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At the 2019 Melbourne Guitar Show, Simon Hosford’s Fair Warning performed Van Halen’s debut album live from track to track, just as you play the record on your turntable. Thanks to Peter Rickman’s (Advanced Audio Melbourne), plus Simon Hosford’s amazing mixing effort, we can now deliver you the full performance. This one’s for you Eddie! Pics by Jason Rosewarne and Greg Phillips

Fair Warning consists of:
Simon Hosford – Guitar
Gerry Pantazis – Drums
Jason Vorherr – Bass
David Bowers – Vocals


Video time clock
(“Side A”)
00:00 Intro
00:45 Running With The Devil
04:17 Eruption
06:39 You Really Got Me
09:19 Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love
13:09 I’m The One

(“Side B”)
16:58 Jamie’s Cryin’
20:56 Atomic Punk
24:14 Feel Your Love Tonight
28:04 Little Dreamer
32:19 Ice Cream Man
36:02 On Fire
39:29 Credits & Thank You’s

The self-titled debut studio album by Van Halen was released on February 10, 1978. The album peaked at #19 on the Billboard 200 and sold more than 10 million copies in the United States, receiving Diamond certification. The album contains some of Van Halen’s most well-known songs, including “Runnin’ with the Devil”, “Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Love”, “Jamie’s Cryin'”, and their cover of The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me”. The 1 minute and 42 second Eddie Van Halen instrumental “Eruption” is considered one of the best electric guitar solos of all time and popularized the technique of two-handed tapping

Simon Hosford reflects on the Melbourne Guitar Show performance:

Fair Warning is a fun band that I put together back in 1997, for no other reason than to have fun and keep our chops up by jamming Van Halen songs with my talented and good pals, as we all toured in Tommy Emmanuel’s band at the time. We didn’t even have an intention to do a gig, it was purely for a fortnightly get together in our favourite Melbourne rehearsal space: setting up our gear, having a few beers, and playing the music of early Van Halen (and sneaking in some Sammy Hagar era songs too, naturally). So obviously, we never intended to be a ‘tribute’ band in the strictest sense (where we even try and act and look like our musical heroes), we were content enough just playing the music as close as possible to the record. We jammed every fortnight for a year, and had a blast, but the only gig we ever did was for the Frankston Guitar Festival in 1998, more than 20 years ago.”

As the 40th Anniversary of the debut Van Halen record approached, I thought it would be novel to get “Fair Warning” back together and do a show. I spoke to Rob Walker, who does an amazing job putting together the Melbourne Guitar Show and we tried to make it happen but alas, the schedules of everyone did not align. Thank you to Rob Walker and Greg Phillips for thier eternal patience with us, because the planets did align for us to headline on the Saturday of the following year, August 3rd 2019, which we thought would be acceptably close to the anniversary anyway Lol (well, it’s a whole year off, but we just wanted to do it, so any excuse, right?)

The concept was simple: as a proper ‘homage’ to the album – to play it from start to finish, like a live version of listening to the record, if you will – a nice tight 40 min show…

However, (and to quote a Seinfeld phrase): “the sea was angry that day my friends”.. which is to say, anything that could go wrong did go wrong. The P.A. blew up earlier in the day due to a power issue in the building, therefore the most we got was a line check, and one of the guitar lines was crapping out during the show. We were truly flying by the seat of our pants. So if you see crew scrambling onto the stage to fix issues, that’s why. If you see us constantly motioning to crew offstage to turn this up or turn this down, that’s why. If you hear a little ‘crackling’ from time to time in the audio, that’s why (it’s not your speakers lol). And then the live stream went out with only the right speaker channel of audio. Cest La Vie. Mercifully, the audio multitracks and some of the camera feeds on the day were stored on disk, and apart from one of the guitar channels, was all intact.

So now, albeit two years later than the anniversary of the album release; one year later than our performance at The Melbourne Guitar Show; and with full respect to Edward, Wolf, Valerie and everyone in the whole extended Van Halen family, here is the footage of us playing the first album from start to finish….

We tried to play it ‘true’ musically, but more than that – we tried to feel onstage, while playing, the way we felt when we all first heard this music… and playing this stuff, you just can’t wait wipe the smile off your damn face!…so, yes, we know we look like goofy kids in a candy store in some parts, but we’re ok with that; because when I was 12 years old, it was Edward that taught me that it was ok to smile when you played your instrument; it was Edward that showed me that it was ok to look like you’re having as much fun as you are; and that music is an expression of joy.

RIP Edward – you changed the world while you were here for a short while, because you changed all of us in it… and how WE are now will change our children, and on and on it will cascade forever. The world knows that you wrote a lot of great songs, and that your guitar playing was completely unique and innovative… but I like to think it is ‘WE’ – the people that you touched and changed for generations to come – that are your greatest composition, and your grandest accomplishment.


Here’s a chat we had with Simon pre-Melbourne Guitar Show performance (and pre-covid)

Here are some photos from the gig courtesy Jason Rosewarne and Greg Phillips

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