Why Van Halen Needed Two Nights to Get ‘Live Without a Net’ Right
Sammy Hagar shared some backstage details of filming Van Halen’s Live Without a Net concert video, recalling an important demand band management gave their guitarist.
"We actually filmed two nights [Aug. 26 and 27, 1986] in New Haven [Ct.] for this release but the first night management told Eddie [Van Halen] he had to be completely sober because there was so much money on this shoot,” Hagar wrote Saturday on the Van Hagar / Other Half Facebook page. “Let’s just say he killed it when we played/filmed a second night! ha ha goes to show you some guys got to do it their own way! Back in those days it cost around 350K - that was real money!”
In the post, marking the film’s 35th anniversary, bassist Michael Anthony also offered his memories of that second gig. “We rocked it, no fixing or re-recording any of it, what you see and hear is how it actually went down!!!” he wrote. “I seem to remember Ace Frehley stumbling in backstage after the show to say hi, I don’t think we recognized him without his make up!!! Fun times for sure…”
Live Without a Net, released in November 1986, became Van Halen’s first official concert recording — and it arrived eight months after 5150, their debut album with the former Montrose singer.
Hagar looked back on that pivotal — and initially nerve-racking — stretch during a 2014 UCR interview. “It was really scary to say, ‘Wow, we’re going to walk out there and play the 5150 record,' and this is sold out,’” he said, noting he realized fans would be expecting older material. “But … I just remember opening up with ‘You Really Got Me,’ and it was like the frickin’ barricade went down and it was like, 'Okay, the nerves are gone.'”
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