video panels that projected larger-than-life band images and video.

But it wasn’t the dazzling visual effects that thrilled the packed house – it was the energetic, extremely entertaining set put on by the iconic band. ‘A Different Kind of Truth’ will be the first time David Lee Roth is featured on a Van Halen studio disc since their ’1984′ album. It’s also the first album to feature Eddie’s son, Wolfgang, on bass. Van Halen’s classic ruled the night’s setlist, but the new songs meshed very well with the standards.

David Lee Roth, resplendent in an electric-blue satin shirt and a black and blue quilted suit studded with rhinestones, sashayed, strutted, pranced and preened around the small stage for all he was worth. He’s more self-deprecating now than in years past, with a showman’s broad touch and wide-eyed grin to match. He jumped, whirled, mugged and was marvelous.

Charles Epting

Wolfgang Van Halen — the 20-year-old son of Eddie, and nephew of drummer Alex, who replaced original bassist Michael Anthony in 2006 — was solid and sturdy in a role he appears born to occupy.

As for Eddie Van Halen, wearing torn jeans and a weathered pink t-shirt, he was masterful. His trademark, youthful grin intact, he effortlessly recreated solos that have become so much a part of our consciousness that you hear them coming from miles away. His recent personal struggles seem to have been dealt with. He looks a little heavier, but a lot healthier, and he played with the joy of a teenager, losing himself in the music while ripping off one ferocious solo after another. His trademark red and white guitar elicited all sorts of spacey moans, shrieks and rumbles. It was like seeing Eddie in one of those Van Halen’s classic ’80s videos all over again.

Charles Epting

Opening with their raved-up Kinks cover, ‘You Really Got Me,’ the band tore through much of the David Lee Roth-era hit parade, including ‘Runnin’ With the Devil,’ ‘Panama,’ ‘Hot for Teacher,’ ‘Dance the Night Away,’ ‘Unchained,’ ‘Ice Cream Man,’ and ”Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love.’ For the triumphant set closer, ‘Jump,’ Van Halen was joined by a marching line of drummers and scantily clad showgirls.

The combo also played new single, ‘Tattoo,’ for which Eddie pulled out his legendary ‘Frankenstrat’ guitar, and reached back for ‘She’s the Woman,’ which the band re-worked for the new album from a 1976 demo.

All in all, the band sounded terrific, and provided a dazzling, tantalizing tease of what should end up being one of the hottest tickets of the year.

Watch Van Halen at Henson Studios on Feb. 1

Valerie Bertinelli, Wolfgang’s mom and Eddie’s ex-wife, was in attendance, and Noisecreep watched the show right up against the stage alongside noted axeman John 5 (Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie), who actually had his stage name bestowed upon him by David Lee Roth, and who also recorded with the singer at Henson Studios back in the ’90s. Exchanging many happy looks with David and Eddie, John 5 rocked right along with everyone else at the intimate gig, a true fan at heart.

“This band changed my life when I was a kid,” he told Noisecreep. “And they still change my life. I’ve never heard them sound as good and tight as they did tonight. This was an absolutely amazing show.”

Agreed.

Watch ‘Van Halen Reunite’ Video

Catch Van Halen out on tour with Kool & The Gang:

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
Mar. 01 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
Mar. 03 – Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Arena
Mar. 05 – Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center
Mar. 09 – Buffalo, NY – First Niagara Center
Mar. 11 – Boston, MA – TD Garden
Mar. 15 – Montreal, QCBell Centre
Mar. 17 – Toronto, ON – Air Canada Centre
Mar. 21 – Ottawa, ON – Scotiabank Place
Mar. 24 – Atlantic City, NJ – Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall
Mar. 28 – Washington, DC – Verizon Center
Mar. 30 – Pittsburgh, PA – Consol Energy Center
Apr. 01 – Rosemont, IL – Allstate Arena
Apr. 10 – Sunrise, FL – BankAtlantic Center
Apr. 12 – Tampa, FL – Tampa Bay Times Forum
Apr. 14 – Orlando, FL – Amway Center
Apr. 16 – Jacksonville, FL – Jacksonville Veterans Mem. Arena
Apr. 19 – Atlanta, GA – Philips Arena
Apr. 21 – Greensboro, NC – Greensboro Coliseum Complex
Apr. 25 – Charlotte, NC – Time Warner Cable Arena
Apr. 27 – Nashville, TN – Bridgestone Arena
May 01 – Tulsa, OK – BOK Center
May 05 – Tacoma, WA – Tacoma Dome
May 07 – Vancouver, BC – Rogers Arena
May 09 – 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
Jun. 01 – Los Angeles, CA – Staples Center
Jun. 03 – Oakland, CA – Oracle Arena
Jun. 05 – San Jose, CA – HP Pavilion At San Jose
Jun. 12 – Anaheim, CA – Honda Center
Jun. 14 – San Diego, CA – Viejas Arena
Jun. 16 – Phoenix, AZ – US Airways Center
Jun. 20 – Dallas, TX – American Airlines Center
Jun. 22 – San Antonio, TX – AT&T Center
Jun. 24 – Houston, TX – Toyota Center
Jun. 26 – New Orleans, LA – New Orleans Arena

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