As we await the concert itinerary announcement from Van Halen expected later today, the band has thrown us a bone--they'll play a rare gig this Thursday night (January 5)  at Cafe Wha? in New York's Greenwich Village.  Thursday's show will follow today's expected announcement of the first dates on VH's 2012 North American tour. 

And in case you missed it, Van Halen grabbed the attention of the masses of people whose focus was on New Year's Eve in Times Square and put their stamp on it with a billboard above 46th Street and 7th Avenue, revealing the new album's cover art to approximately 1 billion people.

Actually, the cover art for the forthcoming album, due out February 7th, as every good VH fan knows by now, was already revealed on some internet sites prior to New Year's Eve, but, hey, why not reach the millions of people who hadn't seen it yet?

The cover features a train illustration from the New York Central System, a railroad from the 1800's.  Is this a metaphor for the past speeding into the future, like the train in Back to the Future III?  Does this mean we can expect the same level of passion, musicianship and just plain old butt-kicking rock and roll from Van Halen that they displayed in their heyday with DLR?

I hope so, but what do you think?  Tell us!