Monday, February 1, 2010

Van Halen - "Unchained"

Welcome to hennemusic!

To kick things off, here's a killer live video of Unchained from Van Halen's 1981 Fair Warning tour.

I selected Unchained for a few reasons:

(1) it's a killer song;
(2) it's rare live vintage VH; and,
(3) it's symbolic - after decades in radio, where 'safe' musical choices are always made first, starting my own blog feels like the chains are off - the range of music to be explored is endless.

As with all artists, there are many myths and legends in the Van Halen world. Speculation amongst fans about live footage of the original VH lineup has continued for decades, and very little, if any, has seen the light of day in any official form. While fan-shot videos have kept the era alive for posterity, diehard VH fans continue to hope that the vaults will one day be opened and shared with the world.

In the meantime, pro-shot footage of three tracks from VH's 1981 Fair Warning album were released back in the day to try and get the band some video airplay: Unchained, So This Is Love? and Hear About It Later. The songs were recorded during VH's 3-night stand at the Oakland Coliseum, June 11-13, 1981.

Diehards have long speculated on whether or not the full shows were recorded, and even the remote possibility that they were has turned this into a Van Halen Holy Grail of sorts. Answers are hard to come by at most times from within the VH circle, and this topic is no exception: past interviews with band members and techies give conflicting reports about the footage and whether or not the full shows were filmed.

As someone who witnessed classic VH live a few times, I can attest to the truly awesome, primal power the band had in its day: sure, they spawned a lot of pale imitations, but as both a recording and live act, classic VH was without peer.