Van Halen 1978-06-01 London, UK "Official Audience" Master Tape

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February 16, 2023 at 12:12 am Quote #66233


Van Halen
June 1, 1978
Hammersmith Odeon
London, England
“Official Audience” Master Tape via JEMS Archive and cpscps
Eddie, Steady, Go! (Vol. VI)
2023 Transfer: Master/source cassette > Nakamichi DR-1 azimuth-adjusted transfer > Sound Devices 744T 24/96 capture > iZotope RX and Ozone 8 > MBIT+ resample to 16/44 > FLAC > finishing via Audacity 3.2.3 and TLH
01 On Fire
02 I’m the One
03 Bass solo
04 Running With the Devil
05 Atomic Punk
06 Drum solo
07 Little Dreamer
08 Feel Your Love Tonight
09 Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love
10 Guitar solo/Eruption
11 You Really Got Me
12 D.O.A.
13 Bottoms Up!
Welcome to “Eddie, Steady, Go!”, a series of master tapes capturing Van Halen on its first U.K. tour, opening for Black Sabbath in 1978.
How did we luck into this treasure trove? As David Lee Roth himself would say, take a look at this! Almost 20 years ago, our benefactor, jamhead64, got these tapes — the underlying source of all known copies of these recordings — from a friend of his girlfriend. That fellow got them from a resident of a building he worked at as a doorman when he was younger. The resident had a relative who worked for the band at the time, and they’d had a falling out. The resident gave the tapes to the doorman. One break, coming up!
When these shows were originally posted, many were quick to point out that they were not true soundboards — as in direct line recordings — but high-quality audience tapes, albeit with almost no crowd interference whatsoever.
Given our familiarity with uncannily similar-sounding recordings of Bruce Springsteen made the prior year by his crew, we’re fairly confident the Van Halen U.K. ’78 tapes were done the same way, perhaps at the direction of someone in management (“fifth member” Pete Angelus’s name appears on one of the original Maxell UD 120 cassettes).
That roadie set up professional microphones on a stand at the soundboard (or another location front-of-house), which explains the confusing attribution of this material as “soundboard recordings.” Thankfully for us, what that person was really doing was documenting music history.
As so-called soundboard recordings, they first surfaced and circulated in the early 2000s, having been transferred from the original cassettes to MiniDisc (a lossy format) then to CD-R. Now for the first time, the master tapes have been given proper azimuth-adjusted, pitch-corrected transfers and captured in full resolution.
Perhaps due to their fuzzy lineage and the limitations of the original transfers, these recordings have not gotten their due. But it’s time to reevaluate: the new transfers and mastering have resulted in detailed, full-fidelity recordings of excellent quality, especially remarkable for a band whose early audience captures aren’t generally known for their sonic qualities. Here, the instrument separation is outstanding, and the mix well balanced, too.
For some time, jamhead64 intended to do new transfers. With the help of our pal cpscps, all seven of what one could call the Van Halen U.K. ’78 “official audience recordings” were redone earlier this year, using the Nakamichi > Sound Devices method detailed above.
London, June 1, 1978
Finally! London is ready for Van Halen! Bruce Springsteen fans will surely appreciate that exclamation, which adorned posters at the time of his London debut in 1975 at this very venue, the storied Hammersmith Odeon.
Playing this recording, the penultimate entry in the “Eddie, Steady, Go!” series, a few comparisons are fitting between Springsteen and Van Halen. The taping one we’ve covered, but this file set features an audience that’s surely content to show that it’s waiting for Black Sabbath to appear. Anyone standing in its way had better make an unimpeachable case. (Springsteen was the lone act, but recalled facing an audience that was skeptical to some degree, no doubt due in part to the hype surrounding the Born to Run LP.)
The VH set feels a bit formal until about mid-way, after which things really begin to click. “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” is a turning point: the vibe between the band and the crowd takes its form, things take off, and the band floors it to the end.
June 1 features ten songs (plus solos for each player) including another outing for “Bottoms Up!” in one of the series’ infrequent two-song encores. Alas, as the final song, it fades out after just over two minutes. If there was ever an outro I wanted to hear, it’s from this gig.
The sonic quality of this one cuts two ways: it’s something of a straight shot from the PA to the mic stand, resulting in an unobstructed capture and truly outstanding sound quality — a crown jewel in the series for sure. If there is a quibble to be had, it’s an instance where, yeah, if I heard just a *bit* more of the audience response, I wouldn’t mind. Van Halen more than earns it, and by the end of the set, London cheers for more from the guys from Pasadena. Well done indeed, fellas!
Huge thanks to jamhead64 for allowing these historic recordings to be worked on again and to cpscps for making the excellent transfers and bringing us into the project. We hope jamhead64 and VH Nation are as pleased with the results as we are. Shout-out to Professor Goody for help with pitch corrections. Lastly, a tip of the hat to the good folks who keep the lights on at the Van Halen News Desk, which serves as a terrific resource.
Watch for Volume VII in the coming weeks. And please keep the feedback coming: we read the remarks and are thrilled with the response to “Eddie, Steady, Go!”.
Share it freely, and for free!

February 16, 2023 at 4:47 pm Quote #66243


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