On this day in 1978, Van Halen played Victoria Hall in Hanley, England. Luckily for us, a great sounding audio recording exists! (Listen below)
This was during Van Halen’s first world tour. They were thrilled to be opening for the legendary Black Sabbath. “The Sabs,” as they called them, were part of their musical youth. To share the stage with them was like a dream come true. The only downfall, as it happened, was that Sabbath’s audience in England was, to quote a original VH crew member we interviewed, “98% male.”
After years of dominating the Los Angeles club scene, the band was used to a certain female element during the backstage gatherings. Backstage at the Sabbath shows, however, the band was disappointed to find nothing but guys looking for autographs. By the time they hit England as Sabbath’s opener, it was apparent that there was a noticeable lack of quality female companionship. Rumor had it that only one member of the road crew got laid during the entire European leg. The lucky winner was greeted by the band and the crew the next morning with the standing ovation and applause. And that probably explains why the rare photo featured here shows Van Halen and Black Sabbath partying backstage together, with no women around!
Ultimately, Dave took this their sexual sabbatical the hardest. He became increasingly more difficult to deal with until the drought finally ended in Japan.
Ozzy Osbourne remarked many years later that Van Halen had a profound effect on him. “One of the reasons I left Sabbath was because Van Halen was blowing us off the stage every night,” he said. “It was embarrassing.”
Listen to Van Halen’s entire May 23rd, 1978 concert, below:
On Fire 0:00
I’m The One 3:09
Bass Solo 7:22
Runnin’ With The Devil 9:30
Atomic Punk / Drum Solo 13:30
Little Dreamer 17:07
Feel Your Love Tonight 20:34
Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love 24:20
Guitar Solo 28:23
You Really Got Me 32:03
Bottoms Up! 36:39
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