For Your Weekend Listening Pleasure: Van Halen Runs With the Devil to Reunion in '82

Hard to believe it took this long to get to Van Halen, everyone's favorite metal band back then, especially if you didn't like metal, mostly because it was just catchy pop anyway. Thought this would be a good one to dust off for tomorrow's Lone Star Beer-sponsored Forest festivities; can't recall a weekend crawl toward Marsh without someone's Goat cranking "Unchained" or "Everybody Wants Some!!" or "Dance the Night Away," all of which hold up better than most things made in the late '70s and early '80s.

I wouldn't see the band till years later, when I covered that free West End Marketplace clusterfuck for the Dallas Times Herald. Never was a Sammy man, besides. But this November 18, 1982, Reunion Arena show -- the first of a back-to-backer on the Hide Your Sheep Tour, birthplace of Diamond Dave's so-called "Grid System" -- is well known and said to be soundboard; opinions differ wildly, mostly because the quality does too. But one thing's for sure: Nothing's like it is on record. Everything's off-kilter, tipsy, just this side of a right note. An affable and thoroughly enjoyable mess nevertheless.

It's like they just learned every song -- or just met. And since they were touring behind Diver Down, the novelty regroup before the masterpiece that did 'em in, the wanky instrumentals- and covers-heavy set list (the two Kinks songs, Orbison, Cream, the usual Dale Evans-Roy Rogers closer) only further cements Van Halen's rep as the Best Bar Band Ever for whom every hour was extremely happy. The hits are there too. More or less. And, like Dave says during "Bottoms Up," well, look, "you're incredible, Dallas." You know you are.

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