Saturday, January 3, 2009


This holiday season presents me with too many opportunities to party with Van Halen, so much so that its beginning to wear me out. But once the music starts playing, there's no turning back and I rock out to the very end!

It's snowing in the mountains so skiing is also on my mind. There's a lot of stuff that needs to get done here at the house so I've got to make some decisions today. Plus I have a two night hut trip planned for later in the week. Ski season is in full swing!

My concert of choice this Friday night was Van Halen's June 29, 1979 appearance at the Rainbow Theater in London, England, the last night of their European leg of their "World Vacation" tour. Another hot performance on this very good audience recording. Dave was in prime form, yakking it up between songs. His talk before their performance of "On Fire" offered a tease of what was yet to come on their next album, with references to "Everybody wants some, and I want some too". Shortly after the mid point of the show, some bad feedback interrupts their performance and their struggle to fix it, but never quite can. Dave apologizes for this technical difficulty but they go on with the show, their loud sound drowning the low buzz coming from the speakers. Great performance!

At the same time Van Halen was playing in London, I was alone wandering through the forest in the western Cascade Mountains, looking for any rock outcrops that might shed light on the local geology. Mapping old volcanoes and their deposits that had long disappeared, predating the young cones in the High Cascades to the east by 15 million years. My notes for June 29, 1979 show it was cloudy, foggy and cold. Outcrops exposing ash flows, mudflows and lava flows, all shot through with hard dikes that cooled slowly far below the ancient ground surface. Neatly penned field notes record my observations: "Outcrop of a brown mudflow volcaniclastic breccia. The clasts, which range in size from 40 cm to sand grains, are generally angular, dark in color and there are quite a few pumice fragments." So while Van Halen partied in London, I was rocking out in the Cascades! Unfortunately, no stereo in the vehicle I was driving!
Sounds of destruction
Like Godzilla, walks the streets
Michael's bass solo

From idle banter
Seeds of creativity
A teenage anthem

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