Van Halen manager Irving Azoff has verified the group were organizing a reunion of the original members as part of a farewell tour before the declining well-being and death of guitarist Eddie Van Halen on October 6 following a lengthy battle with cancer.
“We had lots of stops and starts, but there was every intention of doing a summer stadium tour (in 2019),”, Azoff tells Pollstar, “and as the cancer moved around, [Eddie] was physically unable to do it.”
Among the ideas were for significant special guests like Foo Fighters and Metallica to accompany the group in select cities.
“There is no doubt in my mind that it would have been massive,” adds Azoff.
The intended farewell tour would have been the first with David Lee Roth and Michael Anthony since 1984.
Roth hinted about the tour in late 2018, telling Vulture: “Next time my rock band will be playing the same place that the Yankees play,” and when pressed to confirm a Yankee Stadium concert by Van Halen in 2019, he replied, “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.”
Saying that Van Halen activity was “around the corner by a hundred days,” Roth continued: “Well, I don’t know how far this privacy actually goes. 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.”
Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt gave a fascinating insight into the reunion during a recent tribute to Eddie.
“He was in great spirits. A proud dad, bragging about how Wolfie’s new solo album is gonna blow minds, etc.,” revealed Bettencourt about his last visit with the guitarist prior to the pandemic. “What’s cool though, was the last thing Eddie talked about. He said he was super excited about reaching out to Michael Anthony to finally put the original VH lineup back together. Saying that he wanted to do one final tour and have Van Halen go out the way they came in…Together… Guns Blazing!”
Last year, Anthony verified that he had been reached by group’s management regarding the reunion series.