• Ernie Ball
  • MusicMan
  • Sterling by MusicMan


Well-known member
Dec 3, 2002
Scottsdale, AZ
Wow...I really wish I was this guy.

Here's a recollection of someone that snuck into the final dress rehearsal for Van Halen last night. This was posted over on vhforums.com, but you would have to register in order to view the boards, so I'll save you the trouble and post it here.

64 days...64 days...64 days...dammit! :)

WARNING: spoilers ahead, read at your own risk!


Well, let me tell you a little story....

First of all I'd like to thank the vhforums an rrcliche for helping me out with this.

I had overheard Michael Anthony's brother talking about the band rehearsing at Sony Studio's when I attended the Yamaha guitar event at WestLA music last week and with rrcliche's tip that the rehearsal was taking place at SS30, I knew that this was my opportunity to try and crash the Van Halen final rehearsal.

The original plan was to stake out The Whisky and hope for the best. i.e., try to talk our way in somehow. However, after reading some of the earlier threads I was comvinced that this was not going to happen at The Whisky, but at the Sony Studios in Culver City.

So, my best friend and I drive to Culver City and work out the details of possible scenarios, to present to the security, that might get us in. Mind you, at this point, we are just hoping that we find the right location. As we're driving to the studios and approach the grounds we can see the sound stage numbers off of Washington Blvd., 28, 29, sound stage 30 must be around the block. We turn the corner and we see another entrance into the complex and can see an array of trucks lined up inside the gates. I imagine that these must be Van Halen's equipment trucks. My friend and I find a parking spot right outside of the complex and continue to ponder how are plan will all pan out.

So we walk toward the entrance and notice that there are like four police/security officers; this was a little itimidating; however we were determined and decided we would walk in and act as though we were expected there. We just told them that we were here for the Van Halen event and they told us to go to the Visitor's Center. Awesome, we passed the first checkpoint. We get to the Visitor's Center and say the same thing; they tell us which direction to go. When we pass the second checkpoint, we see that there is a check in table, but we just continue to walk in the direction of stage 30.

We approach the soundstage and it becomes obvious that we have arrived at the right location; the Van Halen stage and Alex's monster kit is visible through the wide stage doors. At this point, many people are just hanging out outside waiting for the show to start. I see a few people casually walk in, so I think this is a good time for us to walk in; however, what I hadn't noticed was that everyone else was wearing a purple wrist band. This was brought to my attention by the security guard that asked to see it when I tried to casually walk in. Well, I just told him that they hadn't given me one and so he kindly instructed me of where to go and get one.

This is where I had to think fast. If we went back to the check in table, we would have been turned away for not being on the list and they would have recognized us if we tried sneeking past them again. So I thought all they needed to see is a purple wrist band; why not make one for ourselves and try it out with the guards at the entrance to the studio.

So we left Sony Studios at 7:15 and took a trip to Target in hopes of finding colored tape or something that we could use to simulate the appearance of the purple wristband. Well, they did not have any purple colored tape or ribbon. However, I realized that if we could just find something purple that was made of a plastic that we could cut then we might be in business. I found a plastic purble pocket folder, some scissors and some tape and we were ready to forge our Van Halen wristbands.

Having made our wristbands it was time to rush back to Sony Studios with the hope that we could pass the first two rounds of security as easily as we did the first go round. We left Target at 7:40 and made it back to Sony Studios by like 7:45. We managed to get past the first two security checkpoints again by simply telling them that we were there for Van Halen, we ignored the check in table and then we were ready for our final test. Would our homemade wristbands get us past the entrance to the actual rehearsal.

Well, hell yeah!!!! It worked!!! The band had already started and we must have missed two or three songs, but the feeling of actually getting in. It felt like the scene in The Song Remains the Same when the kids get in through some side door and the security is totally cool! I was ecstatic, the band were playing Somebody Get Me A Doctor and I was in and the world was good!

I couldn't believe how lucky I was. I was hoping I could have an awesome Van Halen experience like this. I'm moving to Seattle in August and although I have tickets to the Oakland, CA show I would be missing all the Southern CA shows and would have loved to have seen them here one last time. Well, I got my wish; it doesn't happen very often.
I crashed Van Halen's final rehearsal and got to see them from like the third row, Eddie's side. Amazing, this was the kind of Van Halen/Hollywood send-off I was hoping for, and it happened. Now, I just hope they add some Seattle dates. LOL.

Thanks for bearing with me and letting me ramble on, I'm just really excited about how things worked out so perfectly. So about the show...

I'll just list my observations along with the songs I remember them playing towards the end of the post for those that don't want to read set list spoilers:

** Alex is playing a natural finish Ludwig kit which consists of three bass drums, two rack toms, two floor toms, various configurations of clear octaban style drums on his left and right side, etc.

** The stage is similar to the previous descriptions posted here. Unlike the U2 stage, Van Halen are using a stage similar in size to their previous stage set-ups, however they are incorporating a amall ring within that stage that allows a amall number of fans to stand inside the ring. In other words, the ring is not like a cat walk that extends too far from where the stage would normally. The backdrop is in the shape of a giant rust colored mine that holds a giant video screen. In addition, there are stairs in which Sammy can climb to the top of the backdrop.

** Alex was not wearing a neck brace.

** Eddie did not smoke one cigarette.

** Mike did not perform a bass drum solo? (unless he did before I got there)

** Eddie is doing some interesting things with the guitar. He sounds very aggressive and when he solos he sounds as though he is challenging himself by countering his traditional soloes with somthing new. I'm not a guitar player, so maybe someone else that was there can convey this better.

** Overall it was an excellent show. It was just amazing for me to take part in this experience. I think that the guys will get tighter as the tour progresses. During this rehearsal show I got the impression that they were taking more chances in trying new things than they normally would at a regular show. Sometimes it worked brilliantly and sometimes not, but it was great to see that. One thing I can tell you though is that these guys are ready to rock!!!

(I got there late so I missed some songs and the songs listed are notin the correct order)

Jump (NOTE: reported by other sources as opening song)
Somebody Get Me a Doctor
Best of Both Worlds
It's About Time
Why Can't This Be Love
Ain't Talking About Love
Learning To See
Right Now
You Really Got Me
When It's Love
Alex Drum Solo
Eddie Guitar Solo (featuring Wolfie)
Top Of The World

(I'm sure I missed some, but I'm tired and need to crash)

Thank you Van Halen for an awesome experience!


Well-known member
Dec 3, 2002
Scottsdale, AZ
Here's more "official" news about the dress rehearsal, more in depth, etc.


Given the story that you just read regarding the "crashing", I love the quote in the article: "The final dress rehearsal of the most anticipated tour of the year was held before only a couple of hundred people under the strictest security at a closed Sony Studio in Southern California." Uh, yeah. :)

But then, two sentences later, I'm happy: "The band was tight and looked like they enjoyed everything about the experience." :)

The countdown to Phoenix continues....
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