Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver, BC, Canada – April 18, 1979
Disc 1 (40:14) Intro, Light Up The Sky, Somebody Get Me A Doctor, Drum Solo, Runnin’ With The Devil, Dance The Night Away, Beautiful Girls, On Fire, Bass Solo, You’re No Good, Jamie’s Cryin’, Feel Your Love Tonight
Disc 2 (41:16) Outta Love Again, Ice Cream Man, Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love, Guitar Solo, You Really Got Me, Bottom’s Up, Atomic Punk
Van Halen would begin the World tour in support of the Van Halen II record on home turf so to speak, the West Coast. After dates in Fresno, LA, and Seattle the band would go just over the Canadian border in Vancouver, British Columbia and perform at the famed Pacific Coliseum. This concert is the subject of this release from the folks at Shades, it features a very good to excellent stereo audience recording, one that certainly rivals the Fresno recording from a few weeks prior. All instruments and vocals are clean and well balanced with just the right mix of audience noise to lend to the party atmosphere. There is a very minor amount of tape hiss, not really noticeable except when it is quiet so you very rarely hear it, this tape sounds great loud!
The audience anticipation as the lights go down sets the stage for what is to follow, the crowd of 13,000 strong sounds like caged animals as they let the band know they are ready. The opener for the show is Light Up The Sky, the sound starts out a bit dull but the taper seems to adjust the position of the equipment and the sound improves nicely. Alex takes his solo early in the set, during Somebody Get Me A Doctor, Dave tells the crowd “I think we’re gonna have a good one tonight” just prior to Runnin’ With The Devil. There is a small cut in the tape at 2:00 of Runnin’ but only a few seconds of music is lost. Ed’s playing is a thing of art, he throws in these little flashes of leads and sounds effortlessly. Dave formally greets the audience, making mentions that it’s the lighting guys birthday and that they have been celebrating all day, they casually roll into a great version of Dance The Night Away. Beautiful Girls has this swagger to it, not sure what it is but it really swings like some big band from the 20’s.
Dave tells a story about getting up in the morning, unusual because it was in the morning but it was hot and has the audience wanting to know why. Curiously part of the rap features the line “Everybody wants some….I Want some too”. Just when you think Dave is going to smut it up they roar into On Fire. Michael Anthony’s bass solo is of the duck fart style, it is used to set the mood, Alex joins in adding some percussion to the mix, for the band’s take on the song written by Clint Ballard and made famous by Linda Ronstandt You’re No Good. The band seems to have a philosophy during these early shows, hit them hard and don’t relent. There are no pregnant pauses the band keep the concert fast paced, as they plow into Jamie’s Cryin’ and Feel Your Love to round out the first disc.
Dave’s intro to Outta Love Again is short, Ed play’s some Hendrix sounds as a prelude to the song, the riff is nice and heavy, Alex plays like he is shot out of a cannon, this song is certainly a set highlight. Dave gets his solo spot next, just him and an acoustic guitar and his vocal improv about summertime. The audience is totally into it, Dave tells them to clap along just before the band break into the full band section. Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love features a Dave rap section, he tells them to light up matches and someone close to the taper comments about the lit up auditorium, but the audience really go ape shit when Dave tells them they are way louder then Portland the previous evening. Ed gets his solo spot, for this tour he incorporates Spanish Fly into Eruption along with a chuck of tasty bits thrown in for good measure. Of course the Eruption segment leads into You Really Got Me to close out the main set. The audience erupt and clammier for more, the band returns to the stage and literally slams them with Bottoms Up. Dave gets into this crazy rap about playing cards with “Truck drivers for another band” whom Dave and Al took for some money, Dave introduces them to Joe and the results are hilarious. The audience wants more and the band deliver with a metallic version of Atomic Punk played at a marshal tempo and leaves the audience wanting more.
The art work features mostly live shots of the band with Van Halen II style graphics, the VH logo is prominent on the cover, all of this is packaged in a slimline jewel case. This is an excellent and highly enjoyable concert from the band who, at this time, were like a force of nature and becoming the dominant force in rock music. Highly recommended.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)