JAM Magazine Concert Reviews

June 22, 2015
Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
Grand Prairie, TX USA
Review by Justin Press
Photos by Fabien Castro

Whitesnake

The Six Headed Hydra Slithers Thru A Hit Filled Evening

David Coverdale's high wire act of coming from nowhere to front one of rock's seminal 70's acts and then eventually moving on to form his own band which then became one of the 80's biggest draws and certainly best sellers has always been astounding, but then again he's always had the advantage of stacking the deck with massive talent around him.

Blackmore to Moody to Sykes to Aldridge and the like have always provided him the ballast for his bluesy hard rock baritone. For years, Coverdale and his Whitesnake co-horts have worked off their current resume but for their current tour they've fully embraced Coverdale's role in Deep Purple Mark III and material from the Burn and Stormbringer records. Married with their own powerhouse rockers, it made for a spectacular evening of classic English hard rock with an American appeal.

Amongst a shower of red lights, the band came onstage with Mssr. Coverdale scanning the crowd and showing his appreciation for the 3000 gathered. A mix of true blue 70's and 80's fans just off of work along with a heaping of younger rock fans attracted to a time when rock was the mammoth stalking the land (at least in the States). "Here's a little something for ya" as the band launched into 1974's "Burn," a barnstormer of a track that alerted the world of Coverdale's arrival. "Slide It In," the cheeky stomper followed up and gave you an indication of the evening, one Purple, one Snake... and so forth.

Backed by longtime players drummer Tommy Aldridge and guitarist Reb Beach as well as veteran player Michael Devin on bass, Coverdale supplemented the necessary parts to make the band fire on all cylinders. Much was made of the 2014 departure of guitar wiz Doug Aldrich but the band was quick on the draw and found his replacement with former Night Ranger/TSO guitarist Joel Hoekstra as well as Italian keyboardist Michele Luppi.

The sextet was able to replicate the diamond sellers from 1987 self-titled Whitesnake and the previous release Slide It In along with the white heat of arguably Deep Purple's most interesting material. "The Gypsy," a near power ballad that is lit up by funky cosmic riffs and the blistering "Just Might Take Your Life" was as expected, a big bluesy piece of heavy rock with Devin providing his best Roger Glover impersonation. Never ones to rest on their laurels, 2011's Forevermore's title track was laid out and displayed that the strong material didn't stop at 1990. A miraculous acoustic driven ballad that shows Coverdale's voice not losing a step, and it displayed why the band is still such a strong unit, his voice has not wavered after 40 years in the driver's seat. Mix that with a seasoned stage presence and a raconteur's swagger and he is still a formidable front man.

"Is This Love" blossomed initially as an MTV staple but the track holds up years later as a stand alone musical endeavor while the raging "You Fool No One" was amped up by a near metallic riff and what is arguably the best of the Coverdale/Purple tracks. It stole the show at Cal Jam I and did the same thing 40 years later on Monday night.

The show closing rebel rouser "Here I Go Again" never loses its ability to ignite an audience sing along, it's his "Jump," his "You Shook Me All Night Long," his "Home Sweet Home," a big epic track of self-empowerment and letting go. After a short exit stage right, the band came back to provide closure to the evening with what could be considered one of the Top 20 riffs of all-time with 'Still of The Night," a creation of former collaborator John Sykes, the riff is a cross between sonic boom and sex appeal. It also was Coverdale's re-emergence into the mainstream on a grand scale, it was metal opera blanketed in lust.

And that is how the 2+ hours ended, with a flourish and a memorable chorus stuck in the audience's cranium. Leave them blown away and humming all the way home. It may have been the working week but by the looks of things, it was definitely a weekend mentality in play.