Glitches like this have to be the kind of thing that makes a performer want to “jump” off the stage when they rear their ugly heads. This can be kind of painful to watch if you are the type that will feel for people that end up in a situation such as this.
From the very start it does not sound too bad and it is not obvious to many folks that something is wrong. Listening to Eddie Van Halen hunt and peck for the right notes on his guitar is what really calls attention to what has gone terribly wrong when the band launches into “Jump,” one of their best-known hits.
Most accounts of what happened say that the recorded synthesizer that plays such a prominent role in his song is actually playing faster and as a consequence, a bit higher than it should be. This is what causes so much trouble for Eddie as he tries to find the right key to play along with and for obvious reasons, he just isn’t able to find it.
Somehow he manages to soldier on and get through the song and I wonder if whoever was in charge of setting up that synthesizer sound is still with the show at this point. It would be hard to blame the guys in the band for being ticked off over that screw-up.
As always, YouTube is there for us and you can see how this actually played out in Greensboro, NC. Like so many of these concert clips, the sound really sucks, but even so, it’s easy to hear Eddie’s valiant efforts to get through this on-stage disaster.
In addition to the synthesizer rumor, there are also some that believe that Eddie’s guitar is simply out of tune. That would explain the synthesizer not sounding obviously wrong to my ears. I don’t claim to have perfect pitch, so I suppose it could indeed be a bit off.