Throwback Concerts: Van Halen made several stops in Indianapolis

Posted at 5:30 AM, Oct 08, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS — The death of Eddie Van Halen has many fans remembering the glory days of Van Halen.

The rock band made several stops to the Circle City throughout the 1980s.


Throwback Concert: Van Halen in Indianapolis in 1984

Fans began lining up outside Market Square Arena for tickets to Van Halen’s 1984 Tour on March 30, 1984.

By the time the box office opened three days later, the crowd had grown to a few hundred fans and a line that stretched around the building.

Market Square Arena staff told former WRTV reporter Greg Todd that they hadn’t seen a line like that since Elvis came to Indianapolis.

All 18,178 tickets for the July 5th show were sold out in two hours.

Fortunately, a second show was added for July 6th. In all, more than 36 thousand tickets were sold in less than 8 hours. Ticket prices began at just $12.50.

One thing new for 1984 was a computerized ticket system. Most fans weren’t aware that buyers at all ticket locations had an equal chance at the best seats available.


Throwback Concert: Van Halen in Indianapolis in 1986

Van Halen returned to Indianapolis just two years later; however, the band’s lineup had changed. Indiana native David Lee Roth was out as a lead singer, and Sammy Hagar was in.

The band discussed the change with former WRTV reporter Debra Darnell on May 3, 1986.

“The last time I was in Indianapolis, it was a great show,” said Sammy Hagar. “The last time they [Van Halen] were here in Indianapolis, it was a great show for them. I guarantee it will be better than both of them put together.”

Darnell and the WRTV crew were on hand for the band’s soundcheck, which Eddie Van Halen did not attend.

His brother, Alex Van Halen, said one of Van Halen’s music's unique aspects was that the band wasn’t afraid to try new things.

“We’ve tried anything from oboes to synthesizers to violins to cellos. You name it—any instrument. Look at The Beatles, one of the most prolific bands in the world.

They have tried all kinds of different orchestrations. So we’re not limiting ourselves to just the guitar.”


Throwback Concert: Van Halen in Indianapolis in 1988

Van Halen returned to Indianapolis in 1988 as part of the Monsters of Rock Tour 1988.

Van Halen was one of five bands that performed during the nine-hour concert.

The Scorpions, Metallica, Dokken, and Kingdom Come also performed.

The tour name drew controversy, which the members of Van Halen took issue.

“In some ways, the Monsters thing has been misinterpreted by a lot of people, and a lot of people take it as being a negative heavy underground type rock show,” said Eddie Van Halen. “There’s really no violence.”