WOLFGANG VAN HALEN Recalls Practical Joke Tour Manager Played On DAVID LEE ROTH At VAN HALEN's Last Show
December 7, 2020
In a recent interview with SPIN, Wolfgang Van Halen was asked if there was a moment that particularly stood out to him from VAN HALEN's last tour, which concluded in October 2015 at the the Hollywood Bowl. He responded: "I got a really funny story about that. Nobody's asked me about this before, so I'm glad you did. I'll set it up for you. Throughout the whole tour, Dave [VAN HALEN singer David Lee Roth] had an issue whenever someone in the audience had a beach ball. Outdoor theater, summer concert, Southern California party rock, VAN HALEN — it's not out of the ordinary. But every time he saw them, it would really upset him for some reason. And he would stop singing and then stand at the front of the stage and say, 'Throw the beach ball up here, throw the beach ball up here, throw the beach ball up here' eight times until it eventually got up, and he would stamp it out. Then he'd throw it off the stage. I guess he just really didn't want that out there.
"Before the very last show, the tour manager came up to my dad and me and whispered, 'Hey, you've got a funny little surprise for all of you guys at the end of the show,'" he continued. "We're, like, 'What?' And he goes, 'At the very end of 'Jump', when you're doing the ride out, we're going to release 50 beach balls from the top of the audience. And we'll just see what happens.' But even if he gets pissed off, what was he gonna do? It's the last fucking show. And sure enough, we get to 'Jump', and there was just a cavalcade, an avalanche of beach balls, and Dave was just, like, short-circuiting. He didn't understand how to handle it. But we all laughed it off. And it was just a really fun, almost like a fun practical joke. And yeah, that was a really fun memory of that show. As time went further and further by, the more I thought about it, like, 'Wow, if that is the last show, what an amazing way to cap it off.'"
At the age of 16, Wolfgang joined his father in VAN HALEN for the band's 2007 reunion tour with Roth, replacing bassist Michael Anthony.
Last month, Wolfgang told Rolling Stone about his relationship with Roth: "We're cordial. But it was very business-related. You know, we were always cool, but we really only ever saw each other onstage."
Eddie passed away on October 6 at the age of 65. He had been battling throat cancer and died surrounded by friends and family at a Santa Monica, California hospital. He is survived by his second wife Janie, brother Alex and Wolfgang.
VAN HALEN had been inactive since it completed its U.S. tour five years ago.
In early 2019, rumors were rampant that the classic-era lineup of VAN HALEN would reunite for the first time since 1984. It has since been revealed that a health setback involving Eddie was responsible for the tour not materializing.