Van Halen kicked off their legendary 1984 world tour on January 18th.
Michael Anthony, Neil Zlozower and Tim McCrum share their memories of that first show, below. McCrum also shares his photos from that night exclusively with VHND, and Eddie recalls how massive that tour was.
It was a sold out crowd of 11,628 people who got to witness Van Halen’s first show of the massive tour. Shown here are photos from this night—Jan. 18th, 1984— at the Jacksonville Coliseum in Jacksonville, FL. All of these live shots debuting are from Tim Mccrum, the same photographer who shared his story and photos of how he scored killer pictures of Van Halen’s 1981 Tangerine Bowl shows with the Rolling Stones. Tim recently scanned all his 1984 negatives just for the Van Halen News Desk’s readers. Most of these photos have never been seen before!
The band’s photographer, Neil Zlozower, was there. In his book Van Halen, A Visual History, he recounted, “We were in Jacksonville, Florida, for the tour kickoff. At that time the country was having MICHAEL JACKSON fever and Michael could do no wrong. He was plastered all over the TV, newspapers and press. The night before the gig, we were all watching some awards show and Michael swept all the major awards. The next morning my phone rings at 6:30 A.M. and it’s Dave waking me up, saying, “Hey Zloz! I want to do a photo shoot.” I say in my half-asleep voice, “OK, MAN. When?” Dave says, “RIGHT NOW!” So, I go down to his room and he’s all ready to shoot EXCEPT he’s got his hair styled like Michael Jackson did on the awards show the night before. I thought Dave looked fucking COOL! So we shot a few rolls and then I went up to my room and back to sleep.”
Michael Anthony told Rockline, “Would you believe during our very first
show in Jacksonville, Florida, we were doing, “Running With the Devil” and I
went into a squat during the number while Dave flipped over my back. When he
did it though, I realized my pants ripped from front to back and there I was
left playing the rest of the number hunched over. When it was over, Dave went
into his rap, which gave me a chance to run into the quick change booth onstage
Eddie Van Halen on the 1984 tour: “Our live show for the 1984 tour just could not get any bigger, but it was so over the top that we never made any money from it. We had 18 trucks hauling the stage and equipment. That was unheard of. The standard lighting rig had 500 to 700 lights, and we had over 2,000. We could never have topped that. We had the banners with the Western Exterminator guy on them [an illustrated character with a top hat, sunglasses and a large hammer, used in the company’s marketing. We filled the entire place with equipment and lights. Great memories.” —from the February 2014 issue of Guitar World magazine.
Van Halen 1984 Tour items at Van Halen Store:
1984 “Tour of the World” Shirt
Small through 4XL
Vintage 1984 Hammer Guy Pin/Button
Smoking Baby Shirt
Small through 4XL
Photographer Tim Mccrum will never forget this night. There was no way he was going to miss Van Halen’s first show of the ‘1984’ tour, so he and some friends, sans tickets, drove three hours from Orlando to be among the first in line for the Jacksonville show.
The tailgating began at noon, and the drinks started flowing! As for scoring tickets to the sold out show, they found a guy there who had a couple tickets that were originally meant for his son—who was now grounded and couldn’t go. That kid’s bad behavior was Tim’s chance! He happily paid $20 each for the tickets, even though that was a bit over the face value. It was a general admission show, and, after a bit of maneuvering, he made it near the barricade with his camera. Luckily, he has these shots to share with other fans after all these years!
You can follow Timmy Mccrum on his Facebook. A big thanks to Tim for sharing all his fantastic photos!