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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 – Live: In the Shadow of the Blues

Whitesnake – Live: In the Shadow of the Blues (2008, Icarus Music – Argentina Import)
Original Release: 2006, SPV Records/Steamhammer Records

Disc One
1. “Bad Boys” … 6:22
2. “Slide It In” … 5:11
3. “Slow An’ Easy” … 6:54
4. “Love Ain’t No Stranger” … 4:31
5. “Judgement Day” … 5:34
6. “Is This Love” … 4:58
7. “Blues for Mylene ’06” … 3:31
8. “Snake Dance ’06” … 2:03
9. “Crying in the Rain” … 5:46
10. “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City” … 8:44
11. “Fool for Your Loving” … 4:51
12. “Here I Go Again” … 5:53
13. “Still of the Night” … 8:38

Disc Two
1. “Burn – Stormbringer” … 8:38
2. “Give Me All Your Love” … 4:27
3. “Walking in the Shadow of the Blues” … 5:10
4. “The Deeper the Love” … 4:31
5. “Ready an’ Willing” … 5:41
6. “Don’t Break My Heart Again” … 6:08
7. “Take Me with You” … 7:50
8. “Ready to Rock” … 4:19
9. “If You Want Me” … 4:08
10. “All I Want Is You” … 4:12
11. “Dog” … 3:27

David Coverdale – Vocals
Doug Aldrich – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Reb Beach – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Uriah Duffy – Bass, Backing Vocals
Tommy Aldridge – Drums
Timothy Drury – Keyboards, Backing Vocals

Producer: David Coverdale, Dough Aldrich, Michael McIntyre

Having heard this album shortly after its release, I’ve wanted this album just as long but it seems like this was one of those albums that must’ve had a small pressing because it quickly shot up in price around the internet. Thankfully it was reissued (though I didn’t realize I was buying a reissue at the time) so the price was about $7 or $8 when I finally bought it online.

Though I’ve claimed to be a Whitesnake fan for years, this album along with Good to Be Bad really cemented my status as a fan and quickly catapulted Whitesnake near the top of my favorites list. Since Coverdale reformed the band in 2002, he’s kept amazingly talented musicians in the band and this particular line-up is probably one of the most impressive and powerful versions of the band ever as evidenced on this album. I can even vouch for them in concert because I was lucky enough to see them on the Good to Be Bad Tour (though the awesome Tommy Aldridge was no longer on drums). They have such a powerful, meaty, energetic sound. The Coverdale/Aldrich pairing has really produced some great things and I think this band has rejuvenated David Coverdale.

The only bad thing I can say about a performance here is sometimes Coverdale is straining, not often, but it happens. Which is odd because I don’t remember him sounding like this at all in concert, he sounded phenomenal then. Still, even when not 100% on his game, Coverdale is a better singer than most.

I’m not sure exactly when or where this album was recorded. They album gives credits to the 2005 and 2006 touring production team so I’m guessing these songs were culled from various performances though you can’t tell. If this was meant to give the illusion of being one show (or if it was truly was), the sequencing is weird. Disc One plays like an entire show from beginning to end while Disc Two’s live tracks seem kind of random and surely they wouldn’t end a show with “Take Me With You”! I guess they wanted to fit all the major Whitesnake songs onto the first disc.

Now, as if you can’t guess by now, the live portion of this album is fantastic but here’s the real reason I bought this album: for the four brand new studio songs that showed off this powerful new line-up. “Ready to Rock”, “If You Want Me” and “Dog” are welcome entries into the Whitesnake catalog. Much like the entire Good to Be Bad album, they are an updated take on the old Whitesnake song. Amazing songs. The only one that falls kinda short is “All I Want Is You” which is a ballad that tries to replicate “Is This Love”.

Great live album with some great new studio songs… Definitely an essential Whitesnake album!

Highlights: “Slide It In”, “Slow & Easy”, “Love Ain’t No Stranger”, “Blues for Mylene ’06”, “Crying in the Rain”, “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City”, “Still of the Night”, “Walking in the Shadow of the Blues”, “Ready to Rock”, “If You Want Me”, “Dog”

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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