Archive for the ‘Whitesnake’ Category

Whitesnake Newcastle City Hall 27th June 2006

Whitesnake Newcastle City Hall 27th June 2006
whitesnaketix2006Support from The Answer
A lot of water had passed under the Whitesnake bridge (22 years to be exact) since I last had the pleasure of seeing David Coverdale. The line-up of the band was completely different (other than, of course, Coverdale) to all the previous line-ups I had witnessed and was David Coverdale (vocals), Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach (guitars), Uriah Duffy (bass), Timothy Drury (keyboards) and Tommy Aldridge (drums). Whitesnake 2006 was a honed heavy metal machine, a million riffs away from the soulful bluesy unit of the early ’80s. And they were LOUD.
whitesnakeprog2006Whitesnake exploded onto the stage with an amazing version of the Deep Purple classic “Burn”, which then went straight into another Purple classic “Stormbringer”. The crowd were up on their feet from the word ‘go” and Coverdale looked and sounded great. There were, however, times when you could see he was having a little difficulty with his voice (some of the earlier shows on the tour had been cancelled because he had been unwell) but overall this was a great performance. Highlights for me were ‘Walkin’ in Shadow Of The Blues’ and ‘Soldier of Fortune’ as a final encore.
Setlist: Burn / Stormbringer; Slide It In; Love Ain’t No Stranger; Walking in the Shadow of the Blues; Lovehunter; Slow an’ Easy; Is This Love; Ready an’ Willing; Blues for Mylene; Snake Dance; Crying in the Rain; Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City; Give Me All Your Love; Here I Go Again
Encore: Take Me with You; Still of the Night
Encore 2: Soldier of Fortune
That concludes my Whitesnake ramblings. I’ve spent the last week or so listening to, and watching, Whitesnake, and it has reminded me just how great this band were, and what an amazing rock vocalist and performer David Coverdale is. Next time he tours, I’ll make sure I’m there.

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Whitesnake Newcastle City Hall 10th March 1984

Whitesnake Newcastle City Hall 10th March 1984
whitesnaketix84Support came from LA hard rock band Great White
Things were about to change again in the Whitesnake camp. In late 1983, they recorded the “Slide It In” album. Shortly after completing the album Mick Moody left the band: “Me and David weren’t friends and co-writers anymore. David never said anything to me. He just didn’t socialise with me anymore. David was a guy who five, six years earlier was my best friend…..Then one night we were in Germany and we did kind of a mini festival with Thin Lizzy and John Sykes was on guitar. Back at the hotel we were all sitting around and David was really talking a lot to John Sykes. I was sitting there quietly and David just turned around to me, pointing his fingers and said, ‘Don’t you ever turn your back on the audience again’. I went, ‘Pardon?’ He said, ‘That’s really unprofessional’, in front of John Sykes to make me look small and I thought to myself, ‘That’s it’….I decided to leave after finishing the end of the tour. The last gig was in Brussels in Belgium in October 83.” This led to John Sykes joining the band. At the same time Colin Hodgkinson left and Neil Murray rejoined. The vibe of the band and their music was changing from the bluesy rock of the early band to a heavier and more adult-oriented rock, which helped the band to break in the US. whitesnakeprog84The new line-up of Coverdale, John Sykes, Mel Galley, Neil Murray, Jon Lord, and Cozy Powell toured the UK in March 1984, calling at the City Hall for two nights. It was a good concert, but Whitesnake were becoming a very different animal.
Setlist: Gambler; Guilty of Love; Ready an’ Willing; Love Ain’t No Stranger; Here I Go Again; Slow an’ Easy; Crying in the Rain/Soldier of Fortune; Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City; Fool for Your Loving; Thank You Blues; Slide It In; Don’t Break My Heart Again.
Mel Galley suffered a broken arm in an accident during the tour. He never recovered full use of his arm, and fitted having “the Claw” to his hand in order to to play the guitar.”It was the most devastating thing that could happen to a guitarist. One minute I was playing with one of the biggest bands in the world, next minute finding it very hard to even scratch my own arse. Thankfully, with the aid of the Claw, even though told by doctors I would never play again, determination made me prove them wrong.” A few weeks later, Jon Lord left to reform Deep Purple.
It was 22 years until I saw Whitesnake again. I’ll write about that tomorrow, to conclude my series of Whitesnake memories.

Whitesnake Monsters of Rock festival Donington 20th August 1983

Whitesnake Monsters of Rock festival Donington 20th August 1983
whitesnaketix83Line-up: Whitesnake, Meat Loaf, Z Z Top, Twisted Sister, Dio, Diamond Head. DJ: Tommy Vance.
Aah! The Monsters of Rock festivals. Up early, on with the denim jacket, into the car, pick up my mates, and down the A1 and M1 we went. Three hours or so, and 165 miles (according to AA route planner), later and we joined the metal hordes in the Donington Park Race Circuit. We knew we were there when we saw the Dunlop tyre bridge.
Its funny what I find when I’m constructing these posts. “Chris Evans has bought Donington Park race track’s famous Dunlop bridge. The 30-year-old structure was sold during a racing memorabilia auction, for about £300, in aid of a Leicestershire charity. On his show, Evans said the bridge was a national landmark and appealed for help getting it from the track. Evans joked he was going to put up the bridge, which is over 70 metres (230 ft) in length, in his garden over the top of his neighbour’s house.” [Wonder if he did that 🙂 ] (from BBC News site).
doningtontyreBack to rock. First up in 1983 were Diamond Head. We listened to them while we had a little wander around the site. I will have bought my programme, we’ll have consumed our first burger of the day, and made our first visit to the beer tent [as designated driver, I would be limited to one pint early on in the day 😦 ]. Next was Dio, his operatic vocals drifting over the crowd, and the smell of burgers and beer, and lifting the mood on classics such as “Holy Diver”, “Stargazer”, “Heaven And Hell” and “Man On The Silver Mountain”. Classic.
It was probably about this time that the can fights would start. You had to watch out for them; a can on the back of your head could do some serious damage. Twisted Sister were next. Dee Snider and Co captured the crazy metal mood of the event perfectly and went down well. Dee understood metal and its antics and lapped up crowd reaction, both positive and negative; a few cans or bottles thrown on stage didn’t bother him. After all “You Can’t Stop Rock N’ Roll”. Next up was Meat Loaf, who didn’t take kindly to the sea of bottles and cans which were thrown at him throughout his set. Nonetheless he played on and treated us to “Bat Out Of Hell”, “I’m Gonna Love Her For Both Of Us”, “All Revved Up With No Place To Go”, “Midnight At The Lost and Found” and “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad”. Great stuff. Back to the beer tent, another burger, and a walk around the tyre to stretch our legs, and then meander and squeeze our way as close to the stage as we could safely get. Things were about to get even better.
whitesnakedoningtonprog83This was our first exposure to Z Z Top, their beards, and that relentless, often tongue in cheek, Texan rock’n’roll boogie: “Gimme All Your Lovin'”, “Sharp Dressed Man”, “Pearl Necklace”, “Arrested For Driving While Blind”, and set closer “Tush”. Amazing. Two years later they were back as headliners; and rightly so. Another burger, avoid a few more cans and bottles, final visit to the beer tent, and back down front.
The day belonged to Whitesnake. The deserved it, and didn’t let us down one little bit. Whitesnake’s set was recorded; you can find it on YouTube. Mistreated is here (and is a simply awesome performance by Coverdale): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BZprpxhyMk
Coverdale opens the song thus: “We’ve got an old song for you. I think this may be the last time we’ll ever play it [it wasn’t]. Please enjoy it. It features my good friend Mel Galley on guitar”.
Whitesnake setlist: Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues; Rough An’ Ready; Ready An’ Willing; Guilty Of Love; Here I Go Again; Lovehunter; Mistreated; Soldier Of Fortune; Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City; Fool For Your Loving; Thank You Blues; Don’t Break My Heart Again; Wine, Women An’ Song.
In 1983 the ‘Snake were: David Coverdale (lead vocals and 110% rock godliness); Micky Moody (blues guitar); Jon Lord (swirling Hammond); Mel Galley (rock guitar); Colin Hodgkinson (thumping bass); and Cozy Powell (powerhouse drums).
Back in the car. An hour or two to get out of the car park. My mates would fall asleep and snore. I would drive back up a lonely and empty M1 and then the A1. Back home in the early hours. Denim jacket hung up again. Happy happy days 🙂

Whitesnake Newcastle City Hall 14th December 1982

Whitesnake Newcastle City Hall 14th December 1982
whitesnaketix82Support Samson
When David Coverdale returned in late 1982 with a new Whitesnake. Only Jon Lord and Micky Moody remained from the old band with Bernie Marsden, Neil Murray, and Ian Paice being replaced by guitarist Mel Galley from Trapeze, bassist Colin Hodgkinson, and drummer Cozy Powell respectively. Micky Moody had actually also left the band and rejoined. Whitesnake released the album “Saints & Sinners” which was another Top 10 UK album and contained the hit single “Here I Go Again”.
Micky Moody explained the changes thus: “By ’81 people were becoming tired. We had too many late nights, too much partying. We weren’t making nowhere near the kind of money we should have been making. Whitesnake always seemed to be in debt, and I thought ‘what is this?, we’re playing in some of the biggest places and we’re still being told we’re in debt, where is all the money going?’. whitesnakeprog82We hadn’t got much money out of it and to be told you’re £200,000 in debt, when you just had six golden albums. It wasn’t just me, cause everybody was getting tired, p***ed off and losing their sense of identity. It was over by then, we couldn’t get any further. It’s difficult for a band to go more than three or four years without getting tired of each other and losing ideas. Nothing lasts forever. Everybody wanted to do something different after a few years, a solo album or write with someone else.” The changing line-up didn’t seem to impact upon the band’s popularity. They toured the UK in late 1982, playing to packed out halls everywhere. The tour called at Newcastle City Hall for 3 nights, and the concert was as explosive as ever.
Support for the tour came from Samson featuring new vocalist Nicky Moore, who had replaced Bruce Dickinson, who’d left to join Iron Maiden.
Setlist: Walking in the Shadow of the Blues; Rough an’ Ready; Ready an’ Willing; Here I Go Again; Don’t Break My Heart Again; Lovehunter / Steal Away; Crying in the Rain; Soldier of Fortune; Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City; Fool for Your Loving; Wine, Women an’ Song

Whitesnake Newcastle City Hall 24th May 1981

Whitesnake Newcastle City Hall 24th May 1981
whitesnaketix81Support from Billy Squier
In 1981 Whitesnake recorded “Come an’ Get It” which made No. 2 in the UK lp chart. It was kept off the No. 1 slot by Adam and the Ants’ Kings of the Wild Frontier. Two singles were released from the album: the Top 20 hit “Don’t Break My Heart Again” and the Top 40 hit “Would I Lie to You”. The band toured the UK in Spring, and this time their popularity had grown to the extent that they could sell out multiple nights at the top concert venues, including two nights at Newcastle City Hall. I went to the first night, and it was another great gig. Whitesnake were now one of the top heavy rock acts in the UK. A Whitesnake gig was heavy rock with a soul, featuring extended yet measured guitar and organ solos which came from the heart, rather than for flashiness or effect. And Coverdale was nothing short of amazing, his passion for the blues ripping and screaming its way through his performance, and his vocal ability simply outstanding.
whitesnakeprog81I saw the band a few months later when they appeared second on the bill to headliners AC/DC at the Monsters of Rock festival at Donington.
After the 1981 tour David Coverdale took time out from music, as his daughter was not well, which put Whitesnake on hold for a short while. Coverdale also felt that some of the members of the band were becoming a little complacent. There were also rows over money, and Coverdale felt that the rest of the band lacked his ambition to push Whitesnake onwards and upwards, so he ultimately came to the decision in early 1982 to disband the line-up entirely. There were shortly to re-emerge with a new line-up, but more of that tomorrow.
Setlist from City Hall 1981: Walking in the Shadow of the Blues; Sweet Talker; Ready an’ Willing; Don’t Break My Heart Again; Till the Day I Die; Lovehunter; Mistreated; Soldier of Fortune; Belgian Tom’s Hat Trick; Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City; Fool for Your Loving; Take Me with You; Come On; Wine, Women an’ Song

Whitesnake Newcastle City Hall Newcastle City Hall 18th June 1980

Whitesnake Newcastle City Hall Newcastle City Hall 18th June 1980
whitesnaketix80Support from Gary Moore’s G Force
The 1980 tour programme gave a great build-up for a great concert: “To categorise Whitesnake as a heavy metal band is something like passing off Bob Dylan as a folk singer. Certainly there are those root elements, but anyone with the ability to peer over the obvious can see that Whitesnake are far more than a headbanging storm machine. One of the strongest influences in creating the thunderous hard rock they belt out is the blues and not just a token wail and groan here and there, but a sincere realisation of what the blues is all about. Good times, no nonsense progressive rhythm and blues, that’s what Whitesnake is all about and they’re ready an’ willing to prove it.
With Whitesnake onstage we get David Coverdale throwing back his head in a halo of curling hair, exploding in vocal dynamic, teasing and pleading for us to join in singing and share the whole experience together as one….Two of the best blues-rock guitarists in the business: Micky Moody and Bernie Marsden firing on all six and generating truly awesome electric guitar virtuosity tempered with raunch and taste….Jon Lord, the Maestro, with his battery of keyboards providing a sweeping sound of colours, fusing rock and classical roots to paint the backdrop of Whitesnake….Neil Murray’s strong, me.odic bass-playing which rises above and expands on normal bass riffing to give a definite extra edge and subtlety to the rhythm lines created by…..Ian Paice, considered by many to be the Guv’nor drummer. As any of you who saw Ian’s welcome return to the rock and roll stage on Whitesnake’s ’79 UK tour can testify, he is the consummate drummer. whitesnakeprogThis is what we get….from a whisper to a scream……Whitesnake!”
Bernie Marsden was recently given a video featuring unseen live footage of this gig. Taking about the video Bernie says: “This video is very special. A few months ago I was given a reel of film by a fan of a Whitesnake gig at Newcastle City Hall on the “Ready an’ Willing” tour in 1980. It is unique and unseen footage of the classic early Whitesnake line up…. It’s a little grainy, but it is the real deal,  watch Jon Lord in classic style on the Hammond organ.  Many thanks to the people of the North East in the film, and of course the whole of the Whitesnake army out there. Special thanks to Mark Smith for his camera work and great editing. Hope you enjoy it, those on-tour Snake memories flood back!” You can see the video here: http://classicrock.teamrock.com/news/2014-10-21/premiere-bernie-mardsen-s-trouble-feat-coverdale
Setlist: Come On; Sweet Talker; Walking in the Shadow of the Blues; Ain’t Gonna Cry No More; Lovehunter; Mistreated; Soldier of Fortune; Nighthawk; Belgian Tom’s Hat Trick; Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City; Fool for Your Loving; Take Me with You; Ready an’ Willing; Lie Down (A Modern Love Song)

Reading Festival 22nd – 24th August 1980

Reading Festival 22nd – 24th August 1980
readingpaper80DJs: John Peel, Bob Harris & Jerry Floyd
By 1980, the Reading Festival had become a heavy metal extravaganza. Headliners were Whitesnake, UFO and Rory Gallagher, with a full supporting heavy rock cast including new up-and-coming NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) bands Def Leppard and Iron Maiden. It was the 10th anniversary of the festival being at Reading, and the 20th anniversary of the national jazz and blues festival.
Friday line-up: Red Alert (a heavy rock band, I think and not the North East punk band of the same name); O1 Band; Hellions; Praying Mantis; Fischer Z; 9 Below Zero (a great R&B set); Krokus; Gillan (always a good solid set); Rory Gallagher.
The highlight of Friday was, without a doubt, the reappearance of Rory Gallagher. Rory was a hero of mine, a class act, an amazing guitarist, and always came over as a regular down-to-earth guy. By 1980, Rory had moved to a harder rock sound, dropping many of the classic bluesy tracks which had been staples of his set throughout the 70s. So he was no longer playing Bullfrog Blues or Messin’ with the Kid, as part of the main set, although he would sometimes play one or two of them during the encore. Instead his set was focussing on tracks from his most recent albums; Top Priority, Calling Card and Photo-Finish. But these are minor quibbles; Rory’s performance at Reading in 1980 was, as always, outstanding.
Rory setlist: I Wonder Who; Follow Me; Wayward Child; Tattoo’d Lady; Bought And Sold; Country Mill; Hellcat; Out On The Western Plain; Too Much Alcohol; Going To My Hometown; Moonchild; Shadow Play
Saturday line-up: Trimmer and Jenkins, Quartz; Writz; Broken Home (featuring Dicken from Mr Big); White Spirit (North East NWOBHM heroes featuring Janik Gers); Grand Prix; Samson (the drummer played from inside a cage!); Pat Travers Band; Iron Maiden; UFO
Highlights were Pat Travers who played an intense set, Iron Maiden with original singer Paul Di’Anno at the time of the anthemic “Running Free” and headliners UFO. UFO had released their eighth album “No Place to Run” and the line-up was Phil Mogg (vocals), Paul Chapman (guitar), Paul Raymond (keyboards), Pete Way (bass) and Andy Parker (drums). I was a fan at the time and it was good to see them headlining, and hear heavy rock classics like “Doctor Doctor” and “Lights Out” and more gentle tracks like “Love to Love”.
UFO setlist: Lettin’ Go; Young Blood; No Place to Run; Cherry; Only You Can Rock Me; Love to Love; Electric Phase; Hot ‘n’ Ready; Mystery Train; Doctor Doctor; Too Hot to Handle; Lights Out; Rock Bottom; Shoot Shoot
Sunday line-up: Sledgehammer; Praying Mantis; Angelwitch; Tygers Of Pantang; Girl; Magnum; Budgie; Slade; Def Leppard; Whitesnake
readingprog80Sunday belonged to two bands: Slade and Whitesnake. Slade first. Metal legend Ozzy Osbourne was billed to play on the Sunday with his new band Blizzard of Oz, but he pulled out at the last minute and was replaced by Slade. I have already written about Slade’s amazing performance, and have reproduced some of my previous post here. Slade appeared after glam heavy metal band Girl, and just before NWOBHM heroes Def Leppard. The field wasn’t that full as Bob Harris announced that Slade were taking the stage. Their entrance was greeted with a hail of cans. Noddy wasn’t phased at all by that, and asked everyone if they were “ready to rock”. And then they launched straight into “Dizzy Mama”. And then it started to happen. Slowly at first, the crowd began to cheer. People wandering around the outskirts of the site started to run towards the stage. Slade knew they had to win the crowd over and were working so hard, rocking so hard, and playing the hits. The area around the stage was soon completely rammed and the whole field was going crazy. Amazing. Slade nailed it, and in the space of one hour made sure that they were well and truly back. Dave Hill: “One heck of an experience, ‘cos I wasn’t going to do that gig. Slade manager Chas Chandler talked me into it…the confidence came when there was a reaction, as it built and built, sort of got bigger and bigger. I mean getting that lot to sing “Merry Xmas Everybody” was amazing.” The event was recorded and a few tracks were released as an EP.
Def Leppard appeared after Slade and didn’t go down too well with the crowd. Joe Elliott: “The legend about us getting bottled off at Reading 1980 is a myth really – we got an encore at Reading. We probably had six or seven bottles of piss thrown up – and maybe a tomato – but it didn’t put us off. That ‘backlash’ was all blown out of proportion. We’re living proof that bad reviews make no difference.” Actually they were pretty good.
Whitesnake consolidated their position as worthy festival headliners. They’d closed the festival the previous year, despite not receiving top billing in the pre-festival publicity. This year, however, their headline status was clear, and they deserved it. They had just released Ready an’ Willing their third studio album, which reached No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart, and featured the hit single: “Fool for Your Loving”. This was a great Whitesnake performance; their set now included classic Purple tracks “Soldier or Fortune” and “Mistreated” and new favourites the aforementioned “Fool for Your Loving”, along with “Walking in the Shadow of the Blues” and “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City.”
Whitesnake setlist included: Sweet Talker; Walking in the Shadow of the Blues; Ain’t Gonna Cry No More; Love hunter; Mistreated; Soldier of Fortune; Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City; Fool for Your Loving
I got back to the camp site after Whitesnake and discovered that someone had nicked my tent 😦 Oh well, you can’t win them all. It was a cheap crappy tent anyway. This my last visit to Reading. The following year my mates and I decided to stay up North and attend the Rock on the Tyne festival, and once the annual cycle of attending Reading was broken, we never returned. For me, family and the pressures of parenthood kicked in, and the heavy metal dominance within the line-up made the Reading festival seem a little less attractive. I’d been 9 years in a row, seen the emergence of Quo, Genesis and Thin Lizzy, the re-emergence of Slade, great sets by the Faces, Rory and Yes, festival favourites like Edgar Broughton and Hawkwind, my personal favorites like Stray, the introduction of punk and new wave to the bill, and the recent growth in popularity of (new) heavy metal. Over the years I have toyed with the idea of returning to the Reading festival, or going to the more local Leeds festival, but have never got round to doing so. I suppose I fear that if I do, I will feel too old, and too out of place 🙂 I had some great, crazy times at Reading; maybe it’s best to leave the memories as they are. If I did go along, it could never be the same as when I was young.