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Whitesnake – Live At Donington 1990

Whitesnake – Live At Donington 1990 (2011, Frontiers Records)

Disc 1:
1. Slip Of The Tongue … 6:52
2. Slide It In … 5:03
3. Judgement Day … 5:56
4. Slow An’ Easy … 8:12
5. Kitten’s Got Claws … 4:58
6. Adagio For Strato … 3:08
7. Flying Dutchman Boogie … 4:02
8. Is This Love … 4:4
9. Cheap An’ Nasty … 4:31
10. Crying In The Rain … 13:28

Disc 2:
1. Fool For Your Loving … 6:02
2. For The Love Of God … 5:24
3. The Audience Is Listening … 3:02
4. Here I Go Again … 5:43
5. Bad Boys … 6:17
6. Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City … 8:26
7. Still Of The Night … 8:00

David Coverdale – Vocals
Steve Vai – Guitar
Adrian Vandenberg – Guitar
Rudy Sarzo – Bass
Tommy Aldridge – Drums

Hot on the heels of the excellent Forevermore is the release of live album that was recorded at the 1990 Monsters of Rock at Castle Donington (a show that included Aerosmith, Poison, the Quireboys and Thunder). At that time, Whitesnake was still touring in promotion of Slip of the TongueThere are no less than six tracks from that album played here and while that album is generally regarded as a misstep in the band’s catalog (though I think opinions have begun to mellow), the material seems to go over fairly well with this crowd.

I somewhat find it odd that Coverdale would choose to release this album right after a brand new studio album is released, especially considering he’s the only guy that appears on both albums. I also didn’t realize this show even existed and that there was any demand for it but apparently Whitesnake fans have been clamoring for an official release of this show for quite some time. That’s another thing I thought to be weird — a Slip of the Tongue-era live album? All of these guys are great musicians but that album was so polished I wasn’t sure how the band would come across live.

Sarzo, Vandenberg and Aldridge I have no problem with but Steve Vai? He’s never really seemed like a true ‘snake or a good fit to me and I’m not huge fan of his solo work so I thought maybe this concert would be a bit too flashy and technical, taking away the soul of the band. Happy to say that isn’t the case for the most part. Vai does get to show off with “For the Love of God” and “The Audience Is Listening” from his 1990 solo album Passion and Warfare and I have to say both songs stick out like a sore thumb in this set list despite the crowd’s appreciation for it. I much more prefer Vandenberg’s solo moments on “Adagio for Strato” and “Flying Dutchman Boogie”.

On the whole, this is a much more powerful sounding live performance than I was expecting. Though I never disliked the album, I’m appreciating the Slip of the Tongue songs on this disc a lot more after hearing live incarnations of them. The crowd is absolutely rabid (Whitesnake were the headliners) and they eat up an oldie like “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City” (which was done surprisingly well)  just as much as they do “Slip of the Tongue” or “Crying In The Rain”. And of course I have to point out yet again Coverdale’s vocals. The guy is flat out amazing. As powerful as he STILL sounds to this day, he’s even more powerful during this show. A true rock legend and one of rock’s better vocalists of all time.

Though I don’t think this album tops the classic Live… In the Heart of the City from 1980 or Live: In the Shadow of the Blues from 2006, this album stands as a great document of how good the pop-metal era of the band could be and perhaps shows that time frame deserves much more credit than it is given. If you’re a fan of the self-titled/1987 album and Slip of the Tongue, this is well worth picking up.

Highlights: “Slip Of The Tongue”, “Judgement Day”, “Slow An’ Easy”, “Cheap An’ Nasty”, “Crying In The Rain”, “Bad Boys”, “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City”, “Still of the Night”

Buy ‘Live at Donington 1990’ at!

WHITESNAKE – Starkers In Tokyo

Whitesnake – Starkers In Tokyo (1997, EMI Records – UK Import)

1. “Sailing Ships” … 4:37
2. “Too Many Tears” … 4:13
3. “The Deeper The Love” … 4:09
4. “Love Ain’t No Stranger” … 3:15
5. “Can’t Go On” … 3:50
6. “Give Me All Your Love” … 3:21
7. “Don’t Fade Away” … 4:26
8. “Is This Love” … 3:09
9. “Here I Go Again” … 4:46
10. “Soldier of Fortune” … 4:22

David Coverdale – Vocals
Adrian Vandenberg – Guitar

Producer: David Coverdale

Starkers In Tokyo is a really cool live acoustic album that was recorded on July 5th, 1997 in Tokyo, Japan at an EMI Japan studio. It’s a very intimate setting with a small, restrained crowd (Coverdale cracks a few jokes about the reserved crowd and reveals himself to have a weird sense of humor).

This special show was put on at the request of EMI Japan in an attempt to help promote the Restless Heart album so it’s no surprise that three songs from the set list are from that album. Also, there are two songs from Slip of the Tongue. All five of those songs were written by Coverdale & Vandenberg. I’m surprised David didn’t go for some earlier Whitesnake material for this acoustic setting but I’m sure the Vandenberg factor played a role in that. Apparently, David hadn’t totally disowned the group’s late ’80s work just yet and was content to fill this album with ballads.

The album is really good, I’ve given this one multiple spins since winning it. It’s no secret that Coverdale is one of my favorite rock vocalists of all-time and this album is a great example of why. If it was anyone else singing these songs, it wouldn’t be half as good and that’s not a knock on the songs, it’s praise for Coverdale. And while I think Slip of the Tongue is just maybe the weakest Whitesnake album, “Sailing Ships” and “The Deeper The Love” come off really good in an acoustic setting. In fact, every song here does except “Here I Go Again”, which just doesn’t sound right without the bombastic production behind it.

It’s not the set list I would have chosen but this is another great entry into the Whitesnake discography.

Highlights: “Sailing Ships”, “Too Many Tears”, “The Deeper The Love”, “Love Ain’t No Stranger”, “Can’t Go On”, “Don’t Fade Away”

WHITESNAKE – Whitesnake

Whitesnake – Whitesnake (1987, Geffen Records)

1. “Crying in the Rain” … 5:37
2. “Bad Boys” … 4:09
3. “Still of the Night” … 6:38
4. “Here I Go Again” … 4:33
5. “Give Me All Your Love” … 3:30
6. “Is This Love” … 4:43
7. “Children of the Night” … 4:24
8. “Straight for the Heart” … 3:40
9. “Don’t Turn Away” … 5:07

David Coverdale – Lead Vocals
John Sykes – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Neil Murray – Bass
Aynsley Dunbar – Drums, Percussion

Additional Musicians:
Don Airey – Keyboards
Bill Cuomo – Keyboards
Adrian Vandenberg – Guitar solo (“Here I Go Again”)

Producer: Mike Stone & Keith Olsen

And with this, my Whitesnake collection is complete. I held off on getting this album for years because I knew the whole album by heart since I had owned the cassette since 1996 or so. Out of boredom, I finally plunked down a couple of bucks online to pick this one up.

Despite being the band’s most successful time, this really began the worst era for the band (which even Coverdale himself now admits). Released 3 years before this album, Slide It In was a perfect blend of their old blues-rock sound and pop-metal sound of the day but this cheesy album went overboard with the pop-metal and commercial rock sound and it has a high filler quotient as a result. Sure, there are a few classics here like the epic “Still of the Night” and the monster hits “Here I Go Again” and “Is This Love” but the blues influenced is basically gone and in its place is a lot of generic ’80s hard rock. At least Coverdale puts on another fine performance but the songs don’t really call for him to show off his voice too much.

This is one of Whitesnake’s worst albums but that said, it’s still an okay album that used to get a lot of play from me. I would rather listen to anything before or after this album and Slip of the Tongue though.

Highlights: “Crying in the Rain”, “Still of the Night”, “Here I Go Again”, “Is This Love”, “Don’t Turn Away”

WHITESNAKE – Restless Heart

Whitesnake – Restless Heart (1997, EMI Records – UK Import)

1. “Don’t Fade Away” … 5:01
2. “All In The Name Of Love” … 4:42
3. “Restless Heart” .. 4:50
4. “Too Many Tears” … 5:44
5. “Crying” … 5:34
6. “Stay With Me” … 4:00
7. “Can’t Go On” … 4:28
8. “You’re So Fine” … 5:10
9. “Your Precious Love” … 4:34
10. “Take Me Back Again” … 6:02
11. “Woman Trouble Blues” … 5:36

David Coverdale – Vocals
Adiran Vandenberg – Guitar
Guy “Starka” Pratt – Bass
Denny Marmassi – Drums, Percussion
Brett Tuggle – Keyboards, Backing Vocals

Additional Musicians:
Tommy Funderburk – Backing Vocals
Beth Anderson – Backing Vocals
Maxine Waters – Backing Vocals
Elk Thunder – Harmonica

Producer: David Coverdale

The only Whitesnake album of the 1990s (which has never seen a proper U.S. release) sees David Coverdale taking the band closer to their bluesy roots after the last few albums delved deeper and deeper into pop metal. The closest the band gets to the pop years is “Restless Heart”, which is one of my favorite Whitesnake songs and would have fit in well on Slide It In.

Anyone expecting another batch of glossy party tunes will be quickly set straight with the opening track “Don’t Fade Away”, which is basically a soft rock ballad. Not exactly the way you’d expect any Whitesnake album to start off but then again, this wasn’t intended to be a Whitesnake album. Coverdale intended this to be a solo release, but EMI forced him to put the Whitesnake name on it to help sales and so we have the compromise on the cover of “David Coverdale & Whitesnake” (just like how Tony Iommi shared billing with Black Sabbath on Seventh Star).

To this day, David doesn’t acknowledge this album as a Whitesnake album and prefers to look at it as a solo project but we finally get hear the legit studio debut of Whitesnake guitarist Adrian Vandenberg, even though he doesn’t really get a chance to show off. As if there was ever any doubt before, this album totally belongs to David Coverdale. Say what you will about these soft rocking, bluesy mid-tempo numbers, but his voice is incredible is the star of this album. I especially love his performance on “Too Many Tears”.

I was turned off by this album at first. Despite immediately recognizing the great vocals performance David was laying down, I couldn’t get past the fact that this album only seems to rock half the time. It was way more melodic and mellow than I wanted it to be. With repeated listenings, the album has grown on me. Taken as a Whitesnake album, it isn’t their finest moments, but I think it’s worth the time of any Whitesnake fan just for David’s vocals and if you keep an open mind, you’ll enjoy some of these slower numbers as well. Really old school Whitesnake fans should enjoy “Crying”, “You’re So Fine” and “Woman Trouble Blues”. Pure blues rockers.

I picked this one up at FYE for $14 and immediately kicked myself when I got home and realized it was on for only $7. I knew I had it on my CD Universe wish list, but I was thinking that it was about the same price online. I was pretty excited when I saw it in stock though because I knew it was not an album that could have been there for long because I frequently check out FYE. I don’t buy much from them because everything is usually marked up too high or they don’t have whatever I want.

Highlights: “Restless Heart”, “Too Many Tears”, “Crying”, “You’re So Fine”, “Woman Trouble Blues”

WHITESNAKE – Slip of the Tongue

Whitesnake – Slip of the Tongue (1989, Geffen Records)

1. “Slip of the Tongue” … 5:20
2. “Cheap an’ Nasty” … 3:28
3. “Fool for Your Loving” … 4:11
4. “Now You’re Gone” … 4:12
5. “Kittens Got Claws” … 5:02
6. “Wings of the Storm” … 5:01
7. “The Deeper the Love” … 4:22
8. “Judgment Day” … 5:16
9. “Slow Poke Music” … 3:59
10. “Sailing Ships” … 6:02

David Coverdale – Vocals
Steve Vai – Guitar
Adrian Vandenberg – Guitar
Rudy Sarzo – Bass
Tommy Aldridge – Drums

Producer: Mike Clink & Keith Olsen

Holy cow, what a line-up David gathered for this release! Guitar virtuoso Steve Vai (David Lee Roth),  Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot) and Tommy Aldridge (Ozzy, Black Oak Arkansas, Pat Travers Band). I left out guitarist Adrian Vandenberg because while he was still technically a member of the band, a wrist injury prevented him from taking part in the recording sessions (the liner notes mention this while still crediting him and Vai). Vai had replaced Vivian Campbell, who was fired in 1988 for a “negative attitude”, but I think Vivian made out okay finding a home with Def Leppard in 1992.

I’m not sure how much touring Vandenberg was able to for this album, but I was thinking Vai and Vandenberg would’ve made for an awesome guitar duo… Until while doing research for this album I read Vandenberg didn’t appreciate Steve’s flashy style, which he feels damaged this album.

I’ve wanted this one on CD for years, but kept putting it off because I know it by heart as I had the cassette for a long time. I know there’s remastered/20th Anniversary/DVD edition but why pay $20 for that when I can just get the original for $6? I don’t need any fancy fixin’s! The album isn’t that good.

But I will say this, I’m probably a bit more positive on this one than most people. It’s the culmination of the band’s pop metal years with the bluesy hard rock now totally stripped away but there’s still some good songs here. Tongue-in-cheek numbers like “Slip of the Tongue”, “Cheap An’ Nasty” and “Slow Poke Music” are classic Coverdale, in my opinion. It is really the ballads like “Now You’re Gone” and “Sailing Ships” that hike up the pop-metallic cheese level. Guilty pleasures for sure.

“Fool For Your Loving” is yet another old Whitesnake song David dusted off. The original song appeared on 1980’s Ready an’ Willing.

Not the first Whitesnake one should own, but I recommend it for anyone who is a fan of Slide It In and their 1987 self-titled release.

Highlights: “Slip of the Tongue”, “Cheap an’ Nasty”, “Fool for Your Loving”, “Now You’re Gone”, “The Deeper the Love”, “Judgment Day”

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