Saturday, May 19, 2012

VAN HALEN Plays St. Paul Tonight, Tickets Still Available

Legendary hard rock/metal band Van Halen returns to the area tonight at the XCel Energy Center in St. Paul. Yes, the concert is still on and tickets can still be had. Music and entertainment websites everywhere reported two days ago the postponement of three months' worth of dates beginning July 7, but St. Paul will go on as scheduled. TMZ reported yesterday that the band is just "burned out" and simply wants a break. Road burnout is understandable, but what I don't understand is why the affected dates (31 shows) should take 3 months to complete. Sure, routing a mammoth US tour is challenging and a big production is a lot of work, but taking at least 2-4 days between every show is a good way to foster a burnout.

Judging from what I saw at the 2007 Minneapolis Van Halen show, the band still puts on a good show. In all honesty, though, I've had more fun seeing the Ralph Saenz-fronted version of Van Halen tribute band The Atomic Punks over the years.

One of my pet peeves about Van Halen tours is their defiant, insulting choice of support bands. Tonight you will get to see disco washouts Kool & The Gang. On the 2007-2008 tour it was Ky-Mani Marley or Ryan Shaw. Anyone remember previous openers Baby Animals? The only support band of substance I can remember is Bachman-Turner Overdrive way back on the 5150 tour in 1986. A band with the stature of Van Halen can take anyone out on the road with them. I'm all for giving unknown bands a chance, and allowing legacy bands to revisit former arena glory. But Van Halen's history of touring with bands that the vast majority of their audience has no interest in seeing is a big middle finger to loyal fans who pay a lot of money for an arena concert.

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