On March 19th, 1980, Van Halen launched their unforgettable “1980 INVASION” Tour!
Enjoy these AMAZING, newly unearthed photos from that tour. These are extra special because the 1980 tour is probably the least photographed early Van Halen tour, despite how visually awesome the band and stage was.
These shots give us glimpses of some rarely seen aspects of their early shows. In the photo above, there’s Michael Anthony playing the keyboard, and Eddie playing one of his newly purchased Les Pauls for “And The Cradle Will Rock…,”
The photo below shows one of the nightly rituals—roadies filming the crowd (or at least pretending to film the crowd—often their cameras contained no film) to get the crowd going apeshit.
SET LIST for most 1980 shows:
2. Bottoms Up!
3. Drum Solo
10. Bright Lights, Big City
13. On Fire
14. Guitar Solo
16. Ice Cream Man
The 1980 “World Invasion” tour (also dubbed the “Party ‘Til You Die” tour) supported the Women and Children First album and featured an impressive sound system. The stage boasted more than 800 lights on a 64-foot tress, which according to David Lee Roth, was a Guinness world record at the time.
The band got creative when checking into hotels, using all kinds of silly names. Dave liked “Hugh Jazz,” Ed used “Justin Time,” Al followed with “Justin Kase,” and Mike used the moniker still associated with him by diehard fans, “Biff Malibu.”
The last two shots show the “1980 INVASION” backdrop that was used at the end of the show, which there are hardly any photos of.
Offstage, the carnage continued. The band routinely caused hundreds of dollars in damage to their hotel rooms, dressing rooms, and everywhere in between. The tour also saw the birth of the legendary “no brown M&Ms” contract rider.
Another new idea ended up becoming the precursor to the Grid System, which was later introduced in full force on the Diver Down tour. This early version of the Grid System involved several roadies being loaded with backstage passes marked with the letter “Q.” The band would point out a particular female fan in the audience to invite backstage and the roadie would hunt her down and grace her with the pass.