August 6th, 1978. It’s a steamy, hot day under the blaring sun in Oklahoma City. A crowd of very sweaty, very buzzed rock and roll fans are burning up, anxiously awaiting for the next band to hit the stage. Have no fear, the Ice Cream Man, King Edward and Van Halen are here to keep ’em cool!
On this day in 1978 Van Halen performed a rare day-time concert at the State Fair Grandstand in Oklahoma City as part of the Super Rock ‘78/Oklahoma Jam Festival. The band shared a bill with Wet Willie, U.K., Stillwater, Rick Derringer, Montrose, Missouri, Head East, Climax Blues Band, Black Oak along with Alvin Lee & Ten Years Later. The cost of a ticket was just $10 in advance, $15 on the day of the show.
According to a 2015 article by the Oklahoma Gazette, David Lee Roth managed to draw some extra attention off stage:
There were many legendary moments at this event, but a favorite is when Roth approached his idol, Black Oak Arkansas lead singer Jim Dandy, backstage, leaped onto a table, danced and bet the musician he “could get more dollars” than Dandy. As the story goes, Dandy accepted the challenge and lost.
– The Oklahoma Gazette (2015)
Surprising, though, that Roth and the band left “Ice Cream Man” out of the setlist that day. Perhaps Diamond Dave ran out of puddin’ pie banana and dixie cups?
This wasn’t the first time Van Halen had performed in Oklahoma that year and it wouldn’t be the last. They played Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa on April 4th and returned in September of ’78, this time as the opening act for Black Sabbath at the Tulsa Assembly Center in Tulsa. The Oklahoma Gazette wrote of that performance: “Fans and critics widely agreed that the eye-opening, agile opening act easily upstaged the headliner, Black Sabbath, on almost every night of this tour.”
Below is Van Halen’s entire set from August 6th, 1978 posted to YouTube by Spotlight Kid. A killer set from Roth, Eddie, Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony!
- On Fire
- I’m The One
- Bass Solo
- Runnin’ with The Devil
- Atomic Punk
- Drum Solo
- Little Dreamer
- Feel Your Love Tonight
- Ain’t Talkin Bout Love
- Guitar Solo
- You Really Got Me
- Bottoms Up!