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 Whitesnake - Live in the Still of the Night

by Morley Seaver

In 1974 I eagerly picked up the new Deep Purple record Burn, anxious to hear who it was that was filling the shoes of the mighty Ian Gillan. The title track blazed away and instantly I was transfixed by the charismatic persona of David Coverdale. David, along with Glenn Hughes stayed through Stormbringer to the highly under-rated Come Taste the Band, making them three of the best records Purple ever made.

Upon leaving Purple, David formed Whitesnake and started squeezing all of Europe in its tight coils. Record after blues-based record found favour with audiences, establishing the band at the fore-front of the emerging hard rock and metal phase following the initial wave of punk. America proved the elusive mistress, however. It wasn't until 1987 that the United States and Canada fell victim to what Europe had figured out years before. The self-titled record slithered onto radios everywhere and capitalizing on the magnetic Coverdale (as well as his then-wife Tawny Kitaen), MTV was the vehicle that made them literally omnipresent.

Fast forward to 2006 and the new live concert DVD from David and company. The record opens with a flourish and straight into "Burn". Thirty-two years later and incredibly the man sounds exactly the same. The latest lineup of Whitesnake is as powerful as any one in the past. I was quite skeptical upon hearing who was now part of the band. Along with ageless drummer Tommy Aldridge, guitar duties are now being held by (ex-Lion and Dio) Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach (Winger). The bass player is Marco Mendoza who has played with Ted Nugent, Thin Lizzy and was part of Soul Sirkus.

A few minutes into this DVD was enough to turn my thinking around as this lineup is phenomenal. Playing in front of an enthusiastic London, England crowd the band blazes through 16 Coverdale hits. Aldrich attacks his Les Paul with so much velocity it's a wonder he doesn't need reconstructive surgery to replace his fingertips. Less spotlighted but no less remarkable is Reb Beach who tosses off leads effortlessly. No small feat for guys who are working in the shadow of names like Vandenberg, Vai and Sykes. Aldridge's now familiar manic solo with a bare hands segment that is reminiscent of Don Brewer of Grand Funk, gets the crowd pumped.

Of course, the centrepiece of this whole affair is the man himself, David Coverdale. There are few other front men who exude the kind of confidence and mastery over a stage. From the opening song, all eyes were riveted on him and he is still able to make the many girls in the audience swoon with a devilish smile or hip thrust. Voice intact, David leads the band through highlights of the entire Whitesnake catalogue.

Leading off with "Burn", with a few bars of "Stormbringer", they go into "Bad Boys" with an awesome Aldrich solo. "Love Ain't No Stranger" and a killer version of "Ready An' Willing" perk the crowd up even more. After a monstrous "Is This Love?" the band romps through "Give Me All Your Love Tonight" and "Judgement Day". The instrumental "Blues for Mylene" and "Snake Dance" let the band members showcase their abilities before a powerful "Cryin' in the Rain" ramps up the fever. "Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City" has the entire hall responding with vigour. Rounding out the set is "Don't Break My Heart", "Fool for Your Lovin'" before decimating the crowd with "Here I Go Again".

Obviously, the London crowd wasn't going to let them off without a few more songs. Willing to oblige, the band sizzles through "Take Me with You" before owning the evening with "Still of the Night".

The DVD also has a documentary which has brief interviews with the band and some of the crew. This is the only part of the package that I think could have been expanded on. Then again I'm a fanatic so too much isn't enough for me. There is also a 10 cut CD of selected cuts from the show so you can take the show on the road with you.

David has said in interviews that the band did even better shows that were unfortunately not recorded although I fail to see how the performances could be even better than they are here. This is a tremendous live set and well worth it for any fan. And for one night anyway there was a whole lot of "love in the heart of the city".

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Whitesnake - Live in the Still of the Night DVD


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