Van Halen live at Niagara Falls 1978

Some great 1978 Van Halen live footage. Not sure if this is new or if I’m just seeing it now. There’s amazingly little available from this era, so all the available nuggets are rare.

Everyone is on fire here, even Dave. Imagine rolling in to a Black Sabbath concert and seeing this as the opening band:

The jump cuts in the footage are where the reels of 8mm film ran out. There’s a longer clip that keeps the audio running and just blanks out the video:

We’ve all seen so much of smiley casual '80s Ed that it’s easy to forget what a terrifying specimen pre-alcohol Ed was — and also how much of a strength his picking technique was.


They were a force of nature back then! Ed is just on fire… amazingly it still sounds great this day! From time to time you’ll see these videos of early concerts pop on YT.

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It is amazing isn’t it?!

This footage came out about one year ago. The footage was silent and within five minutes of the footage dropping, me and a friend set about the task of syncing the available bootleg audio with the silent Super 8mm footage.

Sadly, the original uploader took down our accurate sync’ed version of the footage shortly after we worked on it and posted it.

This version which was just uploaded recently is a 4k upscaled version with of course slightly improved picture quality, but the sync in it isn’t as good as the one my friend and I did. I wish they’d consulted with us because we could have made a much better finished product, but still…I’m extremely grateful that this true “Holy Grail” footage is out in some form. The energy from the entire band is breathtaking!


Love it when this sort of vintage footage surfaces. Hoping for more. Thanks for posting, I had no idea this existed. Gotta like the white Les Paul custom for the encore instead of the Shark

Awesome! Wasn’t aware of the backstory. It seems like the uploader is the individual who filmed the original footage so at least that’s pretty unique, even if he insisted on doing the audio himself.

I read a comment recently on one of the audio-only uploads of the 1977 New Year’s performance, and it was from the guy who said it was probably his recording. He had brought a Sony tape recorder to the show, and here he is commenting on it decades later.

Edit: Here’s the clip — first reply to the top comment:

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Actually the account is managed by a friend of the gentleman that was the original taper nicknamed “Speedy” who passed away a few years ago. His friend has worked with several people across Led Zeppelin and Genesis fan forums to sync the audio and work on upscaling the original Super 8mm films. He decided to work on the Van Halen material by himself.

The Cheap Trick footage from Toronto’s El Mocambo club he has is insane…Robin’s voice is fantastic and the energy of Rick, Bun and Tom is amazing!

I don’t really know Cheap Trick but I imagine this is pretty cool for those fans. Bootlegging back then was a crime — like when Rerun got busted on “What’s Happening” for taping the Doobie Brothers. Little did we know it would turn out to be valuable historical preservation.

In retrospect it seems ridiculous that anyone thought a tape recorder in a jacket was a threat to a high-quality professional recording that fans would gladly pay for. The Grateful Dead got it right!


Exactly! Now let’s all go down to Rob’s Place and listen to bootlegs of The Doobie Brothers with The Doobie Brothers!:rofl:

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Rerun, lol… every day after school, i had to watch What’s Happening!

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Me too. We’re showing our age. Late 70’s/early 80’s!