Rhino Factoids: The last performance by the original Van Halen lineup
30 years ago today, at the Nuremberg, Germany date of the Monsters of Rock Tour 1984, David Lee Roth performed what would prove to be his final gig as frontman for Van Halen for many, many years, but even now, it remains the last time the original four members of the band – Roth, Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, and Michael Anthony – performed together.
Despite the tremendous commercial success of the 1984 album, its singles, and its videos – “Jump,” “I’ll Wait,” “Panama,” and “Hot for Teacher” were all hits in one capacity or another – the man known as Diamond Dave was finding himself increasingly at odds with Eddie and Alex, resulting in a perpetual state of tension within the band. Given the amount of time the members of Van Halen were spending together on the road, this was a very bad thing, indeed.
Although Roth was still technically within the ranks of Van Halen after the band concluded its obligations to the Monsters of Rock tour, his first tentative steps into a solo career proved so successful – surely we all remember the Crazy from the Heat EP – that it wasn’t hard for Roth, who’d begun to find Van Halen’s music “morose” anyway (that’s what he said in his autobiography), to make his official departure from the band on April 1, 1985. While Roth and the Van Halen brothers would eventually reconcile sufficiently to go back on the road for a full-fledged reunion tour in 2007, the shows were done without Michael Anthony, which means that, as it stands at the moment, the Nuremberg date remains the last proper Van Halen concert ever.
What did they play? Oh, you know, a little of this, a little of that. They opened with “Unchained,” went into “Hot for Teacher,” and then after a drum solo from Alex, it was on to “On Fire,” “Runnin’ with the Devil,” “Little Guitars,” and “House of Pain.” At that point, Mr. Anthony got a chance to show off his skills in a bass solo, followed by “I’ll Wait,” “Everybody Wants Some!!,” “Oh, Pretty Woman,” “1984,” and “Jump.” Cue Eddie’s guitar solo, and then it was time to bring it on home with the one-two punch of “Panama” and “You Really Got Me.”
All told, the last performance by the classic Van Halen lineup provided concertgoers with a pretty decent sampling of the band’s career up to that point. It’s just a shame we haven’t been able to hear them do it again since.