At last! The "holy grail" footage of Van Halen's full set at Donington 1984 has unexpectedly surfaced online

David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen onstage at Donington 1984
(Image credit: Van Halen)

While audio bootlegs of Van Halen's era-defining set at the Monsters Of Rock Festival at Donington Park in 1984 have circulated almost from the moment the band departed the stage, video has been in short supply. Footage of the band's performance of Hot For Teacher was filmed for MTV and is readily available, but the rest? Nowhere to be seen.

It wasn't meant to be this way. After a set-closing Panama, frontman David Lee Roth told the crowd, "we're going to take a little bit of film back to the United States, and show them how England fucking does it," but the full footage has never emerged. Until now.

A YouTuber by the name of Hot Shoe, Burnin' Down the Avenue – named after a lyric from the aforementioned Panama – has uploaded what appears to be the rest of the film. It's pro-shot, and while the audio isn't perfect (it cuts in and out, flickers from stereo to mono, and features plenty of audible chatter from the crowd), it captures the excitement of the show brilliantly. The set was something of a rarity, after all: it was Van Halen's first UK show since the World Invasion tour of 1980, and their final ever show in The UK with Roth, who departed at the end of the tour.

The footage also includes the band's walk-on, and some silent, post-show footage shot in the dressing room. It also includes Eddie Van Halen's guitar solo and Michael Anthony's four-minute bass solo, but the less said about the latter, the better. And while most fans remember Van Halen's one and only Donington show for David Lee Roth's between-song patter rather than the music, it's still a glorious reminder of a band that brought the party wherever they played.

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 37 years in music industry, online for 24. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.