Van Halen at Duluth Arena, 1978 and ’79

A while back we started a master list of concerts at the DECC (formerly Duluth Arena) to help people sort out their fuzzy memories of rocking out back in the day. Since the list is kind of a slap together of info submitted to PDD in comments, it contains some incomplete and inaccurate information. (We would like it to be complete and accurate, but that would require a level of diligence we are unwilling to accept.)

We received a note over the weekend from PDD user “duluthyouth” pointing out that “Eddie Money opened for Van Halen in 1979, not who you had listed.”

A search through newspaper microfilm found no review of the 1979 concert, but the advertisement above (from the Duluth News Tribune) indicates “special guests” and specifically notes the band Screams is on the bill.

Here is a clip of Screams from the Mecca Arena in Milwaukee from the same tour.

And here are thumbnails of photos from Ken Kalligher’s MySpace page of Van Halen in Duluth, which Kalligher notes are circa 1979 and “taken w/ a Pentax ME 35mm.”


So, was Eddie Money a special guest at the 1979 Van Halen show? Someone prove it. (Or, you know, substantiate it on some level.)

Another confirmed Van Halen show in Duluth was on March 29, 1978. Journey was the headliner, with Van Halen and Montrose opening the concert for an estimated audience of 800 in the Duluth Auditorium (which is now the DECC’s Symphony Hall).

Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, Van Halen was panned in Rick Shefchik’s review in the Duluth News Tribune.

Van Halen opened, coming on like a poor man’s Black Oak, complete with a lead singer in leather pants and what looked like rhinestones in his chest hair. A lot of jumping, a lot of shouting, a lot of fun with electricity but only “You Really Got Me,” an old Kinks classic, really got me.

14 Comments

emmadogs

about 10 years ago

Rhinestones in his chest hair.  Glow-in-the-dark knee pads.  Blissed-out-Eddie-guitar.

Ah, Van Halen.

I am going to have to research one of those photos, though.  David Lee Roth-airborne-splits-in-Spandax  is post-1979, I think, and circa 1984 if I remember my MTV correctly.

emmadogs

about 10 years ago

Okay, I'm wrong.  David Lee Roth et al were in their weirdo glam phase by the time of 1984.  This photo here is when they were just seriously high on Spandax and whatever else.

Swan

about 10 years ago

I was at the 1979 Van Halen concert and may still have the ticket stub, I'll check. I had seen Eddie Money several times in Duluth, but I do not think or remember him opening for VH. Funny, I remember friends with whom I went and remember the seat and row where I sat, but cannot remember the opening act. Regardless, it was the absolute best and most energetic rock show I ever saw at the DECC (I saw and later worked for most shows at the DECC for 25 years). Very "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" vibe to the show. Shortly after this I started listening to punk rock and seeing bands like Suburbs, Replacements, Husker Du, Soul Asylum et al and never went back to arena rock again.

baci

about 10 years ago

I had been loosing sleep on this one, thanks Paul. My first show at the DECC was Cheap Trick (The Romantics were the opening act) around 1978(79?). After that, like Swan, I too went directly to Minnesota punk.

nicolai

about 10 years ago

I know this might be a reach but do baci or Swan have any old punk and/or hardcore records that you want to get rid of?  I mostly only care about 1980 to '86ish stuff.

Rij

about 10 years ago

Although I was too young to go to the show, I remember hearing rumors that Van Halen had trashed their room at the Radisson so badly that they were banned from ever performing in Duluth again.  I know it sounds outrageous and probably has no real merit. I was just wondering if anyone else remembers hearing the same story.  After all, they never did perform here again.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

I was going to mention that rumor. I've heard it myself many times, but never found a way to verify it.

Maybe I'll call the Radisson and try to book a room under the name Van Halen and see what happens.

Barrett Chase

about 10 years ago

Wikipedia does not list Duluth as a stop on Van Halen's 1979 World Vacation Tour. However, September 25 would fall just between their shows in Regina, Saskatchewan (Sept. 22) and Rapid City, SD (Sept. 28).

There are no stops posted for their First World Tour in 1978.

Barrett Chase

about 10 years ago

I can't vouch for Spandex Air Splits, but Leather Pants Backbends in High Heeled Boots were definitely happening in 1978.

emmadogs

about 10 years ago

You still have that on vinyl?!?!?  Cool!!!
So cool!!!

OK, I've got to call my brother and see if he still has his circa-late-70s Van Halen pants.  I know he burned his Duran Duran look, and I think he got rid of his WWF gear too.  But maybe he hung onto this stuff.

Swan

about 10 years ago

Nicolai, I still have most of it and it is not for sale. I still need to find the time to dig for the ticket stub.

Barrett Chase

about 10 years ago

I was only five when VH's debut came out, so that is a used copy I bought later in life. But I still have the copy of 1984 that I got for my 12th birthday.


zizzer t

about 10 years ago

Two quick points that I find interesting in this whole thing.

I appreciate the Black Oak Arkansas reference in the review because I've always thought early Roth borrowed too much from Jim Dandy (to be fair, rock has always been about "borrowing").

The other item I liked was that Sammy Hagar factors into this whole thing. He was the singer in Montrose (I think he was out by this time), worked with Neil Schon of Journey in a project called HSAS and he replaced Roth in Van Halen.

Thank you and have a great day.

Swan

about 8 years ago

Better late than ever, but VH ticket stub, September 25, 1979.

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