by John Kindred
August 9, 2011 at The Midland Theater in Kansas City, MO.
Since the retooled Whitesnake returned to the stage for the bands 25th anniversary in 2002, Coverdale and company have released two studio albums; ’08′s Good To Be Bad and ’11′s Forevermore, a live DVD, ’06′s Live… In The Still of the Night, and the live double-CD release, ’06′s Live: in The Shadow of the Blues. The band continues to tour, and its latest venture in support of Forevermore rolled through the Midwest and made a stop at the majestic Midland Theater in Kansas City, Mo.
David Coverdale, Doug Aldrich, Reb Beach and ‘snake newbies drummer Brian Tichy, bassist Michael Devin and keyboardist Brian Ruedy promptly took the stage at 9 p.m. Having steered away from evolving into nostalgia act, Whitesnake brings new life to its staple of hard rock classics by including songs from the band’s last two studio albums in their set.
Coverdale, the senior statesman of the band, leads a group of accomplished and experienced musicians. Having carried the flag for rock ‘n’ roll forward into battle since the late ‘70s under the band’s moniker, Coverdale lives his life as prophesied within his own lyrics, “… I keep on dreaming dreams of tomorrow … always taking my chances on the promise of the future.” Time after time, he brings the attitude and the band to back it up.
Performing an abbreviated set that lasted only an hour and a half, Whitesnake opened the show with “Best Years” from ‘08′s Good To Be Bad. Coverdale and company hit the stage with youthful energy and passion. The band delivered up a set that included three new songs: “Steal Your Heart Away,” “Love Will Set You Free” and “Forevermore,” which Coverdale dedicated to the fans. They also performed music from the album Slide It In: “Love Ain’t No Strange” and the title track. The 1987 Whitesnake album was represented by the songs “Is This Love” and “Here I Go Again,” and they squeezed in a song from Slip of the Tongue, “The Deeper the Love.” They closed out the night with the encore “Still of the Night,” again, culled from the 1987 Whitesnake album.
There is a lot of talk on the Internet about Coverdale’s voice. Although he certainly is not in his 20s or 30s anymore, his vocals continue to be strong when he is singing in a lower register or mid-timbre. His voice is strained when he sings higher. Performing live, Coverdale receives some help by bassist Michael Devin filling in some of the vocals in the choruses and the crowd when he directs them to sing along. The band makes do, and it works well live. The background vocals have that live, stadium-quality sound, filling up the live mix, sounding full and awesome. Generally, all members of the band handled the background vocals during the choruses.
Coverdale would be the first to tell you that Doug Aldrich is special. He shines as a guitarist; ripping through solos, once written and performed by the likes of Sykes and Vai, with relative ease. He is an amazing performer to watch live. His solo on “Forevemore” was extremely well crafted and executed. Reb Beach is no slouch, either. He is quite excitable on stage and shows genuine happiness to be performing live. He takes on his share of the solos and is amazing, as well. Both Beach and Aldrich shared the spotlight, performing a guitar duel shredding like crazed madmen.
Whitesnake delivers. Everyone in the group is in constant motion. Coverdale is always in action, twirling the microphone stand and gyrating into the air. Beach, Aldrich and Devin are all animated, putting 100 percent into the performance. Ruedy, although chained behind his keyboards, holds down the fort by delivering the melodies and synth hooks that all the fans know and remember. All the while, Tichy locks in with Devin, allowing the music to pulsate, writhe and slither, cause that’s what ‘snakes do.
Briian Tichy – Michael Devin – David Coverdale – Doug Aldrich – Reb Beach – Brian Ruedy
1. Best Years
2. Give Me All Your Love
3. Love Ain’t No stranger
4. Is This Love
5. Steal Your Heart Away
6. [Guitar Duel]
7. Love Will Set You Free
8. Drum Solo
10. The Deeper the Love
11. Slide It In
12. Here I Go Again
13. Still Of The Night