Something Else! sneak peek: Van Halen with David Lee Roth, "She's The Woman" (2012)

Photograph by Robert Yager

Van Halen’s first reunion gig with original lead singer David Lee Roth included plenty of parachute-pantsed favorites, but there was also one new track. Hear the original demo!

The reformed band, who’ve confirmed their forthcoming album (to be called A Different Kind of Truth) will appear on February 7, played a 45-minute set on Thursday at Cafe Wha?, at 250-seat club in New York’s Greenwich Village.

[READ OUR REVIEW OF ‘TRUTH': In a pre-release review, we called the Van Halen reunion album “a return to form in the most complete sense of the word.”]

Van Halen opened with “You Really Got Me,” and closed with “Jump,” but perhaps most interesting was their inclusion of “She’s The Woman,” a previously unreleased song that was first demoed in the 1970s. Below is a fan-made video of the show; the new track can be heard beginning at the 6:42 mark:

Here’s the full setlist:
1. You Really Got Me
2. Runnin’ With The Devil
3. Somebody Get Me A Doctor
4. Everybody Wants Some
5. She’s The Woman
6. Dance The Night Away
7. Panama
8. Hot For Teacher
9. Ice Cream Man
10. Ain’t Talkin Bout Love
11. Jump

Roth, who split with Van Halen in the mid-1980s, admitted at one point that he was “more nervous about this gig than I would ever be in Madison Square Garden.” A scheduled encore of “Beautiful Girls” and “Unchained” didn’t materialize on Thursday.

[SOMETHING ELSE! SNEAK PEEK: Stream two more new songs from Van Halen’s upcoming reunion project with David Lee Roth, “Blood and Fire” and “The Trouble With Never.”]

Meanwhile, the camera-phone audio above isn’t great — it’s particularly difficult to pick up Roth’s vocal — so we’ve also included an early Van Halen demo below. “She’s The Woman” was first recorded in 1976 with producer Gene Simmons of Kiss, then was re-recorded a year later as part of Van Halen’s initial Warner Brothers sessions. Riffs from the track eventually made their way onto “Mean Street,” from 1981’s Fair Warning album:

The reunited Van Halen — also featuring guitarist Eddie Van Halen and drummer Alex Van Halen from the original 1970s-era lineup, but sans bassist Michael Anthony, who’s been replaced by Eddie’s son Wolfgang — kick off a North American tour on February 18 in Louisville, Kentucky, and continue through June 26 in New Orleans. Tickets reportedly go on sale next week, even as a slated new single — called “Tattoo” — is set to premiere.

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Nick DeRiso

Over a 30-year career, Nick DeRiso has also explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz, Ultimate Classic Rock and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.