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