The time had come for Van Halen to recognise how popular they were becoming. They had already built up a huge fan base intentionally and at home in the United States. In response to this, Van Halen decided to record themselves playing over two nights in New Haven, Connecticut in 1986.
The result was not considered an official release, but amongst Van Halen fans is considered so. The Live Without A Net video was released in 1987, along with a live album called Love Walks In.
Eddie Van Halen and Sammy Hagar seemed to get along well around this time.
Picture courtesy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32pqVtsQaCA
In retrospect, there seems to be some overly generous editing on the Live Without A Net video. Indeed, purists may find that this is not a real representation of Van Halen. Watching the DVD and listening to the album give somewhat different results. It does seem that the video itself was a mish-mash of editing, paving the way for the “semi-live” album Live: Right Here Right Now in 1993. In particular, Sammy Hagar’s vocals do not sound as powerful or as good as the vocals on the video.
Regardless of this, Live Without A Net can just show you how on top of their game Van Halen were around this time. The fact was that despite the personnel changes and some of the difficulties surrounding doing so, Van Halen were (and are) capable of creating a great show with great tunes.
The best pieces are the opening tunes, such as “There’s Only One Way to Rock”. But the individual solos are a show-stopper. In particular, Eddie Van Halen’s solo is one to watch with fascination. Years and years of practice and playing, along with his awesome Kramer 5150 guitar show truly a man who was unbeatable at his craft. It is truly fantastic to watch.
Eddie Van Halen is a star on Live Without A Net.
Picture courtesy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDOFIttS69I
But the whole video is worth adding to anybody’s collection. Regardless of any editing that may have been undertaken, it is definitely a must watch for the Van Halen fan.
The album, on the other hand, does seem to take a flipside to this live recording. It is not as good, although it does include “Good Enough” as the opening track, it simply pales in comparison to the video itself, perhaps proof of some obvious editing here. Unlike the video, it seems that it is only worth seeking out if you are really keen on Van Halen. But still, this is part of the Van Halen story, and enough to generate interest.
In short, although there are mixed results with these two offerings from Van Halen, Live Without A Net and Love Walks In are fun, entertaining and exciting Van Halen moments, and more proof of the band’s capability to hold it all together after the departure of David Lee Roth.
Eddie also used the Steinberger 5150 extensively on Live Without A Net.
Picture courtesy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnS4jX9samo
You can watch the Live Without A Net video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIWLNBPS2r8