Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love
Edward Van Halen, left, with David Lee Roth in New York City, Nov. 13.
The world offers an enormous cavalcade of things that can scare you to the core, and you know all the hits.
For instance, I should be worried about buying Christmas gifts for my son and making certain they don’t have more lead in them than a Victorian fixer-upper. I should concern myself with any number of global crises, or if I’m feeling especially superficial, I should ponder whether the Writer’s Guild will end its strike in time for “Lost” to have more than six episodes this season.
But no, that’s not what is weighing heavily at this moment. Right now, I’m worried that I might be just a little too excited about Van Halen performing at the Ford Center on Jan. 22, and what that says about me.
I’m not alone. I know dyed-in-the-wool-shepherd’s-sweater Belle and Sebastian fans who love Boston’s first album just a little too much, and there’s a local alt-pop marvel who, if the subject of Rush’s “2112” surfaces, might not shut up for a week. There is photographic evidence of one of my best friends, Phil Bacharach, destroying his hearing at the legendary OKC punk club, The Bowery, and yet he wants to go see the Halen with me because our wives would probably rather gargle glass than suffer through a single second of “Jamie’s Cryin’.”
We all have our big arena rock skeletons in the closet, and while I’d managed to suppress this one, the success of Van Halen’s current reunion tour brought the demon out of the shadows.
Though I discovered the music that truly matters fairly early in life — thank you, MTV, for introducing The Jam to my ears in 1981 — the original Van Halen was an undeniable and towering presence among kids growing up in the late-’70s and early ’80s. The group ruled because Van Halen was a band that perfectly combined musical wizardry with boneheaded adolescence: It could blow half your face off with its sheer rocking prowess and make you laugh off the rest of it with its skits and sketches.
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