What exactly went wrong at this botched Van Halen performance of Jump? The discussion continues, though the current running consensus is that a guitar tuning was screwed up, not the sample rate on a performance. (It’s not clear why Van Halen transposed the track from the album version, but that’s near-certainty.) Even the creator of a video supporting the sample rate theory has backed down. Christopher shares his explanation below.

Pray that one day your onstage train wrecks will get this much analysis. Mine tend to involve only free produce — not always fresh, sadly.

Wilfred Fumbly says, just so you don’t have to bother him about it any more:

I took it off for a couple reasons. First, I’m pretty busy with work and found having to respond/answer/defend was taking up a lot of time and mental energy.

Secondly, I began to question my original theory. At the time, it seemed like a reasonably theory because the song isn’t exactly in C#… it’s close. So a sample rate screw up seemed a good explanation and the math seemed to work in its favour too. I began to doubt the theory though, as time went on and VH continued to play the song at other shows in the same weird key.

It’s possible that they simply adapted to a screwed up computer file and my theory was right all along. But there’s no way to know that. Apparently VH has played the song in C, C#, and D on various tours… but I didn’t know that at the time.

So, rather than mislead people into thinking I knew the answer for sure… I took the video response off.

Cuz I’m not sure anymore.

Or maybe the whole event is the result of a discontinuity in time, produced by the unnatural attempt to keep Van Halen’s career alive, as The Master suggests in comments.

What’s amazingly tiresome about this argument is the esoteric tweak-freakish strong-minded opinions toward one cause or another.
Here’s the bottom line. The mighty Van Halen is nothing but a dream, a dream best left remembered. To go out on tour in their current state, and with the current line-up, is a complete waste of time. Shame on them, and shame on anyone who promotes their ridiculous conceited behavior. I’m glad someone one was out of tune. Who cares if it was Eddie or the keyboard. They sucked, they sounded horrible, and people paid a LOT of money for it. Shame shame shame! If they all got on the same page way back in the day, they might have had a better chance of staying together as a band. If Eddie quit drinking and started smoking weed, or if David Lee Roth did the opposite, then they might still be together. You can’t have a pot head and a drunk competing with each other for control of a band like that. They both need to be on the same page chemically.

See? Everyone has a theory.

  • cdmr

    'The Master's' is just a troll.

    The reviews of this tour have been absolutely spectacular. (Check out the other vids on youtube and the fans comments) The band is sounding better than they did at their peak in '84. The fans are certainly getting their money's worth with a 2 hour relentless set list of classic Van Halen played at top form.

  • Strongly seconding cmdr … I'd easily say "best show I've seen this year" if I didn't have to compare it against seeing the Flaming Lips and 600 laser pointers — only because it's hard to do battle with 600 laser pointers.

  • The Master is totally a troll. But he earns Troll Style Points … not for being right, but simply for being very effectively mean. 😉

    Plus, I can picture him looking like The Master from Doctor Who.

    Oh, and it is *possible* to do battle with 600 laser pointers; you just have to be able to do it blind.

  • jd

    C#? I highly doubt it. Van Halen known to only use Java.

  • grapewizardusa

    I can't really understand why everyone is making such a big deal out of this. Bands screw up all the time. Granted, you would think that a band pouring so much money into their stage show might pay closer attention to this sort of thing (or, I don't know, bring a keyboard player?), but it happens to everyone.

  • I opened several Youtube videos of their "Jump" performances this year, including the incriminating one, in different windows and switched back and forth. When you do this, it's very obvious that the synth part is in the same key every time, and the tempo is the same.

    So it's Eddie's guitar that was out of tune. I assume there's a very embarrassed and very fired guitar tech out there somewhere.

  • craven moorehead

    wait, so they've played other concerts with the same tuning for that song and eddie was off on that one performance?

  • Anonymous

    Ok, am I just blind? Where is the actual video? I still have yet to see it…

  • r

    kirn: "Oh, and it is *possible* to do battle with 600 laser pointers; you just have to be able to do it blind."

    damn the torpedoes! all you need is a mirror : )


  • If eddie was out of tune, you would think that he would notice right away and immediatly gesture to his tech for a guitar switch. It doesnt take very long to switch guitars, at least compared to the amount of time one could spend sounding horribly out of tune throughout a song.

  • ok, maybe somebody else said something about this already, but why is the intro with the filter sweeps in what seems to be the "right" key? (or what would sound right with eddie's tuning?)

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