Van Halen: recorded Jump goof at concert

BB Gadgets maestro Joel Johnson ruined my morning today by sending this clip of a recent Van Halen concert, featuring a "Jump" train wreck. Apparently, the pre-recorded synth parts were accidentally played back at a 48k bitrate instead of 44.1k. The result is a dissonant mess. From RW370:
Vhalenjump Eddie tries to transpose on the fly and match the wildly fucked up keyboards but the great thing there is the difference in pitch is non-musical - about 1.5 semitones sharp. So there’s no frets he can choose to fix the problem!


  1. I guess they couldn’t afford to hire a ringer to actually play some keyboards? Sad.

    Love the line from the song “you’ve got to ro-oh-oll with the punches to get to what’s real.”


  2. Perhaps it wouldn’t have seemed quite like such a trainwreck if Roth hadn’t decided to ride a massive inflatable microphone around the audience like a horsey.

  3. That was so painful I couldn’t even make it through the whole thing. I know “the show must go on” but I don’t know what I would have done if I was Eddie up on that stage. The funny thing is I bet most of the people there thought the problem was him not knowing how to play the song.

  4. ouch. ouch, ouch, OUCH. that was painful to listen to, for sure. what i found MORE painful, though, is just how sad it is to see them performing that song at their age. poor eddie robotically doing his jump at the same point in the music every time it rolls around, and diamond dave having no money maker to shake, or the even energy to shake it if he did, apparently…. gah. it’s all just sad. leave me to my memories, please!

  5. What’s amazing to me is the audience enthusiastic reaction… I suppose its possible it was a function of the overall show (assuming the rest of the set went off without a hitch), but it appears to me that despite the bomb, it was good enough for the VH fans in Greensboro. Odd.

    I once saw Joni Mitchell (also large stadium show) bomb. She stopped the song and basically said “we can do better than that – we’ll come back to that one later.” She played a couple tunes and without any warning broke right into the one (title escapes me) she originally flopped. And it was a beautiful rendition. I think I prefer that to “[riding] a massive inflatable microphone around the audience like a horsey.”

    The king-fu was cool.

  6. Wow, whoda thunk it could happen?

    I watched Tull’s Isle of Wight video last night. Man, people were stoned back then, but they could put on a show.

  7. I couldn’t watch it. If you’ve ever been on stage when something horrible like that has happened and there’s no escape… Ugh. You just go on autopilot and hope you’re the only one who notices, but you know it’s not the case.

    I just felt so badly for them.

    I saw a band in a bar in Tokyo (at the bar Bauhaus, which seems to have disappeared) do this song, and the guitarist had a MIDI pickup that he used to play the opening synth part, which usually would be a total mess, but he nailed it. Perhaps the Van Halen guys should seek him out.

    Poor guys.

  8. Didn’t Eddie originally play that kb part live? Or was that just a bit of ‘syth-syncing’ in the original video?

    You’ve got to hand it to them, though, for sticking with it. They definitely proved that they are seasoned performers, the way they just rolled with it and kept up the shtick/choreography.

    But yeah, some sound guy SO got fired that night.

  9. funny thing is… it’s Dave that seems to be the only one who can handle the fubar. he’s singing to the keyboard while ed is really struggling to adapt.

  10. @noddy93: if it was 1.5 semitones sharp, that’s easy to do with voice, pretty much impossible with a guitar.

  11. as technically astute as RW370 claims to be, I felt the urge to post this reply…
    Just so you know:
    I am a stagehand in Charlotte, NC where they spent the week before the Greensboro show rehearsing and preparing for the tour.
    I am, by no means, a Van Halen fan. I would like little more than to find fault, but I find myself in the position of defending them here.
    I happen to know for a fact that there is a live keyboard player just offstage where he cannot be seen. As strange as that sounds, it is done from time to time by guitar-driven bands that do not want to let people see something so inhuman as a synthesizer. (Or for some random other reason, there is just no telling.)
    I will say again that I was not at the Greensboro show, but I heard the full set at least 6 times in the week before it. Each and every time, they tore through numbers with remarkable skill which impressed me, despite my lack of fondness for their music.
    If you wish to attack Dave and his giant inflatable microphone or anything else of the sort, have at it, but trying to do a critical analysis of the tonal qualities of a band based on a cellphone video is pointless.

  12. Okay, but has anyone else noticed that the “microphone” looks suspiciously like a penis with testes (testis) satchel ?

    “You’ve got to roll with the punches to get to what’s real.”

    It must be about Lance Armstrong.

  13. Strangely, this gaffe didn’t get mentioned in a local newspaper review which did highlight “rough spots” in the setlist:

    “This was the second show of the tour and Wolfgang is still getting his sea legs as Van Halen’s bassist and backup vocalist. So there were some rough spots, especially on the songs requiring a lighter touch (“Dance the Night Away,” “Jamie’s Cryin’”).

    Still, there were only a handful of clunkers, and virtually the entire soldout crowd stayed on its feet for the entire two-hour show.”

    Someone on youtube claims the video is doctored with bad overdubbed guitar, but I’m not convinced. I think it’s real.

  14. Ironic that this song contains the lyrics: “I ain’t the worst that you’ve seen…”

    You are now!

  15. They just need to add Star Wars Trumpet Girl to the lineup for musical perfection (though non-anon).

  16. Okay, hindsight is always 20/20, and I know how hard it would have been, but it would have been better to stop when they realized there was a problem, make a little joke, retune Ed’s guitar (or fix the keyboard thing, if that was plausible), lose a little face, but ultimately leave the audience hearing a favorite done well and in tune. It probably wouldn’t have ended up on Youtube if they had. Sometimes it’s more professional to admit the mistake and fix it.

    But like I said, when you’re already up there, and the song’s already running, it’s easier said than done.

  17. Okay, i am not a tech whiz like some of the submitters but after watching the video three times it clearly seems to be a guitar problem and not a keyboard problem. Watch how EVH paces around, looks down, turns his back to the audience and tries to re tune mid stream. So while many many groups seems to cheat or at least enhance their live performances i do not think this is a revealing moment a la the pathetic ashley simpson on SNL. that said i agree with the person who said leave me with my memories of these guys from the 80s – DLR jut looks sort of sad. do they really need the money that badly. and for those of you who have the time check on the you tube of gwen stefani falling down in glasgow and watch what happens with her own vocals when she falls down – to my non techie ears the volume goes down but the voice continues – almost as if she was using a backing tape of herself in conjuction with her own voice during the concert – of course it is easy to criticize and i would love to have five percent of the talent of all of the performers mentioned above (except ashley simpson)

  18. Ok, so this topic is a little old, but I felt I needed to chime in a little to add some context. First, I was in a band that opened up for David Lee Roth one time, and didn’t stick around for his show. Not that I dislike him, but it’s just that I don’t care that much. So I come here to neither praise him nor bury him. :) First the poster who says that there is a keyboard player offstage is most probably wrong. Even in bands that do not have a keyboardist as part of the “band” they are almost always onstage but not prominent. Plus, I played keyboards, and we’re not all boring to watch:) Second, if it was a keyboard issue playing live, the fix would have been simple and immediate, by tuning the keyboard, but tuning a keyboard is a very deliberate thing to do, and it would have been noticed by anyone with a good ear that it was badly out of tune in the opening musical section. And the reality is, there would be no good reason to detune a keyboard to another key. You don’t play that song thousands of times and not notice that it starts out out of key. Therefore, this had to be (unless everyone in the production of Van Halen is an idiot without an good ear) digital recorded playback, but played back at the wrong speed. This would have been a simple mistake, but no one probably knew why it was done or if it was done on purpose until it was too late.
    Also, EVH was probably trying to tune his guitar to the keyboards, but this is also difficult if not impossible to do six strings on the fly, since it was such a massive change. After one string was tuned, tuning the second string would detune the first one, and so on. A bigger trainwreck would have ensued. I believe he was trying to transpose (which would have been easy it was a keyboard problem, as they are most often “tuned” by key, except for the old analog keyboards).
    To sum it up, this was not a keyboard problem, not a guitar problem, but a playback problem. The the poster who wonders about the Gwen Stefani situation, often the case is that there is a backup singer with a similar voice singing the lead parts to cover when the singer is out of breath. It is also popular to sing along with a prerecorded synced track for the same purpose.
    Personally, I would have felt the thing to do was mute the keyboard track and ad lib. That’s what my band would do in the case of an electronic glitch (we had many over the years) and it was always easier to recover from. But that also requires the freedom of the soundman to do what he thinks is right, and I doubt the soundman is “part” of van Halen, and so this would not have been an option. The soundman could have also fixed the problem by running the keyboard track through a detuner and fixed it that way, but that would require the soundman to know what the problem was to begin with. In the end, it could have all been solved by flicking one little switch, from 48.1Khz to 44.1Khz. Amazing. KNOWING that’s all it would take takes an experience like this one.
    Sorry for the long post, but I hope this clears some things up.

  19. Dresden Black (17), Sickdog (26), thanks for the expert info.

    Mikesum (19), isn’t that the point?

    APBvan (25), it’s not a guitar problem. See Sickdog’s comments — EVH is looking down and has his back to the audience because he’s trying to transpose on the fly.

    Most musicians have had the experience of someone else starting a song in the wrong key. If you can figure out what key they’re in and match it, you may be able to salvage that song.

    My guess would be that Van Halen didn’t stop the song because they interpreted the problem as “the synthesizer’s in the wrong key,” and it took them too long to realize that the synthesizer was in a nonexistent key.

  20. It’s – NONE OF THE ABOVE! Watch any of the any ’07 vids of VH playing JUMP, and look at Wolfgang – he’s playing in C#,without changing basses. As every guitarist knows, VH w/Diamond Dave plays their guitars tuned a half-step down. I would be willing to bet that they decided to do JUMP in the original key, (C)and Eddy was supposed to swap guitars for that song with one tuned to E-standard, and for some reason did not. And I think Wolfie learned it transposed from the start. Once they started Eddy was committed with a guitar that was tuned wrong for that song.

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