A new, high quality 9-minute video clip of Van Halen’s performance at the 1983 US Festival has been released online and can be viewed above. This sample clip is the middle section of “Somebody Get Me A Doctor,” which has Van Halen playing a bit of Cream’s “I’m So Glad” before completing “Somebody Get Me A Doctor.”
This footage has bee uploaded by Historic Films Archive, the copyright holder of all the official footage shot of all the bands that played the US Festival. The video clip above is likely to be the only sample of Van Halen’s US Festival performance that the company will release, so don’t hold your breath for more.
Note that this is a low resolution sample, but naturally, their master reels are much better quality. Also note that this uses different camera angles that we have seen in the bootleg that has circulated since the ’80s. The audio is mono and is in the left channel only.
On May 29th, 1983, Van Halen headlined “Heavy Metal Day” at the US Festival, a music festival held at Glen Helen Regional Park in San Bernardino, CA. Van Halen was paid the record-setting fee of $1.5 million. The 1984 Guinness Book of World Records created a new category based upon the price of this performance.
For lots of cool facts about the US Festival, see our Part 2 of our Full Blast & Top Down article.
The Historic Films Archive calls themselves “the most comprehensive source for licensing stock, musical performance and entertainment footage.” Their collection of stock footage spans the years 1895 to 2010 and consists of over 50,000 hours of musical performances, news, lifestyles, travel, fads, fashion, home movies, celebrity “red carpet” events, vintage TV programs, commercials, interviews, silent films, training films, military films, industrials and cartoons. Their footage is available for licensing in all media to professional film producers, television productions, ad agencies, corporate producers and documentary film makers.
Unfortunately, they do not provide films to collectors or for home/private use. So enjoy this sample!