The rock website Louder has placed Van Halen’s 1977 concert at the Pasadena Convention Center among the 32 greatest live moments in the entire history of the guitar.
The list was compiled by the staff at Classic Rock magazine and aimed to “celebrate the pioneering, the spectacular and the unrepeatable” with their history of the guitar’s greatest onstage moments.
Here is what they had to say about Van Halen’s ’77 show at the Pasadena Convention Center a.k.a. “The Pasadena Civic” on October 15th, 1977:
Van Halen show us what they’re made of
Pasadena Convention Center, 1977
If any concert marked the arrival of Van Halen, it was this (since widely bootlegged) performance in their home city just weeks after recording their game-changing debut album.
Guitarist Eddie Van Halen, then only 22, was already very much the full package, from those perfectly overdriven tones to his whammy-bar stunts and, arguably the most groundbreaking of all, the two-handed licks covering great distance at high speed with natural finesse. Armed with a killer set of their earliest songs, the band were taking no prisoners, which is what makes the recordings such a wildly enticing listen all these years later — dazzling charisma and talent captured in its full, unadulterated glory.
Guitar music would never be the same again. “Friends, it’s true, Van Halen is here,” singer David Lee Roth said with a grin as Eddie tuned his higher strings. “Do you know when we started out here, there weren’t too many people, but now it appears things have changed!”
Below is audio of the show along with the setlist from the 10/15/77 show from the Van Halen YouTube channel VANHALENARCHIVE:
- “On Fire”
- “Feel Your Love Tonight”
- “Runnin’ With The Devil”
- “Atomic Punk”
- “Little Dreamer”
- “Somebody Get Me A Doctor”
- “Ice Cream Man”
- “Ain’t Talkin”Bout Love”
- “You Really Got Me”
EDDIE!! EDDIE!!! Eddie Van Halen Makes Louder‘s List Twice
Eddie Van Halen made yet another appearance on Louder‘s list, this time as part of the 1988 Les Paul tribute concert:
Giving it their all for Les Paul
Brooklyn Academy Of Music, 1988
On August 18, 1988, a now-hard-to-fathom collection of famous guitarists got together to celebrate the life and music of guitar great Les Paul, who was 73 at the time. The show, which was released on VHS (with an ridiculously long title), brought Paul on to the same stage with Eddie Van Halen, David Gilmour, Brian Setzer (who bellowed: “Hey, Eddie Van Halen, get your butt up here, man!”), BB King, Stanley Jordan, Steve Miller and even Waylon Jennings.
This show has become even more poignant now that some of its biggest stars — Paul, Eddie and BB — have passed on. It’s a bit like that video of George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr performing While My Guitar Gently Weeps in 1987; it was cool then, but it’s priceless now.
Read the rest of Louder‘s list of the 32 greatest live moments in the entire history of the guitar HERE.