Imagine being a teenager and getting to see a young Van Halen bring down the house at your high school.
In April 1975, students at Pasadena High School – which counts Eddie and Alex Van Halen as alumni – were treated to that very spectacle, an absolutely ferocious 30-minute set packed with dynamic covers and a very early original.
Now, we can all get a taste of what that show was like, thanks to a new bootleg recording of the performance that has surfaced on YouTube.
That evening, the quartet tackled some of their favorite hard- and blues-rock tunes – ZZ Top's "Chevrolet," "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo" (in the vein of Johnny Winter's version) and Deep Purple’s "Maybe I’m a Leo" among them – and an original – a very early version of "Fools" – with their trademark gusto.
Though it would be another three years before their music-changing, self-titled debut album, all the ingredients the world would come to know and love are there – David Lee Roth's flamboyant vocals and stage persona, Michael Anthony's rock-solid bass lines and terrific harmonies, Alex Van Halen's inventive, powerful drumming, and Eddie Van Halen's jaw-dropping virtuosity.
You can give the recording a listen above.
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Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.
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