Friday, February 24, 2012

Van Halen concert & my Dad- 1980 memories

With all of the excitement of Van Halen putting out their first new album with David Lee Roth in 28 years and touring again, I always start to think back about the first time I saw them in 1980.

 Funny enough, it is usually my Dad that reminds me of it or maybe I remind him of it.
I told him that I've got tickets to see Van Halen next month.

Any time I've ever mentioned Van Halen my Dad usually says "Van Halen, he still alive?" or "Van Halen, He still around?!" I think he's usually thought David Lee Roth is "Van (first name) Halen (last name)".
He did surprise me when I showed him their recent pic and he said "oh yeah, is that Eddie? They look pretty good."

You see in 1980 when I was 14, my Dad took me, my buddy from next door and 9-year-old brother to VH. Hey, I couldn't drive yet, what could I do? I guess he could have dropped us off, but maybe my folks were a little worried. My parents had separated that year so he was also probably trying to be a good Dad and suffer for his kids for a couple of hours. :)
 We didn't get good tickets (thru the local Ticketmaster at a, pre-internet days).
 We got crap  tickets at the back of the hall. But we were happy to be going, to be at the event and buy a Tour shirt to wear to school in the fall.

 My Dad was 37- years old at the time. Not that old. I am 45 and going to see Van Halen, so it's not an "age" thing it's a generational thing. The guys in VH are now in their late 50's!
My Dad was never a big music guy. His musical taste usually ended around 1962. He likes Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers, but now,ironically,  so do I! I also remember him liking some 70's stuff Jim Croce, Gordon Lightfoot ( again, pretty good!) and he always used to sing stuff like this around the house:
   He used to sing all the nonsense scat singing parts in this. He may still do it sometimes , come to think of it!
                                                      " Good Morning Starshine"

                             I also remember him signing "He Ain't Heavy , he's my Brother"

                                    and we take him into this!.. poor guy! He didn't know what hit him!
"Ain't Talkin bout love-Baltimore 1980"

                         My Dad wisely went out and stood in the hall. He says he remembers vividly the wasted kids in the hallway and asking one kid in particular "are you ok son?". "Yeah man" the bleary-eyed kid slowly replied". In fact, he says, that seems clearer than some more recent events!

Some things just stick with ya and the concert sure left an impression on my Dad!
 It left one on my little brother too. My brother and I were always close. Most of the time , wherever I went, he went. I didn't mind, I liked my brother (and still do).
The poor kid was holding his nose because of all of the pot smoke around us. Now days people can't even smoke a cigarette at concerts.
Back then? It was mayhem! People were smoking weed, snorting coke, dropping acid, downing Quaaludes and drinking whiskey out in the open. Plus people used to feel the need to bring fireworks to concerts. for what?
 Probably a little too intense for  a 9-year old! (but he has always stayed pretty straight now that I think about it. maybe it turned him off to the drug thing!) He's a good sport.

I don't remember that much about the concert. It was loud, not a great mix. I remember Michael Anthony playing an electric piano housed in a hollowed out old bomb! for "And the Cradle Will Rock". I also remember David Lee Roth doing a long intro to "Ice Cream Man" playing acoustic guitar.  Visually, there were no video screens back then at the Civic Center. SO you were just watching the band from real far away. They probably had some pyrotechnics but not much else as far as presentation.

Romeo Delight
Runnin' With The Devil
Loss Of Control
Take Your Whiskey Home
Dance The Night Away
Women In Love
Jamie's Cryin'
Bright Lights, Big City
Everybody Wants Some!!
And The Cradle Will Rock...
On Fire
Guitar Solo
Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love
Ice Cream Man
You Really Got Me

I did get my T-shirt, my Dad survived, my brother survived whatever contact high he got and we all have a funny family memory! Thanks for indulging me....

Can't wait for March 5th!

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