All eyes in Van Halenville were on St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center on Saturday night.
Eddie Van Halen and his namesake band -- once again featuring original singer David Lee Roth -- slinked into town under a cloud of speculation and rumors of stormy infighting.
The quartet unceremoniously canceled most of what's left of its tour without explanation Thursday. St. Paul was the first of 14 dates left penciled in on the calendar, seemingly with an asterisk.
All the question marks quickly turned to exclamation points, though, as the band opened Saturday's set with two of its wickedest classics, "Unchained" and "Runnin' With the Devil," and fans shouted expletives in approval. If there is behind-the-scenes drama going on, it only came out on stage as pent-up aggression.
The show's first half was laden with some of the band's heaviest tunes, also including "Everybody Wants Some," "Somebody Get Me a Doctor" and the lesser-played "Romeo Delight." As Eddie cranked out the solo in the latter tune, Diamond Dave cozied up to him and smiled as if they were best buds. At least they still make good bandmates.
With Alex Van Halen (Eddie's brother) on drums, as always, and Wolfgang Van Halen (Eddie's son) filling in again on bass as he did on a 2007 tour, the band sounded plenty tight and monstrous.
Roth sounded a little haggard but looked to be in good shape, too. He even pulled off one of his famous high kicks early on. It impressed fans and crew members alike -- they re-showed the kick on the big screen in slow motion.
See the full review of Saturday's concert in Monday's Variety section or online Sunday at startribune.com/music.
Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658 • Follow him on Twitter: @ChrisRstrib