I'm blurry on the exact dates, so forgive me.
I was in Jr. High, and I loved Van Halen. They were touring and were coming to play in Shreveport, LA, which is about 60 miles from my home town. I wanted to go, and I had a friend named Traci who had an older (driving) brother who was going to the show. Somehow we convinced our mothers that it would be a good idea if her beer-slamming, weed-smoking, insanely irresponsible older brother and his equally dipshitty friend let us tag along in his white kidnapper van (you know the kind: windows only in the driver's area) to the show.
So we went. And yes I still have the ticket stub, but everything from that evening is a long-ago blur.
Here's what I DO remember:
When we got to the concert venue, the Older Brother and His Friend disowned us. They basically told our 14 yr. old asses to get lost until after the concert (when then, and only then, were we allowed to meet them back at The Van). I guess they figured we would cock block them, which we totally would've.
So Traci and I made our way into the venue--a big dome-ish thing with general admission and poor ventilation. The entire place reeked of old beer and weed.
We landed some seats stage right in the lower balcony. I'm sure there was an opening band, but I have no recollection of it. But I will never forget when the lights in the arena suddenly dropped, a million Bic lighters were hoisted, and the first notes of Eddie Van Halen's guitar were heard. Pandefuckingmonium. The lights came up and Van Halen took the stage. But the only person that I saw on that stage was David Lee Roth.
I was breathless. I'd seen pictures of him in magazines and seen a few Van Halen videos on that brand new thing called MTV, but nothing had remotely prepared me for what I was looking at: a preening, unbridled, 20-something, testosterone-filled peacock with a huge bulge in the front of his impossibly tight pants.
It was mesmerising.
Now remember: this is back before Diamond Dave became a sad caricature of himself, Alex lost his hearing, and Eddie rotted his teeth out of his head. This is when they were all (yes, even Michael Anthony) on fucking fire and tearing up arenas all over the country.
Dave was shirtless. His chisled chest was hairy--unlike the pussy-ass manscaped rockstars of today. His bleached hair was a long lion's mane. He wore low slung white leather pants with red fringe running down the outside of each leg. And although it sounds completely ridiculous to write this considering his getup: He was smoking hot. He moved like an athletic snake and belted out the lyrics like a man on a mission to blow out the back of the arena with his voice and then fuck as many women as humanly possible. He seemed ten times larger than life.
After the show was over, Traci and I found The Van, and her wasted brother somehow got us all home alive. I remember lying under the daisy-printed bedspread in one of the twin beds in Traci's bedroom that night, my ears still ringing from the loudness of the show, and grinning to myself in the dark as I remembered each squeal of his voice and each thrust of his hips during the show.
I stayed loyal to Van Halen, and Dave, until 1984--the year and the album. After that, I couldn't handle what became of the cartoonish "California Girls" Dave and Van Hagar. It was just too damn sad to watch, and I had a new breed of boys attracting my attention (Bono, John Taylor of Duran Duran, Michael Stipe, etc.).
Flash forward to this week:
A dear friend of mine from my days in Chicago posted the following video (which features one half of my favorite comedy duo, Tim and Eric) on my Facebook page without comment.
Yes, this video is funny and the song is catchy, but I still can't help but be a bit saddened by how accurately it portrays the silly, larger-than-life "Diamond Dave" persona that Mr. Lee Roth created for himself.
Oh well...I'll always have a special place in my loins for DLR, along with a very happy memory of that night in Shreveport.