One of the good things about a Monday night concert is that the audience is made up of people who truly want to be there. And The Bomb Factory was filled with fans who were worked up to see WHITESNAKE make one of their first stops on the their new Flesh & Blood World Tour 2019 to support their album of the same name, set for release on May 10 on Frontiers Music. The crowd members talked of previous tours, their favorite albums and told stories about the band until the lights went out and “My Generation” by the WHO was blasted over the speakers.
When the spotlights came on, drummer Tommy Aldridge was already behind the kit and the rest of the group filtered out with no introduction. Singer David Coverdale came out to screams and yelled, “Are you ready?!?”
The band immediately dove into “Bad Boys” from their self-titled platinum album. The crowd released their pent-up anticipation as Coverdale bounced around, Joel Hoekstra, of TRANS SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA fame, laid down a scintillating guitar solo and Aldridge, ever the showman, rocked a hard beat and owned the back line.
The huge round of applause abated after the group segued into “Slide It In,” which the audience sang along word for word. Coverdale’s rock and roll vocals sounded the same as in his late 80’s videos and guitarist/bandleader Reb Beach, also of WINGER, rocked a solo that mesmerized the audience. The music kept going as keyboardist Michele Luppi led the beat on “Gonna Be Alright.” Beach and Hoekstra traded licks and had fun watching each other raise their level of play.
Coverdale took a moment to reminisce about playing in Dallas at the infamous Texxas Jam in 1987 and some of the twists the band has taken in the last 30+ years. Saying, “This is like going back in time. Let’s sing this one together,” he led a singalong for “Love Ain’t No Stranger.” Joel played to the crowd and it was obvious the whole band was having fun onstage.
The new song “Hey You (You Make Me Rock)” had a vintage WHITESNAKE sound. The rhythm section of Aldridge and bassist Michael Devin on bass kept the heat up on this classic-sounding song. The cameras then came out en masse for “Slow And Easy.” Beach tore off a scorching solo before he and Hoekstra jammed standing back-to-back. DC’s voice still fit this rock and roll anthem perfectly and he loved the vibe as he led the crowd in rocking out.
Coverdale showed that he still loves being a rock star with his energy on “Trouble Is Your Middle Name.” The background vocals blended well with his slightly deeper voice on this new one. He then announced Beach and Hoekstra would give the audience a guitar duel and the shredders tore it up, tore it down and tore it every which way but loose.
Rob’s crisp clean notes contrasted slightly with Joel’s rapid-fire fingering as they went back and forth on increasingly complicated riffs. The two guitar slingers had completely opposite personalities, but when they played together, it blended into a wondrous sound. Devin strummed an offensive bass line to lead “Shut Up And Kiss Me” off their upcoming studio album and Aldridge thumped his double bass drum to excite the crowd.
“Get Up” pumped up the fans as the vocals and lyrics were matched by crowd-pleasing solos from everyone. Tommy Aldridge, who has played with a multitude of top bands and musicians, as well as being part of WHITESNAKE for many years, rocked the night. A showman in the vein of Keith Moon, Don Brewer and Carmine Appice, he pounded the skins and cymbals like a madman, then threw his sticks into the crowd and gave a hellish extended performance with his bare hands before the band came back out to finish the song.
Coverdale introduced his fellow bandmates and the outstanding musicians received solid rounds of applause for their work. It then got immensely louder when they played the first few notes of “Is This Love.”
The power ballad made the women swoon, the men picture Tawny Kitaen in the video and the lead singer led them in swaying to the classic singalong song. The music went straight into “Give Me All Your Love” with Aldridge again masterfully rocking the kit. Hoekstra led the mid-song jam as Coverdale screamed over the fans shrieking. He couldn’t scream loud enough, though, as the crowd almost drowned out the band as soon as they heard the beginning of “Here I Go Again.” Everyone jumped and the decibel level kept rising as the band played the song with a slightly harder edge.
They left the stage after the final song of the set, but only for a minute as Coverdale yelled, “If you want some more, make some fucking noise!” The crowd did and the band came right back and leaped directly into “Still Of The Night.” The great ten-minute encore also included David Coverdale screaming during the slow part of the song and a jam session with everyone showing their immeasurable talents.
The 14-song set was over much too soon, but everyone in the audience and on the stage had a great time. Be sure to look at their tour schedule to see when they’ll be in your area. Special thanks to Michael at The Bomb Factory for his help.
LIVE IMAGES: JOE GUZMAN/GUZPIX
LIVE WORDS: DAVID SIMERS