Watch Van Halen’s ‘Live Without A Net’ Concert Film
Van Halen took the stage at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in New Haven, Connecticut on August 27, 1986. Footage from the show would later become their 1987 classic concert film, Live Without A Net. The August 27 play — the second of a two-night run in New Haven — came as part of the legendary rock band’s massive 5150 Tour around their album of the same name, Van Halen’s first with new lead singer and guitarist Sammy Hagar.
The show kicks off with one of Hagar’s tunes, “There’s Only One Way To Rock,’ off his 1981 album, Standing Hampton. The band then get into 5150 material with “Summer Nights” and “Get Up.” The film also includes performances of 5150 songs “Best Of Both Worlds,” the title track, “Love Walks In” and “Why Can’t This Be Love” along with other Van Halen classics like “Panama” and “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love.”
But as always, one of the highlights of the show was guitarist Eddie Van Halen’s solo section. In the film, Eddie sits down on the edge of the stage with a cigarette and blows smokes rings like the wizard he was as he plucks out strains on his ax. While there seem to be some edits — Eddie is shown in various incongruous stages of smoking his cigarette — it in no way takes away from the mind-blowing solo that follows. Eddie shows off his signatures tricks: the dive bombs, the double-tapping, the classical teases culminating in “Eruption.” But he’s not done, the roughly 10-minute solo also sees the guitarist getting into some deft use of his volume nob followed by a wild, highly percussive tapping section capped off with some drum exclamation points from his brother Alex. It’s a master class on how to shred.
Watch Van Halen’s Live Without A Net performance below via Cristin Tomeci for this edition of Sunday Cinema: