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  1. #1
    Little Dreamer
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    11.12.19 @ 03:48 PM
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    Default My best Van Halen story: MOR (Oxford, ME) & Providence, RI


    Note: This is a re-post of a previous thread that was hijacked and ruined by a few members. I hope it goes better this time. Let's keep this thread fun and positive! :)

    __________________


    The year was 1988. I was 15 years old, and a huge Van Halen fan. I couldn't go to the Monsters of Rock show in Foxboro because my father was getting re-married that day and I was forced to go to his wedding. Don't even get me started on the 80s-style powder blue tuxes my brothers and I had to wear. Talk about adding insult to injury. Needless to say, during the entire irritating experience, I was imagining the MOR concert. Not to be defeated, though, my metal buddy and I got tickets to the show in Oxford, ME, and his mother agreed to drive us up there from Rhode Island. The traffic was so bad that by the time she dropped us off and we got into the speedway, Dokken was about halfway through their set. It sucked missing Metallica, but I was mainly there for VH.

    What a day. I remember at one point being down deep in the crowd, closer to the stage, and the crowd just surged, like a tide, and it just swept me up and almost crushed me. I'm not very big, and it was actually quite scary. I vividly remember a really big guy in front of me, also caught in the tide, seeing my distress and looking at me with real sympathy. I never forgot that. Then, later, there were torrential downpours, thunder, lightening. Scary shit. Thunderstorms in Maine are no joke, let me tell you. I remember the Scorpions literally sloshing through water onstage. They would come out and play a song or two and then have to leave the stage for like 30 minutes, then they'd come back, play a couple more songs, lighting would start again and they'd leave the stage. I think their set ended up taking at least 2 hours total, most of that offstage. It sucked, because from everything I've read, they normally put on a great show that tour.

    I recall huddling under the awning a vendor cart or something with my buddy, trying to stay out of the rain, even though we were already soaked to the skin. It was pretty miserable at times, truth be told. Just to give you an idea as to how bad the weather was that day, by the time Van Halen came on there were only a few hundred people left, maybe a thousand. From 60,000 down to a few hundred. I remember seeing Eddie peaking out from behind the stage before they came on, maybe seeing how many people were left. I also remember that when they started, Sammy said that they'd play their full set (which got me excited), but they didn't. They played for maybe an hour, which wasn't enough for me, but it was better than nothing. If I recall correctly, it didn't rain during their set, they played well, and I felt pretty happy watching them. It also felt kind of cool being one of only a few hundred die hard fans who stuck it out to the end. A hellish day, in many ways, but what an experience.

    Flash forward to Van Halen's show on October 17 at the Providence Civic Center. My mother had scored 10th row seats and backstage passes(!!!) through an acquaintance (thank you forever, mom!), so I was super excited...even if I was going with my family, none of whom where VH fans; I have no idea why they went, to be honest, and it felt dorky to be going with my family, but whatever. 10th row, and backstage passes!!

    Anyhow, remember that these were the days when people would throw banners and t-shirts and panties and all kinds of stuff on the stage at VH shows? Well, about a month or so before the show, I went to the mall and made up 5 t-shirts, all of which said, on the front, "I SURVIVED MONSTERS OF ROCK, OXFORD ME, JUNE 25, 1988", and on the back of each one, I wrote one of their names, and the fifth one just said "Van Halen." So, at some point in the show, I huck the one with "Van Halen" towards the stage. I see it land and breathe a sigh of relief that it made it okay. Later on, between songs, Sammy picks it up, and I get really excited. He's picking up my shirt! He's picking up my shirt!!!! He looks at it and laughs, which made me even more excited. But it doesn't end there. He brings it over to Eddie, shows it to him, and Eddie laughs, too! EDDIE VAN HALEN is laughing at a shirt that I made!!! Holy shit!!! Then Sammy asks the audience who made it. I go apesh*t, screaming that it's me, but I'm 10 rows back, and obviously he can't see or hear me. So, screw this, I bolt for the stage. A huge security guy tries to stop me. I scream hysterically "That's my shirt!!!" He guffaws, but I just sprint past him. I get up to the barrier and am screaming at Sammy that it's my shirt. He looks at me and says something like, "You made this?" I scream, "Yes!!" But then I see him look a few yards to my left. Someone over there is claiming that THEY made the shirt, which was a total lie, of course, but Sammy couldn't know that. I was so pissed! By this time the entire show has come to a halt because of my t-shirt, and Sammy is looking between me and the liar. At that point he waves it all off, saying "Aw, fuck y'all," or something like that. I am obviously beside myself. But, lo and behold, my older brother, as though on a mission from the rock gods, appears behind me with another one of the shirts. I gratefully snatch it from his hand and turn around, face Sammy, and hold it up triumphantly. The moment when Sammy saw it and realized that the shirt really was from me is one of the best moments of my life. Even now, just thinking about it, I get chills. Sammy comes over to the front of the stage with a big smile, reaches out and slaps me high five. (Oh my god!!!) Then I think Eddie gave me a thumbs up from over on his side, but I'm not sure. It was utter chaos in my 15-year-old brain at that moment. I do remember Mike tossing me a beer, and I caught it. It was a can of Budweiser. A security guy immediately snatched it out of my hand, but I didn't care, because I wasn't going to drink it anyway, and: Michael f-ing Anthony tossed ME a beer!!! I couldn't believe all this was happening. I swear that if I had pushed myself up on the barricade, Sammy would have pulled me on stage. I thought about that so many times afterwards!, and, to this day, I know it in my bones. But I hesitated, the moment passed, and they got back to the show. I went back to my seat, likely shivering with excitement, and hopefully profusely thanking my older brother.

    My memory of that show is that it was a great overall. I recall at the time thinking that I'd never seen/felt such a powerful rhythm section in my life (and to this day, I stand by that). People mainly seem to praise Michael Anthony for his vocals, but he was/is a monster bass player and performer, very underrated, in my opinion, and, even if Eddie doesn't (I still don't quite understand why...), I feel that he was an absolutely integral part of the immense sound and power (the "Mighty") of that rhythm section. The only other one that compares, to me, would be John Bonham and John Paul Jones. But I digress....

    After the concert ends, we go wait in a section at the side of the stage with all the other backstage pass holders. After a short time, a roadie comes out and says. "Sorry, the band isn't seeing anyone tonight." My heart immediately drops like an anchor. Are you kidding??? My one chance to truly meet my heroes, and it's snatched away from me!? But, tenacious mofo that I was, I refused to accept it. Outside the arena, I dragged my family around back to the loading dock. At that time, you could just walk right up to the loading dock and backstage door (at least at the PCC), which is exactly what I/we did. My mother and younger brother were too nervous to go in, but I just slapped my backstage pass onto my jacket and walked through the door like I belonged there. There are all these huge trucks and massive, imposing piles of equipment being moved around by the road crew. It was just a massive undertaking. I see a few other fans gathered loosely to my left, next to a wall and a hallway, likely leading to the dressing rooms. Obviously, I wasn't the only pass holder who decided not to take "no" for an answer. So, we're all just hanging out, trying not to attract attention. At one point, I think see Alex down the hall way. Holy shit! I'm totally nervous. Then, Eddie appears. A couple of fans approach him, and he says something like, "Wait over there and I'll come over in a minute." Whoa! Sweet!! He goes over and chats for a bit with a roadie, sipping a beer (this was when he was supposed to be sober, if I recall), and smoking a cigarette. I'm now about 15 feet from Eddie Van Halen (to me, a musical god). Another member of the crew comes up to us and says, "Thanks for coming everyone, but we have to ask you to leave." More than one of us say, "But Eddie said we could stay!!" I think he looked over at Eddie, who may have nodded or something, but what I remember clearly is that the crew member looks at us and goes, "He's the boss," with a shrug, and he leaves us alone. Yes!!! Massive relief. Eventually, Eddie comes over, and we loosely crowd around him to get autographs. I remember snatching a piece of paper from a nearby bulletin board. Eddie signed autographs for us, and chatted for a few minutes. I think he even told one of the kids there not to smoke, that it was bad for his health, haha! A roadie came over and dropped a bunch of picks onto a case, which we all snatched up.

    While I was backstage, I gave the remainder of the t-shirts to a roadie, with a note attached to them with my contact information (don't you just love the wishful naivete?...) , and asked him to give them to the band.

    I was disappointed at not meeting the other guys, but meeting Eddie kind of made up for it. An interesting note: I've never in my life been in the presence of someone who gave off such a cool vibe, and by that I mean utterly relaxed and self-confident. I've never forgotten that vibe I got off him.

    Alas, no one from the band contacted me later, asking me to join them as their special personal guest on the rest of the tour based on the awesomeness of my pathetically simple, mall-made t-shirts.

    Ah, the memories....




  2. #2
    Little Dreamer
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    11.12.19 @ 03:48 PM
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    Hey, everyone. So, my first thread, kind of ironically, mirrored the story inside: Things being screwed up, but choosing not to give up, and rather persevere, so that's what I'm doing. To those who made cool comments on the old thread, thank you!, and I know it's a pain, but please feel free to re-post them in this one, so we can have some fun with this, which is the whole reason I did it in the first place. I'd love to hear from those of you who were at either show, and also other stories that mine might trigger/inspire. It's a trip remembering this stuff from our younger days....

  3. #3
    Eruption KS 5150's Avatar
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    Dude, I'm SO jealous! What I would have given to be there & meet Ed...even better that you still have his autograph & keepsakes


    EDIT: I mentioned to Robert that a couple buddies & I tried to sneak backstage in Calgary in 2012. Got as far as being in the VIP group before we were busted lol. We did get to hear soundcheck from outside, which was cool. Also wanted to share a pic of my 5150, which was aged to resemble Ed's guitar in 1988, so somewhat relevant here:


    5150 I.jpg
    Last edited by KS 5150; 09.26.19 at 12:10 PM.
    "People ask me how far I've come. And I tell them twelve feet: from the audience to the stage." - David Lee Roth

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  5. #4
    Eruption Simon Ribeiro's Avatar
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    Welcome aboard!!

    And again many thanks for sharing you story here!
    TT: "Wow, you can play acoustic guitar?"
    EVH: "Sure. What's the difference? It's got six strings... It's a guitar!" - 31.12.1978
    ___________________________________

    "Van Halen is entertainment. Van Halen is entertainment delivered at maximum impact, but it's entertainment." DLR

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  7. #5
    Good Enough
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    Welcome aboard, that is an awesome story. I remember the tour for OU812 outside of MOR and that was a crazy fun concert. Never came close to any of the backstage or VIP areas, but every VH concert is a good memory for me, even 04


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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  9. #6
    Atomic Punk bsbll4's Avatar
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    Great story and welcome to the board.

    I think I've shared my first (and therefore best) VH experience on here before, but I'll retell it again for the sake of the thread.

    I grew up and became a hardcore VH fan during the dark times ("eh..which one?"). Okay, so 1999 to 2003 was when I became a huge fan as I was just getting into music as a teen and VH was my band. Unfortunately they had just crapped the bed with Gary, failed twice to get Dave back in the band (according to rumors), and then Eddie got cancer and it looked like I would never see my favorite band and guitar player live.

    Then we started hearing rumors that Sammy was back, and even though I was more of a Dave guy, my first concert DVD was Right Here, Right Now (hey, I didn't know any better) and I watched the crap out of it. That being the case, any version of VH with Sam or Dave was going to be a must see for me. Of course they put out the songs before the tour (that almost made my list for favorite VH memory) and it just made me want to go more.

    I somehow convinced my buddy and sister to go 4* for I Love All Access. It was a steep price, but I'm pretty sure we were 10th or 11th row. The day of my buddy and I go down to what is now Enterprise Center and set up shop across the street to get the fun started. We brought a grill, some beer--we were ready. Sometime later Will Call opened I needed to go across the street to pick up our tickets and passes.

    As I'm sitting in there, all of the sudden the atrium is just flooded with a noise that I will always remember. It was a mix of a roar, feedback, squeal that just sounded like it came from outer space. There it was. Eddie Fuckin Van Halen is playing guitar in the same building I'm standing in, although I just can't see him. We had caught the beginning of sound check. After geeking out for a few minutes, we were so hyped up we went back across the street and pounded a few more beers.

    The concert experience was amazing to me. I specifically remember just being blown away during Dreams that this is actually happening and getting chills about it. Of course in retrospect the concert was not one of VH's best performances (particularly Eddie), but that night I couldn't give a shit and just had an amazing time.
    CNN may think my opinion matters, but you shouldn't.

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  11. #7
    Eruption KS 5150's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsbll4 View Post
    Great story and welcome to the board.

    I think I've shared my first (and therefore best) VH experience on here before, but I'll retell it again for the sake of the thread.

    I grew up and became a hardcore VH fan during the dark times ("eh..which one?"). Okay, so 1999 to 2003 was when I became a huge fan as I was just getting into music as a teen and VH was my band. Unfortunately they had just crapped the bed with Gary, failed twice to get Dave back in the band (according to rumors), and then Eddie got cancer and it looked like I would never see my favorite band and guitar player live.

    Then we started hearing rumors that Sammy was back, and even though I was more of a Dave guy, my first concert DVD was Right Here, Right Now (hey, I didn't know any better) and I watched the crap out of it. That being the case, any version of VH with Sam or Dave was going to be a must see for me. Of course they put out the songs before the tour (that almost made my list for favorite VH memory) and it just made me want to go more.

    I somehow convinced my buddy and sister to go 4* for I Love All Access. It was a steep price, but I'm pretty sure we were 10th or 11th row. The day of my buddy and I go down to what is now Enterprise Center and set up shop across the street to get the fun started. We brought a grill, some beer--we were ready. Sometime later Will Call opened I needed to go across the street to pick up our tickets and passes.

    As I'm sitting in there, all of the sudden the atrium is just flooded with a noise that I will always remember. It was a mix of a roar, feedback, squeal that just sounded like it came from outer space. There it was. Eddie Fuckin Van Halen is playing guitar in the same building I'm standing in, although I just can't see him. We had caught the beginning of sound check. After geeking out for a few minutes, we were so hyped up we went back across the street and pounded a few more beers.

    The concert experience was amazing to me. I specifically remember just being blown away during Dreams that this is actually happening and getting chills about it. Of course in retrospect the concert was not one of VH's best performances (particularly Eddie), but that night I couldn't give a shit and just had an amazing time.
    Dude, wish I knew you in 2004! I've never tailgated before a show, but would love to sometime I do remember that one of my fave recent VH memories was hearing "It's About Time" on the radio in June 2004. Along with hearing "Tattoo" in January 2012. It was like being hugged by a dearly-departed friend, if that's not too corny. When I saw them in 2004, my buddy & I arrived late, and the 1st song (Jump?) had already begun as we ran back from the beer vendor to our seats....Any VH memory is a great memory.....which is why we're all here, I think
    "People ask me how far I've come. And I tell them twelve feet: from the audience to the stage." - David Lee Roth

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  13. #8
    Little Dreamer
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    Quote Originally Posted by KS 5150 View Post
    Dude, I'm SO jealous! What I would have given to be there & meet Ed...even better that you still have his autograph & keepsakes


    EDIT: I mentioned to Robert that a couple buddies & I tried to sneak backstage in Calgary in 2012. Got as far as being in the VIP group before we were busted lol. We did get to hear soundcheck from outside, which was cool. Also wanted to share a pic of my 5150, which was aged to resemble Ed's guitar in 1988, so somewhat relevant here:


    5150 I.jpg
    Wow, that guitar is so cool! Thanks for posting! And kudos to you for trying to sneak backstage. Always worth a try, I figure! Actually, this reminds me of getting backstage briefly during an early DLR concert and briefly meeting Steve Vai. I might have to write up that one, too, and add it to the thread, since that's a good story, as well. Or start its own thread in the DLR section. Hmm....

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  15. #9
    Little Dreamer
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    @ bsbll4: Great story, thanks for sharing! Yeah, that's funny that you mention it, because I, too, remember that same feeling of just being amazed that I was in the same "room" as the guys in Van Halen. Room in quotes because a 12,000 seat arena is a pretty big room, haha. If any young whippersnappers are reading this, you have to remember that this was very pre-internet. I had VH posters and pictures from magazines plastered on my bedroom wall, and looked at them every day/night. You'd occasionally get a video or a special with interviews, but, at least to me, the guys in VH seemed like they existed in a different world than I did. To be in the same space as them was...well, it's hard to put into words, but it was really powerful.

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  17. #10
    Little Dreamer
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    My post from your original thread:

    Funny shit... I was at this show; I totally remember the t-shirt regarding the Oxford, Maine concert and Sammy stopping the show to comment on the Oxford concert. Wow... itís amazing that Iím reading about this 31 years later.

    I would like to add it was funny after your shirt and Sammyís Oxford story, it seemed like every New England show, someone would go out of their way to get Sammy to mention it... And he did almost every time.

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  19. #11
    Little Dreamer
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    From this thread post: http://www.vhlinks.com/vbforums/thre...=1#post2278102

    ...Van Hampshire wrote:

    I too was at the Oxford ME show and stayed to the very end. Hell, I waited through bands I liked OK. I surely wasn't going to miss the band I paid to see so I made all my friends stay or I told them they could go sleep in the car. It was a nutty day for sure and I don't know if you remember this, but Sammy took a massive spill running on to the stage. He came bounding out and the stage must have been wet. He went flying and practically cracked his tailbone in half. I was super close and the look he gave Eddie was "get me the hell out of here!" His legs were shaking too and it was obvious that he was in pain. By the time that show ended I was SO wiped out from all the crazy rain and angry fans. It was pretty scary at times and I was 17.

    Thankfully VH came to Worcester that October and I went. The show(as can be seen in the bootleg video) clearly made up for the short performance VH gave in Maine. I think I am most shocked that all this happened 31 years ago! Damn!"
    I hope he doesn't mind me dragging it over to this thread (to consolidate), but I wanted to say thanks for this. No, I don't remember Sammy falling on his ass. Wow! Maybe I was looking away at that moment for whatever reason. I was on Ed's side, a bit back. Anyway, shit, my t-shirt really applied to Sammy, too, then, haha!

    That's so cool that you stayed to the end, too. I'm impressed. There really weren't that many of us, right? And it felt like something special to be one of those few, at least to me. Haha, it was like getting an intimate club date with VH...outside, soaking wet, in a massive space. So weird....

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  21. #12
    Eruption KS 5150's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jomama1 View Post
    Wow, that guitar is so cool! Thanks for posting! And kudos to you for trying to sneak backstage. Always worth a try, I figure! Actually, this reminds me of getting backstage briefly during an early DLR concert and briefly meeting Steve Vai. I might have to write up that one, too, and add it to the thread, since that's a good story, as well. Or start its own thread in the DLR section. Hmm....
    I feel you should share that! The closest I had to that kind of concert experience was when I saw the Stones on the Voodoo Lounge tour in 1994. We snuck backstage through an unlocked door in the stadium & came fairly close to Keith Richards, before a security guard stopped us & asked for our backstage passes....which didn't exist....also tried to catch Joe Bonamassa after a show at the buses, but only the bass player (Michael Rhodes) was around. He seemed like a nice guy though...and my wife & I met Liam Gallagher in NYC back in 2017.
    Last edited by KS 5150; 09.26.19 at 02:23 PM.
    "People ask me how far I've come. And I tell them twelve feet: from the audience to the stage." - David Lee Roth

  22. #13
    Little Dreamer
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    Quote Originally Posted by tav555 View Post
    My post from your original thread:

    Funny shit... I was at this show; I totally remember the t-shirt regarding the Oxford, Maine concert and Sammy stopping the show to comment on the Oxford concert. Wow... itís amazing that Iím reading about this 31 years later.

    I would like to add it was funny after your shirt and Sammyís Oxford story, it seemed like every New England show, someone would go out of their way to get Sammy to mention it... And he did almost every time.
    Thanks for re-posting this!! That's so cool that you were there and that you remember it! I know, 31 years... it's nuts!

    What do you mean by:

    it seemed like every New England show, someone would go out of their way to get Sammy to mention it... And he did almost every time.
    Sorry, maybe I'm just being dense.... (in my old age...;)

  23. #14
    Atomic Punk Little Dreamer's Avatar
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    Has anyone seen the band in New Halen, CT?

    I should post my story about going backstage during the Balance tour and meeting the band.
    Little Dreamer

  24. #15
    Little Dreamer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Dreamer View Post
    Has anyone seen the band in New Halen, CT?

    I should post my story about going backstage during the Balance tour and meeting the band.
    Yes! Please do!

    And I've only seen VH in New Halen on VHS/DVD. :)

 

 

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    By GirlGoneBad! in forum Main VH Discussion
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 09.04.00, 09:39 AM

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