There was no one else like Eddie Van Halen. a musician who went against all musical logic. The master guitarist revolutionized the art of the guitar solo with his head-spinning speed, unfathomable control, and avant-garde stylings, forever altering music.
The guitar legend lost his long fight with cancer two years ago, on October 6, 2020. Here are 5 thrilling live performances that he undoubtedly still serves up in the rock and roll afterlife to commemorate his life and legacy.
“Eruption” Live at New Haven’s Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 1986
One of the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time is the solo from the instrumental shredding “Eruption.” Van Halen’s multi-dimensional atmosphere is intriguing and highlights the tapping style that the guitarist invented.
“Cathedral” Live on the Les Paul Television Special, 1988
During his 1988 television special, Les Paul: He Changed the Music, the Les Paul welcomed Van Halen onstage. In the meditative song “Cathedral,” Van Halen scales the guitar neck while playing crisp, clear notes. It is not required for this example of guitar brilliance to have the signature Van Halen piercing cry.
“Hot for Teacher” Jimmy Kimmel Live on Hollywood Boulevard, 2015
Even as he winces and scrunches his face in concentration, the guitarist’s booming solo abilities look to be effortless, cutting through the barreling, hard-rocking live performance as Diamond Dave tells Van Halen to “Light ’em up.”
“Jump” Live on the Balance Tour, 1995
The keyboard in “Jump” provides the song’s driving force and has those instantly familiar sounds, but the guitar solo is what makes a Van Halen song memorable to listeners. It bursts forth in a screech, a brief yet potent moment that can stand up to the already thunderous song.
Just an Awesome Guitar Solo Live at US Festival, 1983
Van Halen burns everything down to the ground in this 12-minute guitar solo, which stands as the pinnacle of all guitar solos, simply because he can.