There’s been plenty of speculation in recent months about just who’ll be participating in Van Halen’s planned reunion tour. Will the famously prideful David Lee Roth drop out? (Not yet, at least.) Will bassist Michael Anthony really be replaced by Eddie Van Halen’s teenaged son Wolfgang? (Yup.) But all that ballyhoo pales in comparison to the latest and most perplexing twist: VH announced yesterday that the opening act on the tour will be…drumroll, please… Ky-Mani Marley, best known as "the second-generation Marley star who isn’t Ziggy, Stephen, Damian, or Rohan."
Look, I like Ky-Mani’s hip-hop-flavored reggae just fine. (YouTube has clips for his 2000 single "Warriors" and his more recent collaboration with G-Unit rapper Young Buck, "Puff Puff Pass" — both NSFW but well worth checking out.) And if Diamond Dave and the gang are feeling his vibe too, more power to ‘em. But do Van Halen and Ky-Mani actually have any fans in common? Should concertgoers expect VH to bust out a mellow reggae remix of "Runnin’ With the Devil"? My mind is reeling already.
This news also got me to thinking about the most incongruous tour pairings of all time. PopWatch’s Gary Susman suggests the time in 1967 when a still-little-known guitar-slinger named Jimi Hendrix opened for the Monkees, which feels more like a case of "mind-blowingly awesome" than "head-scratchingly weird" to me. As for myself, I doubt I’ll ever see a stranger lineup than the free show I attended this summer where preppy indie-rock newcomers Vampire Weekend opened for furiously lyrical cocaine-rap masters the Clipse. Anyone out there want to try topping that?