I am still reeling after seeing one of the all time great performances at Wembley last night. Mr Coverdale and the boys were simply sensational.
I approached the concert with a little trepidation – I had read some rather negative reviews – but after the first few bars of “Best Years” I was in no doubt that we were witnessing something very special indeed. The crowd played a significant part in the success of the event – DC feeds off the crowd and then pushes them to the limit.
Last night’s set was dominated by the man himself – 56 years of age, but peerless in this form. His sheer stage presence ensured that the combination of new, acoustic and classics was rapturously received. My 14 year old son and 16 year old daughter sang their hearts out – we all did. How much longer he can go on is anyone’s guess, but with a band as tight as the present crew let’s hope that there are many more chances to see one of the great rock presences.
Miss Whitesnake at your peril – when they are good, they are very very good and last night they were simply magnificent. If there is to be a criticism it must be that sharing a three band billing, like Purple did last year with Thin Lizzy and Styx, means that the set list has to be compromised. The Whitesnake back catalogue is jam packed full of classics – another half hour of “Mrs Coverdale naughty boy” and his mates would have been just brilliant.
review: Graham Cooke, Malmesbury, Wiltshire
Wow. What a night! I'm a BIG early years Whitesnake fan; 1987+ I just never got, until now.
What can I say. They played something old, something new, something blue (as Lord Coverdale said back in 1981!!). The new songs are brilliant, the mid period songs got everyone going, and a few oldies from when it was waistcoats, denim and Micky's Panama Hat (not spandex and sequins) kept us diehards happy.
review : Ian Cummins
This isn't really a review, but it is a plea. Following Whitesnake at Wembley I had to write to someone. Publish, don't publish. I don't mind.
I've been following Whitesnake since 1979. I've seen them on every UK Tour since then, often at least twice. Needless to say I've purchased all of the recorded output over the years. To me David Coverdale is the ultimate rock frontman: dynamic, powerful, soulful and in your face. He's not the world's greatest lyricist but he is a good song writer, especially when collaborating with a strong partner.
I have to admit to not enjoying 1987 when it first emerged but I understood the commercial drive behind it. However, at Wembley in 1987 I found myself disappointed by Whitesnake for the very first time. The reason was simple; even in the UK Coverdale was happy to ignore his past. I thought this was a huge mistake given the size of the fanbase in this country and Europe.
Fast forward through Slip of the Tongue (don't we all) and we get to the wonderful Coverdale Page (a tour I never did see) and then Restless Heart; an album that tries so hard to capture the essence of early Whitesnake. I remember the two nights at Shepherds Bush on that tour: finally we were treated to a set list that spanned the history of the band, even if most of the band members were unfamiliar. It was a good way to end Whitesnake and the shows were great.
After the commercial failure of Into The Light (a huge shame) Coverdale came back as a reincarnated older uncle to his 1987 self for a series of tours starting in 2003. Actually they were very enjoyable and mostly he gave his all during the live shows. The resulting live DVD was a deserved success; Whitesnake was back and Coverdale was in good form.
In 2008 we finally got a new album, Good to be Bad, and although not groundbreaking, this descendent of the late 80's is actually a great slice of stadium rock and the vocals are mostly a very good representation of the man and performer Coverdale now is (and the lyrics are mostly the same as ever, but in a good way).
So, Wembley 2008. A joint headlining tour with Def Leppard. Except it's not. Whitesnake are on first every night (fact: on the Def Leppard DVD that came with the Sparkle Lounge Joe Elliott says the band will be flip-flopping with Whitesnake on the tour) and they have fewer lights, poorer sound and no encore. Ordinarily this wouldn't be a problem. Ordinarily Whitesnake would blow Def Leppard off the stage. But this is different. Because on this tour David Coverdale isn't delivering. Yes, he's throwing the mic around, prancing around the stage and thrusting himself at the audience. But that's almost as far as it gets. On this tour David Coverdale is struggling to sing: so much so that he's resorting to mouthing words and lines whilst his band mates paper over the cracks. The moral and ethical rights behind this are arguable but it's not a good move. When he does have a go, it sounds wrong, mostly off key and frankly not very good. During the set he gets a little better and often Still of the Night seems to be delivered quite well, but the reality is David Coverdale is shortchanging himself and the audience. It's not right.
If his voice is now gone or is incapable of delivering the "rock" stuff then he should stop. Pure and simple. Maybe he should contemplate an "acoustic" version of Whitesnake, because he has shown he can still pull this off. But if not that, then Whitesnake should knock it on the head. It is pointless to end up in a situation where people are disappointed by the lead singer, especially a singer of such legendary standing.
David Coverdale: I am a huge, huge fan with enormous respect for your talent and legacy but it comes doewn to this, either sort out the problems or change direction before you damage your reputation beyond measure. The decision is yours.
review: Jack Smith