Update 1/18/17: An even clearer version of this 1981 Amsterdam footage has surfaced, embedded above. Enjoy!
This is fantastic! Here’s some high quality footage of Van Halen clowning around in the streets and famous canals of Amsterdam Holland, back in 1981. This is the highest quality and most complete version of this rare footage that we never seen.
Van Halen’s North American tour, in support of their new Fair Warning album, was too expensive to haul to Europe. But after the two final shows of the tour, opening for the Rolling Stones in Orlando, Florida, they did make a quick promotional jaunt to Ed and Al’s home country of Holland to appear on Dutch television.
On the streets of Amsterdam, Diamond Dave is in classic form, stopping people on the street to ask them if they are familiar with Van Halen, local heroes as they are. He’s perfectly comfortable being comically brushed off by nearly all passerby, except for a well-meaning elderly man who mistook him for a French tourist. Dave found his bandmates near a wurst wagon and mock-interviewed them about Van Halen.
Dave continued questioning the band as they cruised the Amsterdam canals. Eddie replied in his native Dutch: “The best city in the world, with the best beer and the best rolmops.” He and Alex glowed with pride, enjoying the royal treatment twenty years after leaving the country as young boys.
So great to see these young, rising rock stars being complete goofballs on the streets of Amsterdam! As an added treat, you can hear the Van Halen brothers speaking Dutch in their home country.
Update 7/13/16: We have some additional info about this video from our friend Michel Schinkel, the president of the defunct Dutch Van Halen fan club, and a contributing writer for VHND. He explains that this trip to Holland was in November of ’81, and the edited footage was broadcast on January 20, 1982 on Veronica Television in The programme Countdown (the same station that aired the Secret Gig in 1995) as part of a special which included the live video for “Unchained,” and the band’s newest single, “Hear About it Later.” This is the unedited footage, which is the raw material without voice over, some of which never aired on TV.
Alex and Eddie are saying (in Dutch) that they are proud to be back home. Eddie mentioned their last album, Fair Warning, and Alex mentioned that they are recording a new album (which would become Diver Down). While walking around, Eddie was recognized by an American tourist.
Lastly, “rolmops,” mentioned by Eddie, is the raw pickled herring (fish) on sour, which was in the plastic bag Dave was carrying. We hear it’s Ed’s favorite!