Vivid Technicolor Radio #3 Whitesnake: David Coverdale Is A Great Twitter Follow

You may be cool, but are you “David Coverdale tweeted you back” cool?[1]David Coverdale is a riot on Twitter and as the Brits would say he is one cheeky bastard. He has all the charm to make his brand of sleaze, playful and endearing. I highly recommend his twitter to those who love a good double entendre and a whole lotta of innuendo.

However, I am not here to write a 1000 word review of Coverdale’s twitter[2]. I am here to tell how I just had my balls rocked off by Whitesnake tonight at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom on their Flesh & Blood Tour. Let’s check the pretension at the door just like Whitesnake do with their new party rocker, “Shut Up And Kiss Me”. The infectious gang chorus has everyone singing along immediately as if the song came out in 1987. David Coverdale still oozes charisma out of every pore and can command a crowd with just his eyes. Bassist, Michael Devin has a great voice is crucial on these choruses and is very entertaining to watch as he rocks out on the bass. The drummer, Tommy Aldridge, looks like the lead singer of REO Speedwagon with his gray, curly, huge afro, but rocks like a man half his age.[3]The twin guitar attack of Reb Beach (Winger[4]) and Joel Hoekstra (Trans-Siberian Orchestra) shred all over this song. Many times, the “new stuff” from these classic rock and metal bands fall flat on their face with the live crowd, but on this night Whitesnake proved an old dog can teach its master, new tricks. 

Whitesnake has some real winners off the Flesh & Blood album, which was officially released the day I attended the concert, May 10th. “Trouble Is Your Middle Name” is the banger off this album, which has you banging your head at the hard rocking chorus and shouting along with the band. The verses feature Coverdale at his raspy, strained bluesy best has he croons over a thumping bassline before kicking it into overdrive into the huge, sing-along chorus.  “Get Up” is a throwback to the foot-stomping, blues-boogie-rock that Whitesnake was founded on, before it took on a metallic sheen in 1987. “Hey You…Make Me Rock” is the heavy metal anthem of the album. It has a really strong guitar lead in, but the chorus is not as catchy as the other tracks played and Coverdale gives an uninspired performance here. He is more at home with blues-based songs or the fun sexy, party rock. After the very successful Doug Aldrich era of Whitesnake, I loved how the Hoestrka/Beach team with Coverdale crafted their own album that captured a distinct, fresh, vivacious and very electric sound. I think that’s what separates this from a lot of songs released by classic bands in the modern day is how lively this music is, which comes from how energetic Hoestrka & Beach sound on this album and live. 

Hoestrka and Beach showed off their chops in a six-minute guitar duel which each tried to out Eddie Van Halen each other as they shredded & finger tapped their way to glory. I have always thought that’s when Whitesnake is at their best when they are the best possible combination of Van Halen and Led Zeppelin. Unfortunately, for Coverdale he may never shake the moniker of “David Coverversion” as dubbed by Robert Plant when Plant flew into a jealous rage over Coverdale/Page album released in 1993[5], which is criminally underappreciated now.  When Coverdale wants he can do Robert Plant better than Robert Plant (see “Pride & Joy” from Coverdale/Page and “Still of the Night”), but Coverdale has a lot more range than his more famous rival. He has more access to his lower register and this gives Whitesnake’s songs a more soulful depth to them. Also, having seen both men live twice since 2010, there is no doubt Coverdale is the better frontman. He is still out there giving a balls out hard rock performance and entertaining the audience while Plant is more concerned with being artist and indulging his own agenda. Coverdale’s voice has also aged better. At the beginning of the concert, I did notice that his singing was not quite as good as I remembered on the Purple Snake tour of 2015. However, I think he was saving his voice up for the big finish. On the last three songs all from the hit 1987 album (“Give Me All Your Love Tonight”, “Here I Go Again” and “Still Of The Night”), he unleashed his full vocal prowess. He left no room for you to doubt it was really him singing as he was screaming like a banshee and belting out each note with vim and vigor. “Still of the Night” remains one of my all-time favorite songs. The hook riff is just pure sex and Coverdale delivers one of his best vocal performances. I fell in love with the song all over again tonight. 

Whitesnake has consistently been one of the best hard rock/heavy metal bands of the last decade. The Purple Album (2015) reminds the world that Coverdale era of Deep Purple is full of classic tracks that stand up well against the Mach II Era Machine Head album. “Burn” and “Stormbringer” feature Ritchie Blackmore at the peak of his powers. Both of those riffs are two of the greatest of all time and it is Coverdale that brings the vocal ferocity to match these pummeling riffs. The Doug Aldrich era saw Whitesnake release their best albums since 1987 with Good To Be Bad (2008)[6]and Forervermore(2011) and have been lauded by those fans that still listen to the new music produced by the classic bands of the genre. The stand out tracks from Good To Be Badare the raucous title track that sounds like “Bad Boys” on steroids and “Can You Hear The Wind Blow” which features Doug Aldrich doing his best Randy Rhodes shredding over the place while Coverdale gives a powerful & dynamic performance and the rhythm section has that classic Whitesnake boogie groove. “Forevermore” is the blues-rock album that returns Whitesnake back to its roots. My favorite is the opening track “Steal Your Heart Away” may be the best pure blues-rock song that Whitesnake has ever released, Coverdale gives a master class on how to hold your attention on the verse before the addictive bridge kicks in, if you have not heard this song, drop what you are doing and give it a spin.  The point is Whitesnake delivered two distinct albums in 2008 (hard rock, heavy metal) and 2011 (blues, ballads) that were phenomenal and they look to deliver another badass album this year with Flesh & Blood.

As you can tell by this glowing review, David Coverdale is one of my favorite singers/frontman in the history of rock. He has worked two of the most important guitarists of all time when he was in Deep Purple in the 1970s and with Jimmy Page on Coverdale Page in 1993. He achieved commercial success on his own working with guitarist John Skyes on the killer 1987 album. He demonstrates that even into the 21stcentury that he can pen some of the best hard rock, heavy metal songs ever that would have been massive hits in the 1980s. His live performance is still engrossing to watch. He has such an amazing stage presence and his eyes are so expressive. Most importantly, a mic stand is still a lethal weapon in the hands of the Snakeman! I highly recommend either picking up the new album, Flesh & Blood or going to see the Flesh & Blood tour in a city near you or just give David Coverdale a follow on Twitter, you won’t regret it. 

[1]“Me too, Bro…we always have a blast together!!!” – David Coverdale to me on Twitter with respect to the Hampton Beach crowd.  

[2]@DavidCoverdale for those so inclined to follow on Twitter.

[3]You must see his drum solo. I forgot all about from when I saw him in 2015. I just remembered the huge, gray, curly afro, but as soon he started rocking on his drum solo I remembered how incredible he is. Rock ‘n’ roll is the fountain of youth.

[4]I saw Kip Winger do an acoustic set of all your Winger favorites in small bar in Worcester and man did it really make want to see a full blown, plugged in, full throttle Winger reunion set. I definitely need to do a review of their monster comeback album Karmafrom 2009. Also, Kip & Reb can we get a full Winger tour already! David stop hogging Reb!

[5]This has to go down as the most successful “make my ex jealous” ploys ever as David Coverdale & Jimmy Page delivered the best Led Zeppelin album since Physical Graffitiand Coverdale blew Plant out of the water on all the live shows doing classic Led Zep songs. This forced Plant’s hand to do Led Zep reunion shows in the mid-90s. 

[6]The year 2008 was a very strong year for classic rock/metal bands releasing new material. I would put Good To Be Badas a strong number three behind Motley Crue’s Saints of Los Angeles and Metallica’s Death Magnetic

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