Rock­ers shed blood, sweat …

Los Angeles Times - - CALENDAR - RANDALL ROBERTS POP MU­SIC CRITIC randall.roberts@la­times.com Twit­ter: @liledit

A pumped-up David Lee Roth leads Van Halen in a rau­cous show­ing on “Jimmy Kim­mel Live!”

De­spite an early-set knock on the nose that re­quired a ban­dage for lead singer David Lee Roth, Pasadena’s great­est rock ex­port, Van Halen, sur­vived its late-night talk show ap­pear­ance Mon­day — and shut down Hol­ly­wood Boule­vard in the process.

Al­most 45 years af­ter it formed and at least a few decades be­yond its com­mer­cial peak, a Roth-fronted Van Halen fi­nally per­formed on net­work TV. Re­turn­ing to sup­port its new live al­bum, “Tokyo Dome Live in Con­cert,” and a re­cently an­nounced sum­mer tour, the band tore through a hand­ful of its clas­sics as the mu­si­cal guest on “Jimmy Kim­mel Live!” on Mon­day night.

The band did so in grand, if pre­dictable, fash­ion: by play­ing “Panama,” “Run­ning With the Devil,” “Hot for Teacher,” “Dance the Night Away” and more in front of the El Cap­i­tan Theatre to a rau­cous crowd.

“We waited 45 years for this,” screamed Roth, a cheesy smile over­whelm­ing his face.

Kim­mel’s show does this sort of thing on oc­ca­sion, but Van Halen doesn’t. Long an arena rock main­stay, the band earned its stripes on the Sun­set Strip a few miles west. Now con­sist­ing of broth­ers Alex and Ed­die and the lat­ter’s son, Wolf­gang, on bass, Van Halen rose to great heights in the MTV era, when bands could hit the top through heavy ro­ta­tion and hot videos. Live sets were for con­certs, not TV cam­eras.

Fast-for­ward some four decades, and it’s a good thing Kim­mel taped a few hours prior to broad­cast. A cou­ple min­utes into the band’s first song, “Panama,” Roth cut his nose as he was spin­ning his mi­cro­phone stand like a drum ma­jor. The band stopped. Ex­plain­ing with typ­i­cal good hu­mor what had just hap­pened, the singer re­treated side-stage to tend to the wound.

Roth’s blood loss, though, was our gain. While away, fans were treated to an im­pro­vised jam among the three Van Halens on­stage. They riffed on “Panama,” Ed­die work­ing his gui­tar with mirac­u­lous deft­ness, Alex and Wolf­gang tug­ging at the rhythm. The di­ver­sion il­lus­trated the depth of the trio’s play­ing and con­firmed a hard rock unit that sounded as tight as ever.

When Roth re­turned, he was wear­ing a prom­i­nent ban­dage across his nose. For con­ti­nu­ity’s sake, the band restarted “Panama” from the top and con­tin­ued as though noth­ing had hap­pened. Those in at­ten­dance knew oth­er­wise, even if the edited ver­sion broad­cast Mon­day night made no men­tion of the mishap.

That’s prob­a­bly a good thing. Van Halen’s been through much worse. (Van Hagar, any­one?) A lit­tle knock on the nose cer­tainly wasn’t go­ing to scut­tle the band. As long as Roth is care­ful, the abra­sion will likely be healed by the time the band takes to the road in July, and if not then, then cer­tainly by the time the tour’s fi­nal 2015 show at the Hol­ly­wood Bowl on Oct. 2.

Randy Holmes ABC

DAVID LEE ROTH, left, and Ed­die Van Halen per­form on Hol­ly­wood Boule­vard.

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