The Van Halen thread (not really) (1 Viewer)


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I wanted to tack this onto the end of an existing Van Halen thread, but maybe not surprisingly, there isn't one.

Anyway, I found these while cleaning out a file cabinet, and now they're on eBay. Backstage passes from their first two tours. In 1978 when I saw them they were third on the bill behind Journey and Montrose. The next year they headlined the same venue (a 1,200-1,500 seat theater) and sold out two nights in a row.



I'll include the story behind the 1978 pass because it's quaint and old-timey. I don't think it happens like that anymore.


This is from a show on Van Halen's first national tour at the St. Paul Civic Center Theater, where they opened for Journey and Montrose. They played a 30 minute set. A couple hours before the show a friend and I kind of "gained access" to the backstage area because we wanted to see Eddie's setup.

We saw it: a beat up old Phase 90 and a footswitch (for a tape echo, if I recall) duct taped to a small piece of plywood, and a stack of four battered 100w Marshall heads. The famous one humbucker Charvel strat was still black and white (with a pickguard), like the cover of the first album. I seem to recall there was an Explorer copy there as a backup guitar, but I may be confusing that with the 1979 tour (I'm also selling a backstage pass from that tour in another auction). It could be that there was no backup for the black and white guitar.

We got the passes because a roadie saw us inspecting Eddie's equipment, and he stopped - I think to tell us to get out of there - but he just looked at us for a couple seconds and said, "You need these if you're going to be back here," and handed us the passes. Things like that happened in those days.
Well there certainly wasn't anything else that sounded like that first record, that's for sure. Their timing was just wrong for me though. In '78/'79 I was moving away from that kind of rawk and further into the underground. As they say. There were a couple years of overlap for me there (which there were for everyone), but it got harder to take the arena-type bands seriously the more you got into the punk stuff.

I thought they were hilarious though, with David Lee Roth. I was front and center for both of those shows. In '78 no one got out of their seats (they were there to see Montrose, so it figures), so my friends and I were the only ones standing at the front of the stage, in front of Eddie (which probably pissed off Roth, which was funny). After Van Halen Played we went back to our front row seats and said, "Well, see ya!" to the guys behind us. "You're leaving?! We can have your seats?!" "Yeah, knock yourself out. The rest of this is gonna suck." Ha ha.

In '79 everyone was crowded to the front, but I was right there in front of Roth and I was determined to make him laugh, so I kept laughing at everything and grinning like a fool right in front of him until he broke his cool pose and laughed. He might have been laughing at me, but I still consider that encounter a win for me.
I could never stomach David Lee Roth, or any Van Halen singer. But I always loved how happy Eddie van Halen looks while playing (when he was young). No cool posing or slick Keith Richards smoothness or whatever, just pure joy.

Can only imagine what a mindfuck it must have been to hear dat guitar for the first time in the 70's.
$170 for those two passes! Ha. I thought I'd be lucky to get $50. It pays to be a pack rat I guess. Who knew people still cared about Van Halen?

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