According to Eddie Van Halen, Tokyo Dome Live in Concert, Van Halen’s new live album, only came about because his first two ideas for an album release weren’t possible.
The guitarist told the Washington Times that the group wanted to release a record to coincide with its 2015 summer tour.
“We were trying to figure out what to do since we didn’t have time to put a studio record together,” he said.
His first idea was one that would have thrilled the group’s fans.
“What I originally wanted to do was remix our original 25 song demos,” Ed said. Those demos included 10 songs produced by Kiss bassist Gene Simmons at Electric Lady Studios in New York. Simmons eventually abandoned the group when they refused to change their name to Daddy Longlegs. (No, seriously.)
Ed knew that a remaster of the band’s demo tapes would have been a hit. “That would have been really cool,” he said. “But the tapes are lost. They’re gone. So that was out the window.”
With plan number one scuttled, Ed began digging through bootlegs from Van Halen’s days on the Sunset Strip playing Gazzarri’s night club. That, too, proved fruitless.
“We tried our best to make those sound good,” he said, “but ultimately it wasn’t good enough to put out.
“The quality was so bad that we tried to enhance them—once we made them better you lost that ‘fly on the wall’ aspect of it. It just didn’t jive.
“So we decided ‘How about a live record?’ ”
Unfortunately, no one had the time or patience to listen to all the tapes from Van Halen’s 2013 tour—except singer David Lee Roth. Ed says Roth chose the Tokyo Dome show from June 21, 2013.
“None of us wanted to sit there and listen to 200 shows, so we left it up to Dave,” Ed says. “Alex, Wolfgang and I were pretty consistent every night, [but] for a singer it’s more difficult. Because if the bus ride is too long, or you slept with the air conditioner on or the heater on and your throat is [messed] up, [it can change his voice].”
Tokyo Dome Live in Concert was released on March 31. The band kicked it off with a well-publicized concert on Hollywood Boulevard that was shown on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on March 30 and 31. You can view those performances HERE and HERE.
Van Halen are touring North America beginning July 5 in Seattle, Washington at the White River Amphitheater, with concerts scheduled through October 2 in Los Angeles, California at the legendary Hollywood Bowl. Special guest Kenny Wayne Shepherd will support all dates along the tour.