3/3/1978 – Chicago, IL @ The Aragon Ballroom (Photos)

Photos of Van Halen on the first show of their very first tour with Montrose and Journey.

Date: 3/3/1978
Location: Chicago, IL
Venue: Aragon Ballroom
Lineup: Van Halen / Montrose / Journey

Audio from Noel Monk’s book about this show

Buy the book from Van Halen’s manager, Runnin’ with the Devil: A Backstage Pass to the Wild Times, Loud Rock, and the Down and Dirty Truth Behind the Making of Van Halen by Noel Monk

Setlist 3/3/1978

  1. On Fire
  2. I’m the One
  3. Bass Solo
  4. Runnin’ with the Devil
  5. Feel Your Love Tonight
  6. Atomic Punk
  7. Drum Solo
  8. Little Dreamer
  9. Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love
  10. Ice Cream Man
  11. Eruption
  12. You Really Got Me


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Mark Filippi

Everywhere I look they have the setlist wrong. I was there 3/3/78 at the Aragon and they opened up with Atomic Punk. When the song ended, DLR said, “Chicago, I’d like you to meet my very good friend, Mr. Edward Van Halen” and Eddie went right into Eruption. Out of Eruption they went, no, not into You Really Got Me, but Ain’t Talking’ Bout Love!!! The Aragon was a great sounding room and I can still remember the incredible chunky sound of Eddie’s guitar on the intro to Ain’t Talking’ Bout Love. It sounded like the walls of the Aragon were breathing in and out with every note of that guitar intro! It was definitely in the top 5 concerts I ever experienced and I used to live at the Aragon Ballroom, Chicago Amphitheater and every other concert venue in Chicago!!! Montrose and Journey were incredible too!!! Steve Perry had just joined Journey and it was the Infinity Tour.


I was there 3/3/1978! I was 16 and drove my 69’ Grand Prix from the suburbs with a car load of friends. We went early, parked in the elevated garage next to the Aragon, and secured a spot in line for the general admission concert. A couple of us stayed and partied in the car and then we swapped with the others in line by climbing up and down the garage wall. We did this all day until the doors opened. Once the doors opened, we were all in line packed like sardines. You could pick your feet up from the ground and still move towards the open doors. Once inside a frantic race to get as close to the stage as possible, then secured our groups seats in the FORTH ROW! We got to see VAN HALEN’S first tour show from the FORTH ROW! We were primarily there for VAN HALEN. We were hard rocking teenagers and loved the new sounds of VAN HALEN. Montrose and Journey were a plus, but we went to see VAN HALEN! Eddy and the gang started blasting out our newly discovered music in an EXPLOSIVE 🧨 way I’ll never forget! THE BEST CONCERT I’VE EVER ATTENDED.
At the time we did not realize the history that was being made. VAN HALEN went on to become the BIGGEST and BEST bands of ALL TIME!

David Overstreet

Reading Noel Monks Book right now and just read about Van Halen’s first concert at the Aragon and the technical difficulties.
Very amusing that they wore what they called their Kiss boots to that first show. It would also be the last time that they wore those boots LOL. Looking at these photos of David Lee Roth makes it feel more realistic. Very much enjoying the book so far, and look forward to reading the rest of it.
Van Halen is one of my 2 favorite rock and roll bands including AC/DC.
I still remember the rock and roll radio station debuting those first 5 promotion songs in January of 1978 on the radio. I was 11 years old at the time. And even then knew that this rock band was going to end up being one of the best in the world, if not the best.

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