Merry Christmas, Dallas from Van Halen

December 4, 1991...the word gets out on Dallas radio stations.....holy shit Van Halen is downtown, right here, right now, and they're about to put on a free show. Wait. What?

Back story;

Cotton Bowl, Dallas Texas, July 3. It's the 1988 Monsters of Rock Tour. Van Halen is the headliner. You remember the Monsters of Rock. For Texans it was the summer concert tour that "killed the Texxas Jam," the 11 year annual tradition of Rock and Roll. 80,000 fans suffering for Rock's sake.

Anybody that was there in Dallas knows a few things. One of them is this; Metallica stomped ass and stole the show that day. Like the phoenix from the ashes they had recovered from the untimely death of Cliff Burton, reformed with Jason Newsted and were poised to dominate what was left of the 1980s. I took this photo with an old Kodak Instamatic. Massive. 

Pretty kickass photo. Most of the photos I took from the field of the Cotton Bowl that day are blurred from water. These shows would get so hot, temperatures climbing well above 100 degrees. Stadium personnel used fire hoses in a constant pattern on the crowd. These hoses cooled the air, the crowd and very probably saved thousands from heat stroke. 

Van Halen comes on that night. At some point Sammy stops the show. His voice is shot. "Managers are going to be pissed off at me but we are going to come back to Dallas and put on a free show."

December 4, 1991 Van Halen keeps their word.

1 comment

  • A bit late for a comment…. But I stumbled into this and want to say thanks. I was there with my brother. It was an epic day in many ways.

    Save KC, we loved all those groups but most thrilled to see Metallica. We were not far from where that polaroid was taken. Just outside the mosh pit (that I had no business being near). It was HOT!!! Saw all kinds of people handed over the wall for medical reasons. Security also was giving people in the crowd water, sometimes cold even. They took care of who they could but the fire hoses made all the difference. After standing in that water all day and night my feet became wrinkled like prunes that took days to recover. It was so worth it. Most bands performed at a really high level. Sammy struggled with his voice but Van Halen made the most of it. It felt really special for him to make that promise. So cool they lived up to that. The rest is Rock history. Thank you for the reminder.


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