All photos: © 2015 Jim Carver/The Rust Belt Chronicles
Little did I know, as I entered into the Hard Rock Rocksino Live hall, I was literally entering the den of snakes! The anticipation of Whitesnake was in the air and it was impossible to ignore. For two hours, David Coverdale and his band took us down the road again with some new twists to many of his tunes from his beginning roots in Deep Purple, extensive hits from the Whitesnake catalog, featuring exceptional solos and the opportunity to witness Coverdale’s patented stage presence with his incredible pipes!
The Whitesnake show was an epic performance with enough grit, bite and raw energy to set you free with passion, robust excitement and the opportunity to join the Whitesnake Choir. I’ve never seen a show at the Hard Rock Rocksino with such a sea of photographers upfront and the crowd literally standing the entire night.
As the lights dimmed, the audience went ballistic with the myriad of guitar and keyboard sounds began as David and his bandmates took the stage. His familiar, “Erye You Ready?”, shout out across the concert hall was probably heard all the way to downtown Cleveland as the band struck the six or eight chords of power with a thundering resonance hailing straight from his days with Deep Purple and has continued on with Whitesnake. David’s acrobatics with the mic stand twirling, thrusting his pelvis with the stand upside-down, and his mannerism’s provided the spark that set the crowd ablaze with a fever!
Whitesnake immediately shot into their new version of Deep Purple’s “Burn” off of their latest release, The Purple Album, like a bullet from a gun. The dual guitar work of Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra was remarkable adding some inspiration to this song, David originally recorded on his debut record with Deep Purple. Keyboardist, Michele Luppi, put his own touch with the tinkling of the ivories, while bassist, Michael Devin and veteran drummer, Tommy Aldridge drove the band with an infectious venom. David and Michael traded off on the vocals brilliantly and the band was definitely on fire!
The band quickly dove into “Slide It In” and proceeded to impress the crowd with Coverdale clearly taking command on stage. The 63-year old singer still has it and was primed to leave no one in doubt. The “Voice of Rock” lights any room with his flair, joval swagger and demeanor oozing from his vains and lungs.
The crowd roared with approval as the sultry introduction of “Love Ain’t No Stranger” began. It was clear the Whitesnake train was rolling with a vigor of passion and this night was going to be special. “The Gypsy”, another tune from The Purple Album was next on the set list, performed full of passion and desire. The mood picked up with the rousing “Give Me All Your Love” as David and the band rollicked to the delight of the fans.
The power oozed from the underbelly of the ‘Snake as it twisted and magnified the venue with the charm, spirit and passion of the most powerful storm. David Coverdale let everyone know why he is the “greatest frontman/singer to grace the stage” and the band was simply awesome!
-The Rust Belt Chronicles
The tempo took a darker, slower edge as they performed another song from The Purple Album, “You Keep On Moving!” Coverdale’s vocals were full of gust as the band exhumed a stirring rendition of this moving tune. The offset vocals between David and Michael Devin were phenomenal, if you closed your eyes you would’ve thought Glen Hughes was assisting David! Epic song indeed.
Joel Hoektra brought an acoustic guitar to the front of the stage which signaled we would be hearing the beautiful and rousing, “Forevermore.” Whitesnake nearly brought the house down with this song, bleeding like the passion of a thousand lover’s and accompanied by the “Whitesnake Choir” of onlookers. David Coverdale and Whitesnake took no prisoners as they proved their perverbial might, striking the hearts of the crowd!
After the spectactular ending of “Forevermore“, Joel Hoekstra and Reb Beach provided us with extended guitar solos as the rest of the band took a rest. David Coverdale sometimes finds himself incorporating “new blood” into the band featuring up-and-coming guitarists. David’s latest find is Joel Hoekstra, as he took center-stage with a beautiful purple-glitter guitar sporting the Whitesnake logo. Joel gave us rapid fire riffs with his long blonde hair dangling near his guitar and some poses that made the ladies squirm. David found a great guitarist for the future of Whitesnake. The Reb Beach guitar solo was dazzling as well with his metamorphoses of speed picking and snarling moments of fire! When Coverdale introduced the guitarist as being from Pittsburgh, the crowd booed. David laughing, amusingly responded with: “No, no he’s not from Pittsburgh!”
Next up was a new rendition of “Mistreated” from The Purple Album. David literally reaches into his soul and delivers a deep passion for this song projecting the same powerful vocals as back in his days in Purple. Simply incredible to witness in a live setting! Tommy Aldridge provided the steam most drummers half his age couldn’t muster, while the guitarists shined with blistering solos throughout this stealthy tune.
Whitesnake throttled through an amazing display of power with another song from The Purple Album entitled: “You Fool No One.” The slightly bluesy-funk accentuated song was performed admirably with Tommy Aldridge delivering the drumming syncopation with an eerie resemblance to Ian Paice. The precision of the band was a testament to David’s legacy of expectations of professional musicianship throughout his career. I haven’t heard this song for nearly 40 years and Whitesnake delivered it as fresh as the day it was originally conceived. Jon Lord is clearly smiling down with approval!
The rhythmic percussion of “You Fool No One“provided the perfect timing for a drum solo from Mr. Tommy Aldridge. The powerful drummer began his days in the early 70’s with Black Oak Arkansas and few know, he actually performed on the same bill with David Coverdale and Deep Purple at David’s initial USA concert; The California Jam in 1974.
Tommy gave us a driving drum solo with his expertise use of two bass drums, stick twirling, and various tempo progressions throughout his solo. Where he gets his stamina from is amazing! At one point, Tommy threw his sticks into the crowd and proceeded to play with his bare hands on his kit. Being a drummer myself, I can tell you it is painful to do this and project sound. Tommy’s been doing the hand solo since his days with BOA, so the question deserves asking: Did Led Zeppelin drummer, John Bonham, get the idea from Aldridge? Make no mistake about it, Tommy has taken care of himself throughout the years to be able to perform at this level!
The pace slowed down as Coverdale and company began the brooding “Is This Love.” The ladies were swaying as David struck their hearts with desire through his smooth vocals and pacing the stage. At times he bent over and reached out touching hands and throwing hand signals to the females up close. At this point, the love was extended back to the band by the ever so loud, “Whitesnake Choir.”
The band launched into “Bad Boys” with the crowd definitely giving their approval. I was surprised by how well this tune was received. Whitesnake performed this song with a vigorous tempo and kept the audience fired up with enthusiasm.
The band followed with “Here I Go Again” and the audience went ballistic! It was as if it was the 1980’s all over again. David hit the high notes tremendously and the band strolled smoothly through the song. The fans sang their hearts out on this tune with David and the band.
Whitesnake departed the stage and the chanting began for an encore.
The mighty ‘Snake returned to a thunderous applause and launched into the heaviest song Whitesnake ever recorded: “Still Of The Night.” The power oozed from the underbelly of the ‘Snake as it twisted and magnified the venue with the charm, spirit and passion of the most powerful storm. David Coverdale let everyone know why he is the “greatest frontman/singer to grace the stage” and the band was simply awesome!
If you get the opportunity to see Whitesnake on their “Purple Album Tour“, don’t miss it!
The Answer opened and hail from Belfast, Ireland. This rocking band got the crowd lively with their catchy songs and vigorous show. Their sound was reminiscent of the Black Crowes and their frontman was very respectful towards the crowd. The Answer was tight, polished and kept the music flowing throughout their 30-minute set.
Clearly, No question about it, The Answer is a band we will be hearing far more from in the future!