Van Halen en het US Festival 1983

Van Halen - US Festival 1983 - Helicopter aankomst (

Van Halen – US Festival 1983 – Helicopter aankomst

Van Halen - 1984 (

Dit artikel hoort bij het verhaal 1984 en het einde van de klassieke Van Halen line-up.

US Festival 1983

Van Halen was de dagafsluiter van dag 2 van het 4 daagse US Festival 1983, dat werd gehouden op 28, 29 en 30 mei en op 4 juni. De tweede dag werd ‘heavy metal day’ gedoopt. Omdat de band niet op tour was op dat moment werd er uitgebreid geoefend en werd de gage uiteindelijk vastgesteld op $1,5 miljoen. Met name over dat bedrag werd veel geklaagd door artiesten (The Clash voorop) en de pers. Dat David Bowie, die de dag daarop zou optreden, datzelfde bedrag kreeg was (klaarblijkelijk) geen issue.

Net als het jaar daarvoor, was het festival een financiële ramp. Organisator Steve Wozniak, medeoprichter van Apple, verloor maar liefst $12 miljoen. Het festival zou ook niet meer georganiseerd worden.

Hoe dan ook, dat optreden is een verhaal in zichzelf, dat uiteindelijk in documentaire-vorm beschikbaar is gekomen. Op 30 juni 2023 deelde David Lee Roth de video via zijn eigen YouTube kanaal.

Voor de liefhebbers, die er genoeg van kunnen krijgen, hierbij het gehele concert.


Romeo Delight / Unchained / Drum Solo / The Full Bug / Runnin’ With The Devil / Jamie’s Cryin’ / So This Is Love? / Little Guitars / Bass Solo / Dancing In The Street / Somebody Get Me A Doctor / Dance The Night Away / Cathedral / Secrets / Everybody Wants Some!! / Ice Cream Man / Intruder / (Oh) Pretty Woman / Guitar Solo / Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love / Bottoms Up!

Happy Trails / You Really Got Me

Eddie Van Halen over de show

Na de show en nog voor de uitgave van het 1984 album sprak journalist Steve Rosen met Eddie Van Halen over de show tijdens het US Festival en andere zaken. Eddie Van Halen had het volgende te melden over het US Festival optreden.

How did you feel about your performance at the US Festival?

I thought I did very well. I thought I played real good. It’s a difficult period when you haven’t played in front of an audience at all for that long, three or four months. “Jump,” off the next album, is the only new song we had a chance to do.
That whole US Festival to me was like the world’s quickest tour. We rehearsed for it like a tour. We had to design the amp setup, the lights, everything. It was like a tour except there was only one show. After we got done with that one show I said, “Well, where are we going after this show?” And it was home.
You get yourself psyched up for a show and you want to do more when you’re done. You’re just getting warmed up after the first one. Normally, we do ten shows before we hit any major markets to get back into the swing of playing.
The whole US Festival to me was a pain in the ass. The only thing it received in print was how much we made. All you hear about the US Festival was how many people got killed on our day and the money we made. I’m still wearin’ the same pair of shoes and the same pair of pants.

What did you think of the video they made?

Alex [Van Halen] and Pete [a member of the lighting crew] edited it and I thought it was real good. I think it was excellent.

I remember you mentioning earlier that you weren’t real happy with the camera crew at the festival.

It was ridiculous. There was a camera on me and it was like the guy would put his camera underneath the stage and take off and take a piss or smoke a cigarette and come back and put the camera back up. Five minutes later he was gone again. Union camera guys just don’t listen. They don’t want to put up with screaming kids. They don’t want to put their ears above the stage so they can hear the music.
For the amount of money that we made, we lost more than it was ever worth. A million-and-a-half dollars sounds like a lot, but whet you can lose that much in return video-wise and every other way. On top of that they offered us the money, we didn’t demand it.

Returning to the US Festival for one moment. The day you headlined was billed as Heavy Metal Day. Do you feel something in common musically with the various support bands, that included Ozzy, the Scorpions, Judas Priest and Triumph?

I didn’t really even realize what bands played with us, it didn’t even hit me until I was over at Donn’s house watching it on Showtime. I’m going, “Now I know what they mean by heavy metal.” The bands kept changing; our manager kept telling us, “Well, you’re playing with so-and-so.”
I think it changed up until the day we played, and it wasn’t until sitting at Donn’s house watching the tube and seeing who actually played with us that it dawned on me. I think the only way we really fit in was volume-wise.
I don’t consider Van Halen heavy metal at all. I don’t even know what the word means. Heavy metal? It’s a good name for a magazine.

The direction those bands are heading in doesn’t interest you?

I don’t listen, I don’t listen at all. I don’t listen to anything. I listen to Donn, I listen to Al. I can’t remember the last time I bought a tape. The last time I did it was Brand X or Bill Bruford. Things like that. It’s been years since I bought any kind of rock ‘n’ roll record or tape.
That doesn’t mean I can’t rock ‘n’ roll. What is rock ‘n’ roll? It’s a feeling put out at a high volume. To me, heavy metal is just rock ‘n’ roll. I guess the more leather and studs you wear the more heavy metal it is. So, I wear funny striped clothes.
Sometimes the way you see yourself isn’t the way others do. I sure as hell don’t see us as heavy metal. I don’t really try to do anything but something interesting and different than the last thing I did. I don’t think I always succeed, but I try.
I don’t sit down and listen to our stuff and go, “Is this different than the last one?” I don’t care. Because what I come up with is what I come up with. I don’t compare. A thing Alex always says is, “This is going to be our sixth volume.” What if you were married and you have your sixth kid or your wife is about to have your sixth kid? Are you going to say, I hope he’s going to be different.” You know? You can’t judge all six of your babies, they’re part of you. You just can’t. That’s up for critics to do, I guess.
If they want to think it’s different, let ‘em. Let ‘em read into it what ain’t there. I don’t really care. I definitely don’t write for anybody but myself. If people want to consider it stupid, bang-your-head-against-the-wall rock ‘n’ roll, fine. Then I guess that’s what I like to do.

Obviously, people don’t think that.

To tell you the truth, I don’t care. I wouldn’t put my life into something that I considered stupid. I enjoy it. I think other people get off on it, so what the hell?

© 1983 Guitar International

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