Van Halen Nearly Reunited Their Classic Lineup for a 2019 Tour

The band's manager has confirmed that Eddie Van Halen's cancer complicated plans
Van Halen Nearly Reunited Their Classic Lineup for a 2019 Tour
Photo: Joe Bielawa
Van Halen were due to reunite their classic lineup for a stadium tour last year, though the health of late guitarist and co-founder Eddie Van Halen ultimately changed those plans.

In conversation with Pollstar, Van Halen manager Irving Azoff confirmed that the band nearly mapped out a stadium tour with vocalist David Lee Roth, bassist Michael Anthony, and Eddie and Alex Van Halen, with plans for Metallica and Foo Fighters to join on select dates.

"We had lots of stops and starts, but there was every intention of doing a summer stadium tour [in 2019], and as the cancer moved around, [Van Halen] was physically unable to do it," Azoff told the publication. "There is no doubt in my mind that it would have been massive."

A stadium tour involving Roth, Anthony and the Van Halen brothers would have marked that lineup's first time on stage together since 1984. Anthony was not involved in the band's 2007 reunion with Roth, with Eddie's son Wolfgang Van Halen handling bass duties for 2012 album A Different Kind of Truth and two subsequent tours.

Last year, Anthony confirmed that he had been approached by Van Halen management in 2018 about rejoining the group. 

"I spoke with Irving Azoff [in] October [2018] — that's when I first heard from him — and he asked if I would be interested in any kind of a reunion, and I told him, I said, 'Yeah.' I was finishing up a couple of shows with [Sammy Hagar] and I said, 'Yeah, I'd be interested to hear what you guys have going on," Anthony recalled on SiriusXM's Trunk Nation with Eddie Trunk.

"I've got these few dates left, and give me a call.' And I never heard a call back. And then, right after the first of the year, I got…David Lee Roth's, Dave's business manager or lawyer, or something, got a hold of me about a meeting or something. And so at that point, I gave it over to our manager, because I didn't wanna start getting in this whole thing — I wanted to do it the correct way, especially after the way things went for me in 2004."

 Anthony added, "From what I've heard, and I haven't spoken to any of the guys, they were gonna try to plan a thing for [that] summer. And for whatever reason… I was never… My people were never… They never got in touch with us about any kind of a contract or any kind of a meeting to discuss or whatever. And the next thing I knew, the plug got pulled on it."

Azoff called the late Van Halen an "unqualified genius," and also addressed the possibility of unreleased recordings seeing the light of day from the band's vault. "Wolf and Alex will go up to 5150, the studio in Ed's house, but there's been a lot of recording over the years," he explained. "I can't predict that for sure there will be anything new, but for sure they're going to look at it."

Van Halen died Tuesday (October 6) following a battle with throat cancer. He was 65. Today, brother Alex Van Halen shared a childhood photo of the pair, with the message, "Hey Ed. Love you. See you on the other side. Your brother, Al."