1981 Tour Dates – Fair Warning Tour

Start Date: May 12, 1981
End Date: Oct 25, 1981
Locations: North America (US, Canada)
Promo Tour: Nov 1981 (Germany, Italy, Spain, France)

Van Halen’s 1981 tour, dubbed “WDFA,” saw them playing 2 and 3 nights straight in the same city. This tour and album are often cited today as a fan favorite. The 3 famous live MTV videos come from the Oakland, Ca show on this tour.


Note: Dates below in red are links to content posted on this site. Just click to view a specific date. Or you can view all posts from 1981 here.
Date City Country Venue
First North American Leg
May 12, 1981 Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada Halifax Metro Centre
May 15, 1981 Providence, Rhode Island United States Providence Civic Center
May 16, 1981 Portland, Maine Cumberland County Civic Center
May 17, 1981 Glens Falls, New York Glens Falls Civic Center
May 18, 1981 Rochester, New York Rochester Community War Memorial
May 20, 1981 Charleston, West Virginia Charleston Civic Center
May 22, 1981 Louisville, Kentucky Freedom Hall
May 23, 1981 Dayton, Ohio Hara Arena
May 24, 1981 Kalamazoo, Michigan Wings Stadium
May 27, 1981 Richfield, Ohio Richfield Coliseum
May 31, 1981 Spokane, Washington Spokane Coliseum
June 2, 1981 Vancouver, British Columbia Canada Pacific Coliseum
June 5, 1981 Seattle, Washington United States Seattle Center Coliseum
June 8, 1981 Portland, Oregon Memorial Coliseum
June 9, 1981
June 11, 1981 Oakland, California Oakland Arena
June 12, 1981
June 13, 1981
June 16, 1981 Las Vegas, Nevada Aladdin Theater
June 18, 1981 Fresno, California Selland Arena
June 19, 1981 Los Angeles, California LA Sports Arena
June 20, 1981 Inglewood, California The Forum
June 21, 1981
Second North American Leg
July 2, 1981 Milwaukee, Wisconsin United States MECCA Arena
July 3, 1981 Detroit, Michigan Cobo Hall
July 4, 1981
July 5, 1981
July 7, 1981 Saint Paul, Minnesota St. Paul Civic Center
July 9, 1981 Indianapolis, Indiana Market Square Arena
July 10, 1981 Chicago, Illinois International Amphitheatre
July 11, 1981
July 12, 1981
July 14, 1981 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Civic Arena
July 16, 1981 New Haven, Connecticut New Haven Coliseum
July 17, 1981 New York City, New York Madison Square Garden
July 18, 1981 Uniondale, New York Nassau Coliseum
July 20, 1981 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania The Spectrum
July 21, 1981
July 22, 1981
July 24, 1981 Boston, Massachusetts Boston Garden
July 25, 1981
July 26, 1981 Portland, Maine Cumberland County Civic Center
July 27, 1981 Roanoke, Virginia Roanoke Civic Center
July 28, 1981 Landover, Maryland Capital Centre
July 29, 1981
July 30, 1981
July 31, 1981 Buffalo, New York Buffalo Memorial Auditorium
August 2, 1981 Richfield, Ohio Richfield Coliseum
August 3, 1981
August 4, 1981 Toronto, Ontario Canada Maple Leaf Gardens
August 5, 1981 Montreal, Quebec Montreal Forum
Third North American Leg
August 18, 1981 Pembroke Pines, Florida United States Hollywood Sportatorium
August 19, 1981 Lakeland, Florida Lakeland Civic Center
August 22, 1981 Atlanta, Georgia The Omni
August 23, 1981 Knoxville, Tennessee Knoxville Civic Coliseum
August 24, 1981 Charlotte, North Carolina Charlotte Coliseum
August 25, 1981 Greensboro, North Carolina Greensboro Coliseum
August 27, 1981 Hampton, Virginia Hampton Coliseum
August 29, 1981 Cincinnati, Ohio Riverfront Coliseum
August 30, 1981 Nashville, Tennessee Nashville Municipal Auditorium
August 31, 1981 Birmingham, Alabama Birmingham–Jefferson Convention Complex
September 1, 1981 Memphis, Tennessee Mid-South Coliseum
September 3, 1981 Huntsville, Alabama Von Braun Civic Center
September 4, 1981 Jackson, Mississippi Mississippi Coliseum
September 5, 1981 Biloxi, Mississippi Mississippi Coast Coliseum
September 6, 1981 Baton Rouge, Louisiana Riverside Centroplex
September 8, 1981 Shreveport, Louisiana Hirsch Memorial Coliseum
September 10, 1981 Dallas, Texas Reunion Arena
September 11, 1981
September 12, 1981 Houston, Texas Sam Houston Coliseum
Fourth North American Leg
September 28, 1981 Phoenix, Arizona United States Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
September 29, 1981 San Diego, California San Diego Sports Arena
October 2, 1981 Austin, Texas Frank Erwin Center
October 3, 1981 Norman, Oklahoma Lloyd Noble Center
October 6, 1981 Albuquerque, New Mexico Tingley Coliseum
October 7, 1981 El Paso, Texas El Paso County Coliseum
October 9, 1981 San Antonio, Texas San Antonio Convention Center
October 15, 1981 Tulsa, Oklahoma Mabee Center
October 16, 1981 Valley Center, Kansas Kansas Coliseum
October 17, 1981 Kansas City, Missouri Kemper Arena
October 18, 1981 St. Louis, Missouri St. Louis Arena
October 20, 1981 Omaha, Nebraska Omaha Civic Auditorium
October 21, 1981 Cedar Rapids, Iowa Five Seasons Center
October 24, 1981 Orlando, Florida Tangerine Bowl (Opening for The Rolling Stones)
October 25, 1981

*Source: Wikipedia

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I was at the 1981 concert in hollywood, fla


wow, who opened for them? i was at the Indy concert , same tour. it was loud as hell in MSA (Market Square Arena). One of the loudest venues I’ve even been to for all events. Pacers’ games were ear-blowing loud. Concerts, well, you better have been prepared , deafening just the way I liked it. Eddie loved to turn his guitar inputs up to overwhelm and dominate but allowed us to hear other performers. I realize it was ultimately up to the board operator but I’m telling you, he had something to do with his guitar being maxed.

[…] up at Halifax, Nova Scotia, for opening night, Van Halen unleashed 90,000 watts of sound after the crew lugged in 175,000 tons […]


I remember the teenagers in my neighborhood going to the Sporto in Hollywood FL. I was 6th grade.
Folks would not me go. Still bummed out about it 🙂


Oh!!! Same here, I was so pissed my folks wouldn’t let me go to that show at the ‘Scumatorium”. I was in 6th grade, I remember kids wearing the concert shirt to school the next day and it drove me crazy! I had to wait til the 1984 tour to see them…I am still bummed about not seeing the Fair Warning tour, it’s my favorite album.


The Fools from Ipswich, MA ( Psycho Chicken, It’s a Night For beautiful Girls, Life Sucks Then You Die, World Dance Party) opened for them for 30 or so stops on that tour! They said Eddy was a sweetheart, the singer, just the opposite.


I can’t remember who opened for them July 9th 1981, my ticket stub just has then and is torn off, but even if it wasn’t torn, i don’t think they show the warm-up act on the ticket stub. Does anyone remember who warmed up at the Indianpolis Show and would the warm-up band have traveled for all 89 tour dates? i know Van Halen opened for the Stones on date 90 and date 91 so there would have been 89 shows in 4-legs …. was it the RED-ROCKER? i know i went to to a concert where Sammy opened up for a band, but I can’t remember which concert it was. I went to many concerts as a teen and college student.


the opening band was The Fools. They opened about half the 1981 dates. VH always had obscure no-name bands opening mostly 😉

K feeney

In the 2 July concerts in Boston local Boston band the fools opened up Saturday night the 25th.


I saw 4 dates on this tour. Two in Louisiana, 2 in MS 🤘🤘🤘