Posts Tagged ‘heavy metal’

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

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.

Whitesnake Newcastle City Hall 18th October 1979

Whitesnake Newcastle City Hall 18th October 1979
whitesnaketix79Support from Marseille
Former Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice joined Whitesnake in 1979. The band now included three former Purple members in Coverdale, Lord and Paice, and the new line-up recorded “Love Hunter”. This was the album that defined the early band, consolidated their position as heavy rock champions and started a journey to stardom which would continue on an upward trajectory for the next decade. The album features the excellent blues-rock anthem “Walking in the Shadow of the Blues” and the title track is a fine slab of rock which showcases Moody’s slide guitar. The unforgettable and controversial cover art, which was also on the tour programme, features a naked woman riding a great big snake. The woman is clearly mesmerised by the evil looking snake (which surprisingly isn’t all white).
whitesnakemitchpic79Whitesnake toured in October 1979 to promote “Love Hunter”, still on a high from the success of closing the Reading festival. Support for the tour came from Liverpool rockers Marseille, who had been the first band to win “UK Battle of the Bands” in 1977. I saw Whitesnake when they returned to Newcastle City Hall on 18th October for a triumphant performance.
In 1979 Whitesnake had everything going for them; a rock god vocalist with the most powerful and soulful voice you could find on any stage, a pair of excellent blues guitarists, the best Hammond organ player in rock, and now a legendary rock drummer.
whitesnakeprog79Add to that a growing collection of blues rock classics and you had the recipe for a great rock performance. And that is exactly what Whitesnake delivered. But there was much more to Whitesnake than heavy rock; this band had a soul, a passion and a feel for the blues unlike any other band.
When Coverdale sang “I love the blues, They tell my story, If you don’t feel it you can never understand” in “Walking in the Shadow of the Blues” you felt that he meant it.
Setlist: Come On; You ‘n’ Me; Walking in the Shadow of the Blues; Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City; Steal Away; Mistreated; Belgian Tom’s Hat Trick; Lovehunter; Lie Down (A Modern Love Song); Take Me with You
Encores: Breakdown; Statesboro Blues/Rock Me Baby.
Thanks to Mitch for his photo, taken at this gig.

Reading Festival 24th – 26th August 1979

Reading Festival 24th – 26th August 1979readingprog79
This was my 8th visit to Reading. The line-up was a predictable mix of new wave and heavy rock. It was also a year of line-up changes. Two of the main bands who were billed to play: Thin Lizzy and The Ramones did not appear. Thin Lizzy pulled out at a few days notice due to Gary Moore’s departure from the band. Lizzy were replaced by Scorpions and The Ramones by Nils Lofgren. Both of these changes were major disappointments. The weather wasn’t bad and the event was well-attended, but didn’t sell out. My recollections of the weekend are below:
Friday line-up: Bite the Pillow, The Jags, Punishment of Luxury, Doll by Doll, The Cure, Wilko Johnson, Motorhead, The Tourists, The Police.
Friday was the “new wave” day. I watched all of the bands from Punilux onwards. Highlights were The Cure who impressed me even though the only song I had heard before was “Killing an Arab”, and Wilko and Motorhead, both acts going down a storm with the crowd, who preferred their rock heavier and more traditional. The Police were riding on the crest of a wave of success, and were amazing, Sting had the crowd in the palm of his hand, and the entire field sang along to the hits. It was great to witness a band at their peak.
The Police setlist: Deathwish; Next To You; So Lonely; Truth Hits Everybody; Walking On The Moon; Hole In My Life; Fall Out; Message In A Bottle; The Bed’s Too Big Without You; Peanuts; Roxanne; Can’t Stand Losing You; Landlord; Born In The 60s
Saturday line-up: Root Boy Slim; Fame; The Yachts; Little Bo Bitch (not sure that they played?); The Movies; Bram Tchaikovsky; Gillan; Steve Hackett; Cheap Trick; Inner Circle; Scorpions
reading79badgeWe spent much of Saturday enjoying the delights of local hostelries and didn’t venture into the arena until later in the day. To be honest, looking at the line-up now, it was pretty uninspiring. We made it into the festival for Gillan onwards. Gillan seemed to play everywhere at the time, and were always good fun. I’d seen them so many times that I was getting to know the new songs, but I also always looked forward to hearing Purple classics, which they did including ‘Smoke on the Water”. Steve Hackett played “I Know What I Like” which prompted a mass crowd singalong. The highlight was Cheap Trick with crazy antics from Rick Nielson and an exquisite performance by Robin Zander. A video of their performance that night is on YouTube. You can find “I Want You To Want Me” here, a bit rough, but still amazing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTLEYcO2VnE
For the encore Cheap Trick were joined onstage by Dave Edmunds and Bad Company guitarist Mick Ralphs for a rendition of The Beatles’ “Day Tripper”. Classic 😄
Inner Circle’s reggae rhythms went down well. Scorpions were great (I really liked “Loving You Sunday Morning” at the time), but we were disappointed that we weren’t seeing Lizzy who had become a Reading favourite and were massive at the time.
readingpaper79Sunday line-up: The Cobbers; Terra Nova; Speedometers; Zaine Griff; Wild Horses; The Members; Molly Hatchett; Climax Blues Band; Nils Lofgren; Peter Gabriel; Whitesnake.
Sunday highlights for me were The Members who were in the charts with “Sounds of the Suburbs” and got a mixed reaction from the crowds with some people liking them, and others lobbing cans, and Peter Gabriel who started with “Biko” and played classic solo tracks like “Moribund The Burgermeister”, “Solsbury Hill” and “Here Comes The Flood”. Phil Collins joined Gabriel for the end of his set for “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway”. Whitesnake closed the evening and were worthy headliners (although they weren’t billed as so, with Peter Gabriel and non-showers The Ramones having shared top billing in the pre-festival publicity). They started with an amazing new song “Walking in the Shadow of the Blues” which set the tone for the evening. Ian Paice had just joined on drums and Whitesnake now had three former Purple members (Coverdale, Lord and Paice).
Whitesnake setlist: Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues; Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City; Steal Away; Belgian Tom’s Hat Trick; Mistreated; Soldier Of Fortune; Love Hunter; Breakdown; Whitesnake Boogie.
An enjoyable Reading weekend, if not one of the strongest line-ups.

Whitesnake Newcastle City Hall 26th October 1978

Whitesnake Newcastle City Hall 26th October 1978
whitesnaketix78Support from Magnum
David Coverdale embarked on a solo career in 1977 after the split of Deep Purple. His first solo album “White Snake” was released in February 1977. All the songs were written by David Coverdale and Micky Moody, who was also guitarist in David’s band. The album wasn’t particularly successful, but its title inspired the name of Coverdale’s future band, which was to come together one year later. In early 1978 Coverdale released his second solo album “Northwinds”. The band which was to be Whitesnake was already coming together. In June 1978 the “Snakebite” EP was released, which contained the Whitesnake favourite, their cover of Bobby Bland’s “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City”. Coverdale: “Originally I had no plans to actually record ‘Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City’…if you can believe it…a song that connects so deeply with so many that I still play it today, 25 years later.”
whitesnake78prog I first saw Whitesnake at Newcastle City Hall in October 1978. They had just released the “Trouble” album, and this was the first night of their first major tour of UK concert halls. The line-up was David Coverdale (vocals), Micky Moody (guitar), Bernie Marsden (guitar), Neil Murray (bass), Jon Lord (keyboards) and Dave Dowle (drums). Jon Lord had just joined. From the programme: “David Coverdale and Whitesnake – two names that have imprinted themselves on the British Rock media and the public in the last nine months….David Coverdale and Whitesnake left audiences and industry aware that a brilliant, yet deeply experienced new force had arrived on the rock scene.”
Whitesnake were heavy but soulful. Much more bluesy than Purple, but also heavier. Coverdale had an incredible voice; one minute he could be singing the most soulful gentle blues, and then he would thrust his head back, that mane of hair would sway behind him, and he would bellow and scream some of the rockiest songs to be heard on a concert stage anywhere. And with Jon Lord in the band, you knew that they had to play some Purple songs. Their versions of “Might Just Take Your Life” and “Mistreated” were pure class. “Mistreated” in particular was a tour de force for Whitesnake; particularly because of Coverdale’s amazing vocal performances of the song. But Whitesnake wasn’t just the David Coverdale show; this was a strong rock band with two excellent guitarists who both understood, and could play, the blues, and in Jon Lord the greatest exponent of the Hammond organ.
Phil Sutcliffe, reveiwing the concert is Sounds (11 November 1978): ‘Mistreated’: the most astonishing first line I’ve ever heard is Coverdale gathering into that bellow of “I’ve been Mistreated”: the sort of passion that whitesnakeredcarmitch78enabled Samson to pull down the Philistine temple; the song is magnificent and raw, an insight like an old roaster’s painting of a butcher’s shop, life as red meat; at the end Coverdale throws his head back and howls like a wolf and we roar at him; “You like the blues? Of course you f***ing do – all northerners like the blues and don’t we know it”. Whitesnake were incredible that night, and the Newcastle heavy rock brigade now had a new band to worship alongside Rainbow and Gillan.
I saw Whitesnake 10 or so times over the next 5 or 6 years and will write about those gigs over the next week.
Setlist: Come On; Might Just Take Your Life (Deep Purple cover); Lie Down (A Modern Love Song); Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City; Trouble; Steal Away; Mistreated; Belgian Tom’s Hat Trick; Take Me with You; Rock Me Baby; Breakdown.
Thanks to Mitch for his photo of David Coverdale and Whitesnake, which he took at an earlier concert at Redcar Coatham Bowl on 24th March 1978.