LIVE AT CREDICARD HALL, RIO DE JANEIRO, September 11th, 2011
This has been a great year when it comes to rock concerts here in Brazil. So many good bands coming and going, some big, some not that big… and we’re still having Rock In Rio in October… Anyway, months ago, when this Brazilian Whitesnake five-date tour was announced, opening for Judas Priest, people all over Brazil were more than thrilled. The same happened back in 2005, and it was a massive success. Whitesnake came back in 2008, this time with no other band to open for, to support their new album at the time “Bad To Be Good”. It was the third time I caught the band live – the first time I did it was in 1997 (the band was far from what they had been in the past, but as a longtime fan, it was great seeing them perform live for the first time, no matter what and how David’s back-up band was – and yes, folks, I missed their Rock In Rio I performance, I was just nine years old back then, but I remember already having both “Slide It In” and “Saints An’ Sinners” Vinyl albums by then. This first show was good, not awesome, just good. Maybe because once you were used to seeing the band at its commercial peak back between 1987 and 1990 and comparing it to the band that played he gig, maybe because David’s voice was not the same anymore, maybe because they did not include some of their biggest 80’s hits on the set – which was basically older material, early and Deep Purple stuff… anyway, it was great to see Whitesnake after all. And I did get to meet David, Adrian Vandemberg (Guitar) and Denny Carmassi (Drums, who also played in Heart) while they were around.
2005 was the year that Brazil could see Whitesnake live again, this time as the opening act for Judas Priest. It was all different now. The band had new members, who had a great input of new blood in the band – guitar players Doug Aldrich (formerly from Lion, Hurricane, Bad Moon Rising, Burning Rain and a few other projects) and Reb Beach (famous for his work with another top band, Winger), and newcomers Uriah Duffy on bass guitar and Timothy Drury on keyboards. The big thing was really going to be David Coverdale and drummer Tommy Aldridge play together again… the show itself was great, much better than the first one I went to, even though it was kind of short, as they were the opening act. I got to meet the whole band this time, but not David.
Whitesnake was back in 2008, right after releasing the “Bad To Be Good” album, which had been a good one, clearly showing that the band was trying to do what they did when they were a huge band. I’m not saying they tried to repeat themselves, I think they tried to make the right move. They had new musicians around on the record and onstage, and it was a great show, even better than the last one. The only big disappointment was seeing the band without drummer Tommy Aldridge, and seeing their new drummer at the time, Chris Frazier. Not that Chris was a bad drummer, but we’re talking about a replacement for the great Tommy Aldridge!!!!! I know people won’t stop giving David a hard time about his voice not being the same anymore, but any real Whitesnake fan knows it isn’t. So what? The guy was still around and still is one of the biggest frontmen ever. I managed to meet the whole band back then, but not David, once again.
So I was more than excited when the Judas Priest / Whitesnake Brazilian tour was announced, as I mentioned in the beginning of this review. Not being a Judas Priest fan (but always respecting the band for its history as one of the biggest heavy metal icons ever), I could only concentrate on Whitesnake’s coming back. After getting the Deluxe Edition of their new “Forevermore” album, I could hardly wait to see the band perform live again, not only for their being one of my all time favorite bands, not only because “Forevermore” is a much, much better album than “Bad To Be Good” is, but also to check some of the new songs live, and check the new members in the band, drummer Brian Tichy (formerly of Foreigner, and who had also played on several other projects, such as Zakk Wylde’s Pride & Glory), bassist Michael Devin (who was briefly in Lynch Mob) and the new keyboard player Brian Ruedy.
So, after all of this being said, let’s forward it all to the concert review. It was said that the sales in Rio hadn’t been that big, but I really doubted that there would be a half-crowded venue. I was also told that David Coverdale vocals were less than acceptable on the show they played the night before in Sao Paulo, but then I thought – Who the hell cares?
Whitesnake started their show with The Who’s “My Generation” recorded track as an intro, bursting into the first song on the set, “Best Years”, off their 2008 “Bad To Be Good” album. And then I could barely believe my eyes, I swear. I had already seen Doug and Reb perform before, and they were just great, as always. The new “snakes” were quite impressive. Bassist Michael Devin was the best one they’ve had since Rudy Sarzo, and keyboardist Brian Ruedy was good too. Drummer Brian Tichy was amazing. Not only his playing, but also his down to earth performance were really appreciated by the whole audience from the very first moment. And there was David Coverdale. Well, what to say about David Coverdale? He was, he is, and he will always be one of the best singers and performers ever. Even not being as young as the rest of the band, it was great to see him as if he was in his mid-twenties. David’s still got what it takes to be a real rockstar, a big celebrity, after all. OK, some of his voice is already gone – but again, who the hell cares?
“Give Me All Your Love Tonight”, off their biggest-selling album ever, the homonymous “1987 Whitesnake” one, made the crowd go wild. And yes, there was a big crowd. Bigger than I thought they’d be. Ticket sales were just like as I thought they would be, a success. It was crazy seeing about seven thousand people singing along to the “Give Me All Your Love Tonight” choruses – yes, even the most radical Judas Priest fans were singing along too. The band finished the song and David talked a little about his love for Rio, and then they kicked in “Love Ain’t No Stranger”, one of their biggest hits in Brazil. The madness continued, as they gave no break to start “Is This Love”, the most waited for song on their set. Once it is one of their biggest hits worldwide ever, it really brought tears to their fan’s eyes. David can still be considered one of the top names in this business – he really has it all. He can play the romantic type, the aggressive type, not to mention his never ending sex appeal, which still drives the girls crazy, even with his being at an older age.
After performing “Is This Love”, David said they were going to play some songs off their new “Forevermore” album. “Steal Your Heart Away” featured some great slide guitar work by Doug Aldrich, and it’s a great song. What followed next was the rendition of the new album’s title track, “Forevermore”, with Doug starting it on the acoustic guitar, and later having the band play its epic and powerful known version. Actually, I can tell you that Whitesnake could have played any song off the new album. David’s vocal range is obviously not the same anymore, but it’s clear that he does his best to sing the songs as they were recorded – do I need to say anything about his performance again? I guess I don’t…
David Coverdale came up to the microphone then and introduced the two guitar players in the band, Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach. Each of them played a fantastic guitar solo, showing how they differ in style, and how they complete each other in Whitesnake’s music. Doug’s style is more aggressive, bluesy, while Reb’s is faster, more technical. Both of them are real guitar gods, each one in his own style. The next track was “Love Will Set You Free”, their new single and video. It was as well received by the fans as the old hits. Yes, David and the Snakes really got it right with the “Forevermore” album. Drummer Brian Tichy played his solo then, showing that he was the right choice for the band. His drumming is just monstrous, in a good way, of course. He’s one of those drummers who are not only happy playing, but who also need to perform. And what a great performer he was. Whitesnake’s fans were speechless.
After the drum solo, the band was back and performed another one of their biggest hits, “Here I Go Again” (my personal favorite ever…). Once again, the interaction between David and the fans was more than touching, and it was one of the top moments of the night. Only one who has experienced one of his favorite bands play one of his favorite songs live knows what I’m talking about. Once again, without any introductions, just the famous “here’s a song for ya”, they played “Still Of The Night”, another one of their biggest songs. Everything was perfect. Yes, everything. I repeat, who the hell cares if David isn’t reaching the high notes he used to? It was just memorable…
“Still Of The Night” is famous for being the last song on Whitesnake’s set, but just like the night before, in Sao Paulo, they didn’t close the show with it. David Coverdale sang Deep Purple’s “Soldier Of Fortune” by himself, and then thanked the crowd, immediately playing the real closer, a medley of Deep Purple songs “Burn” and “Stormbringer”. Older fans went crazy seeing David and Whitesnake perform these songs. As I said, it was just perfect. They played a 75 minute set, and left the stage. Unfortunately they were the opening act, and then Judas priest would go onstage. But after Whitesnake, I wasn’t interested in Judas priest at all. I do respect them, but come on… Whitesnake is Whitesnake. Period.
I also got to meet the band this time. Once again all of them were kind, very respectful to their fans. And I got to meet David after all, after 14 years. It was difficult meeting him, but he was, just like the other guys, kind and respectful. David Coverdale and Whitesnake deserve to be where they are now, at the top again, just like they were 24 years ago. Great band, great people. David Coverdale will always be one of the most influential singers in rock and roll history. And, to finish, WHO THE HELL CARES IF HIS VOICE IS NOT THE SAME ANYMORE???????????
Give Me All Your Love Tonight
Love Ain't No Stranger
Is This Love
Steal Your Heart Away
Love Will Set You Free
Here I Go Again
Still Of The Night
Soldier of Fortune
Burn / Stormbringer
David Coverdale - Vocals
Doug Aldrich - Guitar
Reb Beach - Guitar
Michael Devin - Bass
Brian Tichy – Drums
Brian Ruedy – Keyboards
Just wanna trade!