Scott L Praegitzer | home
Van Halen became the second band that really meant a lot to me, in my youth. I can remember the day my friends and I bought their first album. We were in high school, and there were rumors that either Alex or Eddie were 15 years old. We thought that was cool. My friend said, "you gotta hear this," and proceeded to play the "Eruption" cut off the album. We were floored. We had never heard guitar playing like that before - but in subsequent years, heard it all too much! I think Eddie was a truly "often imitated, never equaled," gifted musician.
My friends and I skipped school the day that "Women and Children First" was released. This was a very special day, because it coincided with the day that Van Halen was playing the Memorial Coliseum, in Portland Oregon. This would be our FIRST concert experience. We met at school and then drove to the local grocery store to get some doughnuts for the 60 minute ride to Portland. We thought we were busted when we saw the Vice Principal at the store, but he was cool - said he saw nothing. We then drove to Salem, to Rising Sun Records on Commercial Street (no longer in business) and bought the 8-TRACK TAPE to listen to on the way up.
That was a great day. We spent along time in line and fought our way to some pretty decent seats (remember GENERAL ADMISSION?), but it was worth it. The first band was completely AWESOME. A Seattle group called RAIL. The drummer would break drum sticks and simultaneously throw them out to the audience, never missing a beat. I always looked for them to make it big, but don't think they did. A shame.
I only really remember one thing about the Van Halen set, some one in the audience threw one of those green fluorescent glow sticks on stage, and I swear to god, David Lee Roth picked it up and threw it back in the audience directly to me! I caught it and thought it was pretty cool. I kept it a few years I think, but my moving from place to place finally lead me to be less "sentimental" about such things.
I have seen Van Halen the most in concert out of any other group. I have both happy and painful (which shall remain pushed back into the dark recesses of my mind) memories related to those concerts.
I picked up the Van Halen collection (special Re-mastered set) I have listed from BMG, because this was the era that meant the most to me. I liked the "Sammy" era too, but the David Lee Roth years are yet another link to my lost youth.
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