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It’s the 33rd Anniversary of The US Festival ‘Heavy Metal Day’ – I was there…a recap

by on May.29, 2016, under INTERVIEWS, ROCK NEWS, ROCK TOUR DATES, VIDEO

It’s the 33rd Anniversary of The US Festival ‘Heavy Metal Day’ – I was there…a recap

Today is the 32nd Anniversary of the 1983 US Festival. The US Festivals (US pronounced like the pronoun, not as initials) were two early 1980s music and culture festivals sponsored by Steve Wozniak, formerly of Apple Computer. The first was held Labor Day weekend in September 1982 and the second was Memorial Day weekend in May 1983. The 1982 US Festival was the first major festival since Cal Jam II that was not a charity concert—it was intended to be celebration of evolving technologies; a marriage of music, computers, television and people. That continued in 1983, even though Wozniak had lost millions on the first US Festival. The festival also had large air-conditioned tents featuring the US Festival Technology Exposition— a dazzling display of then-cutting edge computers, software, and electronic music devices. Also making a debut were installations of "out-door rain" - perforated pvc nozzles that sprayed water to fight the fierce hundred degree heat.

I attended Heavy Metal Day in 1983 with my friend Robert and arrived on Saturday May 28 during New Wave Day. There was a sea of cars, miles of them, and thousands of people milling around everywhere. School buses would take you back and forth to the entrance to this new make-shift venue. I do remember shortly after finding a spot to park some guys in a panel truck backed in asking if the spot was taken opposite of us. We said "no", they parked and then opened up the back of the truck, loaded with two kegs and the party was on.

There was small creek within walking distance near by, and we walked over there to cool off since it was close to 100 degrees that day. There was a hillside with a sharp incline on the other side of the creek, and many people scaled (or tried to scale) it during the day and in the time we were there. There was plenty of poison ivy around so you weren't going to catch me scaling anything. I saw a few people walk right through or fall onto poison ivy, I could imagine that probably made the concert the next day really fun. I also remember hearing Oingo Boingo, English Beat and Flock Of Seagulls during the day when we were within the vicinity of the venue.

Steve Wozniak paid for the bulldozing and construction of this new open-air field venue as well as the construction of an enormous state-of-the-art temporary stage at Glen Helen Regional Park near Devore, San Bernardino, California. This site was later to become home to Blockbuster Pavilion—now San Manuel Amphitheater. Apparently the festival stage has resided at the Disneyland theme park in California since 1985 and had operated under various names and functions as the Videopolis dance club, the Videopolis Theatre, and the Fantasyland Theatre. On that day it was soon to have some of the best rockers of the era on it.

As darkness fell and more and more people arrived for Heavy Metal Day, one big night-time Rock Festival within itself started. KMET and KLOS blared from car stereos, as well as music from the cassette decks and boom boxes of the bands we would be hearing the next day. The smell of BBQ's and marijuana billowed into the air. We walked around in this small city of rockers that seemingly extended forever. It definitely was one huge party, with bonfires everywhere and virtually no supervision. We partied that night, and went to sleep in the car eagerly anticipating what was to come the next morning.

We woke up, stretched out from sleeping in odd positions in the car, and made our way the few miles to the entrance to the venue. It was early in the morning, probably 8am or so, and there was already thousands of people waiting to get inside, looking to get as close to the stage as possible. Once we got inside concert goers had layed blankets down, taking claim to their spots. Somehow a few got in, considering there was no coolers, outside food, chairs or towels being allowed. Those with blankets, etc., lasted for awhile, but slowly but surely, as the day progressed, so did the intensity of the crowd. Needless to say, no one was sitting down or laying on a blanket and all of that was swallowed up in this mass of people.

Here was the lineup and times:
Sunday May 29th:
Quiet Riot [12:10 - 12:50 pm]
Motley Crue [1:20 - 2:20]
Ozzy Osbourne [2:50 - 4:00]
Judas Priest [4:30 - 5:40]
Triumph [6:10 - 7:20]
Scorpions [7:55 - 9:10]
Van Halen [10:00 - midnight]

Finally the time had arrived with the first rock act hitting the stage: Quiet Riot. Randy Rhoads (who left to play with Ozzy in 1979) had passed away by now, and Quiet Riot had long since found Carlos Cavazo to play guitar. The Los Angeles metal scene was taking over, and Quiet Riot as well as Motley Crue were the two biggest new bands to come out of L.A. at this time. Quiet Riot was raring up the charts with the "Metal Health" album, which ultimately became the first metal album to go #1 on the Billboard charts. The late Kevin DuBrow instantly got the crowd fired up, and it didn't stop for hours! Heat exhaustion to go around!


"It was the day new wave died and rock n' roll took over" - Vince Neil, in a famous quote regarding the overwhelming attendance on Sunday, "Heavy Metal Day", at the '83 US Festival. It set the single-day concert attendance record for the US with an estimated 375,000 people. Showtime recorded the event and aired a 90-minute special for each day of
the festival, which is where most of this footage comes from. Motley Crue had not yet released "Shout At The Devil", but it was due out soon, and the band performed songs from the album. Motley really was coming into their own at this point and their following was growing and growing nation and worldwide.

Ozzy Osbourne rocked the US Festival with the first live performance with guitarist Jake E. Lee, who shined in this huge first gig. The head dress Ozzy wore during the show was well publicized and photographed, even though it only lasted for a few seconds before he tore it off. Ozzy's band at this time included Jake E. Lee, Bob Daisley on Bass, Tommy Aldridge on drums and Don Airey on keyboards. Ozzy released "Bark At The Moon" later that year.
It was blazing hot during his set, with the crowd looking for the "out-door rain" stations to cool off, before heading back into the madness! The concert organizers actually gave away water to the crowd, something that we would be charged $5 bucks for these days.



Judas Priest hit the stage next and thankfully near the end of it, the temperature started to cool down a bit. The Metal God and the rest of the band were at their peak in 1983, a fully confident unit, effortlessly rocking everyone and everywhere they played. The "Screaming For Vengeance" album was just huge, and when the band played "You've Got Another Thing Coming" the crowd went absolutely fucking nuts!

As Canadian trio Triumph got ready to hit the stage next, the crowd got a second wind, as the temperatures dropped and the rock kept on coming. Rik Emmett, Gil Moore and Mike Levine were ready to put on the show of their life, and they didn't disappoint. The band had a great core of material to work with at this point, and had released the album "Never Surrender" earlier in 1983. Great set as the sun set! The band released a live DVD of the US Festival set back in 2003, so there is all of their full set here. They were smart to retain the rights to the video for their set. Awesome footage:








The Scorpions were up next and just fucking blew doors! They were another band who I really felt were at or close to their peak of impact. Sure, they still released "Love At First Sting" a year later, but played the US Festival with a full arsenal of rock from the "Blackout" album and their past catalog. Just an awesome set!!


Before Van Halen hit the stage, there was a fake UFO flying around. It looked so fake, it just seemed stupid and I didn't really see the point in it, somebody was trying to be creative I guess?

Van Halen received an upfront sum of $1 million to headline the 1983 US Festival. It was then upped to $1.5 million after it was discovered that David Bowie was to be paid $1 million. Van Halen had a clause in their contract that they would be paid more than any other act performing at the festival. In contrast, on New Wave Day, The Clash refused to play unless some donations were made to charities or other such noble causes by Wozniak and some of the other major bands. Before the Clash began their set they made angry comments about the barrio conditions in Los Angeles. After The Clash performed, the DJ began speaking right away and Clash guitarist Mick Jones attacked the DJ, believing he was trying to prevent an encore.

This and The Clash's ironic criticism of the festival in the press conferences and in interviews prior to the event caused an argument backstage between Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth and The Clash singer Joe Strummer. This may have also been started by a comment guitarist Eddie Van Halen made in Rolling Stone magazine one month prior regarding the punk movement ("...that's like what I played in my garage when I was a kid, man."). A clearly intoxicated Roth compounded this rivalry by insulting The Clash on stage early during Van Halen's headlining set with his comment, "I wanna take this time to say that this is real whiskey here... the only people who put iced tea in Jack Daniel's bottles is The Clash, baby!" This was Roth's only mention of The Clash on stage that night. Many people in the audience thought Roth was way too drunk and the show suffered because of it. I stayed longer than most however, as it had been a long, long day. We heard "Happy Trails" as we were heading out. Looking back on the video, I wouldn't really change anything about their performance though, because it was Van Halen history!

Here's the band's full set and some better quality clips of some of the individual song performances:




We after we made our way back to our vehicle, partied a bit and mellowed out while recollecting about what an amazing day it had been we crashed and got ready for the trek back home. My one last memory of US Festival '83 goes like this: I became separted from my friend Rob after hopping out of his vehicle to retrieve something from someone while in line to exit. I then couldn't find his car in the sea of vehicles. Don't ask me why I got out of the car..anyway, I was lucky enough to find a couple of guys who I had met before that lived in Pismo Beach, near my hometown. Yeah, I had to ride in the back seat for hours in a Trans Am with virtually no leg room (my knees were up in my face), and couldn't walk when I got out, but these guys gave me a ride to my front door. Looking back, I can't believe my parents let me go to this show, since I was a sophmore in high school, but I am glad they did. My daughter would certainly not be going away to a music festival as decadent as this one, although they don't do festivals like this in the U.S. anymore. It was insane fun and it was my Woodstock and I'll never forget it!

Here's an Artisan News Report from June of 2010 about that years Ozzfest, where Ozzy, Judas Priest's Rob Halford and Motley Crue reflected on the last time they had all played together...it was at the US Festival:


Fast Tube



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Van Halen shut down Hollywood with performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, David Lee Roth injured (video)

by on Mar.31, 2015, under ROCK NEWS, TV ROCK NEWS, VIDEO

Van Halen shut down Hollywood with performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, David Lee Roth injured  (video)

David Lee Roth first ever U.S. television performance with Van Halen happened on Jimmy Kimmel Live! as the band shut down Hollywood Boulevard for a concert before a crowd of about 6,000. The first part of that aired last night, and will continue with taped performances tonight. Dave has grown some hair since his cleanly shaven dome performance for Dave Grohl's birthday bash a couple of months ago, and came away from this show with a nice gash on his nose during their first attempt on "Panama." Watch the mishap and performances below.

Diamond Dave cut himself in the face with a microphone soon after hitting the stage, then pausing the show until he was bandaged up. “I f—ed my nose up with the microphone here,” Roth said. “So we’re gonna start the whole thing over, and give you a little extra for your patience.”

Van Halen with Jimmy Kimmel 3-30-15
photo from Jimmy Kimmel Live

Live renditions of “Panama” and “Runnin’ With the Devil,”

Van Halen's 2015 North American summer and fall tour will kick off July 5 in Seattle, with tickets going on sale April 4. The new live album, Tokyo Dome Live in Concert is out now and includes 23 songs that from all seven of the band’s albums with Roth. It's available in a variety of formats, including as a double CD, digitally and as a four-LP set on 180-gram vinyl.

The group will also be reissuing their first six albums, starting with Van Halen and 1984, which are also out now. Re issues continue later this year with Van Halen II, Diver Down, Fair Warning, and Women and Children First. Van Halen will next perform live on The Ellen DeGeneres Show this Thursday April 2nd.

Van Halen on Jimmy Kimmel promo logo 3-30-15Van Halen Jimmy Kimmel show 2015 aerial view
photo from KABC Los Angeles

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Listen to new tracks from upcoming Van Halen ‘Tokyo Dome Live In Concert’ now streaming

by on Mar.03, 2015, under AUDIO, CD/DVD RELEASES, LINKS, ROCK NEWS, VIDEO

Listen to new tracks from upcoming Van Halen ‘Tokyo Dome Live In Concert’ now streaming

Van Halen announced today that their first-ever live album to feature original singer David Lee Roth is now available for pre-order in multiple formats. Van Halen 'Tokyo Dome Live In Concert' will be available as a 2-CD set, 4-LP set on 180 gram vinyl, and digitally. Now two live tracks from the album, 'Panama' And 'Runnin' With The Devil' are available to listen to below. Pre-order now and get free shipping from www.vanhalenstore.com. The set spans all seven of the band's albums with Roth.

A deluxe collection featuring 'Tokyo Dome Live In Concert' and the newly remastered 'Van Halen' and '1984' albums, as both a four-CD set and a six-LP vinyl set in special packaging, are also available.

'Tokyo Dome Live In Concert' features an electrifying performance by singer David Lee Roth, guitarist Eddie Van Halen, drummer Alex Van Halen, and bassist Wolfgang Van Halen. Mixed by award-winning engineer and mixer Bob Clearmountain (Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Roxy Music, Nine Inch Nails, and many more), and mastered by Chris Bellman, the album features such classic anthems as 'Dance The Night Away,' 'Beautiful Girls,' 'And The Cradle Will Rock…' 'Unchained,' and 'Everybody Wants Some!'” as well as blistering versions of 'Tattoo,' “'he’s The Woman,' and 'China Town' from the group’s most recent studio album, 'A Different Kind of Truth.'

Tokyo Dome Live In Concert tracklisting:

1. Unchained
2. Runnin’ With The Devil
3. She’s The Woman
4. I’m The One
5. Tattoo
6. Everybody Wants Some!!
7. Somebody Get Me A Doctor
8. China Town
9. Hear About It Later
10. (Oh) Pretty Woman
11. Me & You (Drum Solo)
12. You Really Got Me
13. Dance The Night Away
14. I’ll Wait
15. Cradle Will Rock…
16. Hot For Teacher
17. Women In Love…
18. Romeo Delight
19. Mean Street
20. Beautiful Girls
21. Ice Cream Man
22. Panama
23. Eruption (Complete Guitar Solo)
24. Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love
25. Jump

Van Halen Live In Tokyo album cover

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Van Halen first-ever live album featuring David Lee Roth – ‘Tokyo Dome Live In Concert’ now available for pre-order along with newly remastered ‘Van Halen’ and ‘1984’ albums

by on Mar.03, 2015, under CD/DVD RELEASES, LINKS, ROCK NEWS

Van Halen first-ever live album featuring David Lee Roth – ‘Tokyo Dome Live In Concert’ now available for pre-order along with newly remastered ‘Van Halen’ and ‘1984’ albums

Van Halen will release their first-ever live album to feature original singer David Lee Roth on March 31. The performance from June 21, 2013 at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan will be available as a 2-CD set, 4-LP set on 180 gram vinyl, and digitally. Pre-order now and get free shipping from www.vanhalenstore.com. The set spans all seven of the band's albums with Roth.

A deluxe collection featuring 'Tokyo Dome Live In Concert' and the newly remastered 'Van Halen' and '1984' albums, as both a four-CD set and a six-LP vinyl set in special packaging, are also available.

'Tokyo Dome Live In Concert' features an electrifying performance by singer David Lee Roth, guitarist Eddie Van Halen, drummer Alex Van Halen, and bassist Wolfgang Van Halen. Mixed by award-winning engineer and mixer Bob Clearmountain (Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Roxy Music, Nine Inch Nails, and many more), and mastered by Chris Bellman, the album features such classic anthems as 'Dance The Night Away,' 'Beautiful Girls,' 'And The Cradle Will Rock…' 'Unchained,' and 'Everybody Wants Some!'” as well as blistering versions of 'Tattoo,' “'he’s The Woman,' and 'China Town' from the group’s most recent studio album, 'A Different Kind of Truth.'

You can also pre-order now on iTunes & get 'Panama' & 'Runnin' With The Devil' instantly, but no free shipping.
Tokyo Dome Live In Concert tracklisting:

1. Unchained
2. Runnin’ With The Devil
3. She’s The Woman
4. I’m The One
5. Tattoo
6. Everybody Wants Some!!
7. Somebody Get Me A Doctor
8. China Town
9. Hear About It Later
10. (Oh) Pretty Woman
11. Me & You (Drum Solo)
12. You Really Got Me
13. Dance The Night Away
14. I’ll Wait
15. Cradle Will Rock…
16. Hot For Teacher
17. Women In Love…
18. Romeo Delight
19. Mean Street
20. Beautiful Girls
21. Ice Cream Man
22. Panama
23. Eruption (Complete Guitar Solo)
24. Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love
25. Jump

REMASTERS:

Van Halen reinvented the sound of hard rock in 1978 with its influential and wildly successful eponymous debut album and then achieved even greater success six years later with 1984. Both albums would define a generation while selling more than 10 million copies each in the U.S. alone to earn diamond-certification from the RIAA. The band recently went back to the original analog tapes and remastered both of these landmark albums – Van Halen and 1984 – which are now also set for release on March 31, 2015 through Warner Bros. Records with pre-orders through Amazon available now.

Considered one of the greatest debut albums in rock history, Van Halen took the music world by storm in 1978 with an 11-song manifesto that features some of rock radio’s most played songs of all time and scorching concert staples like “Runnin’ With The Devil,” “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love,” “Jamie’s Cryin’,” the band’s signature cover of The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me,” and Eddie Van Halen’s finger-tapping tour de force, “Eruption.” Six years and five albums later, Van Halen had become one of the biggest bands in world around the release of 1984, which includes a number of the band’s most legendary songs such as the #1 hit, “Jump,” “Panama,” and “Hot For Teacher.”

Mastering engineer Chris Bellman, who remastered the original albums for Bernie Grundman Studios, Hollywood, CA, was enlisted for these new versions. In order to produce the original sound the band intended, Bellman cut straight from the quarter-inch tapes for CD; for 180-gram vinyl; and for the digital version. Newly mastered versions of Diver Down, Women and Children First, Van Halen II and Fair Warning are also being cut for each format and will be available soon.

The front and back covers of 'Tokyo Dome Live In Concert' feature famous paintings by Adolf Mouron Cassandre. Roth is a big fan of the art deco era, and chose Cassandre's painting of the SS Normandie for the front cover, with the back cover is similar to Cassandre's painting of the French cruise-liner L'Atlantique.

Photos of 2-CD, 4-CD, 4-LP and 6-LP sets from www.vanhalenstore.com. Order now!

Van Halen Live in Tokyo 2 cd set

Van Halen Live in Tokyo 4 cd setVan Halen Live in Tokyo 4 LP setVan Halen Live in Tokyo 6 LP set

Van Halen Live In Tokyo album cover

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Pearl Jam rock Van Halen medley at concert in Hartford (video)

by on Oct.27, 2013, under ROCK NEWS, ROCK TOUR DATES, VIDEO

Pearl Jam rock Van Halen medley at concert in Hartford (video)

Pearl Jam rocked a Van Halen medley at their concert from Hartford, Connecticut's XL Center this past Friday (October 25). Back in 2010 show at the same venue Pearl Jam played 'Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love,' but this time they added 'Eruption' to another performance of 'Ain't Talkin.'

Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder at Friday's concert: "The last time we played here, in 2010, we played a song and we said it was the only time we would ever play this song. And it was the only time we ever played this song. But as soon as we walked into the back room tonight… I was, like, 'This is where we played that song! And, for some reason, I just really need to play that song again!' But before we play that song, he's (points to lead guitarist Mike McCready) going to play this song."

Congratulations to Pearl Jam at their new album 'Lightning Bolt' sold 166,000 copies in its first week of release to debut at the top of the Billboard 200 album charts this week. It's the band's fifth record to go to No. 1 on the charts.

Pearl Jam Lighting Bolt album cover

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