Vintage Concert Bill: Van Halen - St. Paul Civic Center Theater - 24th July 1979 Print E-mail
Written by Bill Lindsey   
Sunday, 30 June 2013 03:00


Van Halen - St. Paul Civic Center Theater - 24th July 1979


"LOOK AT ALL THE PEOPLE HERE TONIGHT!!!!" roared an enthusiastic David Lee Roth to the sold out St. Paul Civic Center Theater crowd. All the people there that night went apeshit in approval! All this excitement band and fans generated was about V.H.'s first heading tour of the U.S. and their recently released Van Halen 'II' album climbing the charts. The Pasadena, California bar band was already on its way to being the Hardest, Heaviest, Big Rockin' Metal band in the world. Oh Yeah! World domination was apparent and assured shortly after the release of the self titled first album.


My good buddy Mark told me "Bill, you will LOVE this record" while I stood holding the S/T VH in my hands at the downtown Musicland location a year earlier. And he was 100% correct! I loved that damn record and wore it out by continued spins on the turntable. The band came to town 4th on a bill that included Montrose and Journey but I missed that show. I make my friends who were there tell me about it again and again.


So when Van Halen 'II' was released there was NO WAY I was missing that show! My buddies Mark and Mike were with me and we were good to go! Loads of people were asking if we had tickets for sale out on the sidewalks in front of the venue. But there was no way we were giving up ours. What was all the fuss about you ask?


Well... Eddie Van Halen's pioneering style of guitar playing was turning heads and turning on fans to the "new breed" of Heavy Metal bands that had been weened on Sabbath and Zeppelin. The genre was in a good place at this time! Eddie, his powerhouse brother Alex on drums (one of my all time favorites by the way), Mike Anthony (bass and excellent back ground/harmony vocals), plus frontman extraordinaire "Diamond" David Lee Roth were riding a metal wave that would continue to gain momentum for many more years to come.


The anticipation was high to see this band shift from support band to headliners in one short year.




The whole show did not just simply begin, it fucking EXPLODED in our faces! Heavy double kick cannon shots and space alien stun guitar blasted us right in the chops as a million white lights snapped on to reveal Roth in mid-air splits.


I had not witnessed such crazy, high energy from a band since the first KISS and Aerosmith shows I'd seen back in the mid '70s. GOD DAMN V.H. was ON FIRE!!!!


Second song and Alex rips into a short and powerful drum solo and then stands high on his bass drums and pounds a can of Shlitz Malt Liquor for good measure. Eddie was unbridled and hyper, jumping all over and literally running up the front of his towering Marshall stacks!! To see a legendary band in the prime of their career is a thing to behold. It was monu-MENTAL and exciting. They played damn near the whole first and second albums that night. 'On Fire', 'Lighting Up The Sky', 'Running With The Devil', 'Dance The Night Away', 'Somebody Get Me A Doctor'! Plus Eddie's showcase of 'Eruption' and 'Spanish Fly'!!


They had not one but two different back drops which Roth pulled back to reveal at some point towards the end of the night. I believe I was at the first of two shows. The second the following night I heard was just as intense and fun. After the show let out we went around to the back of the venue and waited as each member came out and got into a limo that whisked them away to some kick ass party or orgy.


Roth was the last man out and I heard security ask one of the band's handlers where he was..."Dave's taking a shit" was the reply! But we waited for him to do his duty and watched him make his way to the limo as well. I swear to God!! I'll never forget anything about that night!




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