I reviewed Van Halen opening for AC/DC in 1984 in Karlsruhe for my local paper. It was the Monsters of Rock festival tour and one of my first writing gigs and first mega rock shows (I had already covered Supertramp and a line-up of similarly easy on the ears performers at the same venue).
I don’t remember much about the Van Halen show other than Eddie’s red striped guitar and two guys from Metallica (Lars Ulrich and James Hatfield) piss drunk next to me in the press box barely able to sit upright, being loud Americans. I was impressed by their trainers, but I was too scared to talk to them.
I very briefly met Motley Crue, talking to them through a backstage fence, proudly waving my press pass (I reviewed the band ‘properly’ when they came on tour to southern Germany months later, after I’d completed an internship with the Weinheimer Nachrichten and was offered to write reviews of rock shows that no one else at the paper wanted to cover).
The Crue looked more wasted and closer to death than a 17 year old from a small German town could possibly fathom. The guys from Metallica were intimidating but these young men in their glitter rags, wearing too much make-up, looked temptingly subversive and unsound. Subversive isn’t hard to do in Karlsruhe, mind you.
Ozzie Osbourne slunk past like a drunken king, in a blue cape I think, and, being an older guy wearing eye-liner and tattoos, looked even more gloriously debilitated and out there than his younger RocknRoll compatriots.
I didn’t understand ‘letting go of oneself’ then, but I was definitely contaminated. It was a RocknRoll circus and I was so happy to be there.
In the event, AC/DC, Hell’s Bells and all, blew the rest of them off stage. Back then, there were no laws limiting sound volume and the ‘For Those About To Rock’ canons almost split my head in half.
Heady times, Eddie.