Van Halen might have matured past their days of knock-down, drag-out fights by 2015, but that didn’t stop one of their final televised performances from devolving into a bloody mess.
The band appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on March 30, 2015 — its first-ever televised performance with original singer David Lee Roth — to promote its new Tokyo Dome Live in Concert double LP, which came out the next day. Hollywood Boulevard was shut down for the occasion, and Van Halen took to the stage positioned just under the marquee of the famed El Capitan Theatre.
Van Halen opened their set with “Panama,” and Roth worked the crowd into a frenzy with his signature microphone stand twirls as the band vamped behind him. During the introductory mayhem, Roth whacked the bridge of his nose with the chrome stand and drew blood.
Roth tried to soldier through the song, wiping his nose repeatedly on the sleeve of his distressed denim jacket as he made it through the second chorus of “Panama.” But with blood pooling on his face and wrist, he left the stage during Eddie Van Halen‘s guitar solo to seek assistance.
Watch David Lee Roth Injure Himself on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’
As the band dialed the energy down during the bridge, Roth came back and explained what happened to the audience. “Ladies and gentlemen, give us one second here,” he said. “We’re filming on tape, and I just cut my nose here on the microphone or whatever. Let me get this taped up and we’ll start again.”
The Van Halen trio — Eddie, brother Alex and son Wolfgang — stalled for time with an impromptu jam, with the guitarist firing off a flurry of pinch-harmonic fills and whammy-bar dive bombs. Roth returned to the stage a few minutes later with a bandaged nose and a roll of duct tape in his hand, physically roughed up but spiritually undaunted (despite later requiring 14 stitches).
“I fucked my nose up on the microphone here, so I’m gonna wear the Band-Aid and we’re gonna start the whole thing all over for you, and we’re gonna give you a little extra for your patience here,” Roth told the audience to a wave of applause. Then he turned to Alex Van Halen and quipped, “How do I look? Like fuckin’ Hiawatha?” The band launched into a fresh version of “Panama” — sans the mic-stand martial arts — and a bandaged Roth continued to ham it up at the front of the stage. Van Halen then plowed through the rest of their truncated greatest-hits romp, which included “Runnin’ With the Devil,” “Hot for Teacher,” “Eruption,” “You Really Got Me,” “Dance the Night Away” and “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love.”
“How many of you used to see us during club days?” Roth asked the audience during “Hot for Teacher.” “We used to play around the corner at Gazzarri’s, man. Remember when it was Gazzarri’s? Then it’s the Key Club, now it’s Hollywood Boulevard!” At the end of “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love,” the frontman joked, “Like they used to say on Ed Sullivan, ‘If this goes well, we’ve got a great career ahead of us, boys.'”
Watch Van Halen’s Full ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ Set
Van Halen made two more brief televised performances after Jimmy Kimmel Live!, playing two songs on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in April 2015 and tearing through “Panama” at the Billboard Music Awards in May. The performances previewed their summer and fall 2015 tour, which saw them storming amphitheaters across North America and climaxed with two epic hometown shows at the Hollywood Bowl.
Unfortunately, these performances also portended the end of the band’s live career. Van Halen played their final show on Oct. 4, 2015, and fell into a period of inactivity as Eddie Van Halen sought cancer treatment over the next several years. The legendary guitarist died on Oct. 6, 2020, leaving a towering musical legacy and penchant for showmanship — which was on full display when Van Halen conquered Hollywood Boulevard on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Van Halen Albums Ranked
A ranking of every Van Halen album.