Recently I had one of the best days ever. Why’s that? Because on Thursday May 2, two awesome events occurred. First up, my son Mini-Amps competed in his seventh Special Olympics Track and Field day winning three ribbons in different events. For those of you who don’t know he has autism, is non-verbal, and is arguably the happiest kid I’ve ever seen. He is also a die-hard rocker/metalhead and loves the same music we do. After the competition we did our usual victory lunch at Wendy’s, which he also loves. After that it was time to head home and relax for a few hours, because there was something else for me to do that day…
And that something was to see WHITESNAKE live at Parx Casino!! I had never been to this venue (though I will be a lot more from now on!), and I fell in love with it instantly. There’s not a bad seat in the Xcite Center, the concert venue, and the staff couldn’t have been nicer as I made my way through the place as a newbie. RockView Live was on hand to shoot the photos, and the table was set for the second half of a great day. WHITESNAKE took the stage at 8pm (no opener, ThankYouSatan!!) and wasted no time getting to the business of rocking our faces off.
“Bad Boys” from the self-titled 1987 record got the party started and bled right into “Slide It In”, a perennial crowd-pleaser. It was really cool to see lead singer David Coverdale trade lines on the verses with highly energetic bassist Michael Devin on this classic tune. “Gonna Be Alright” from new album Flesh & Blood (out now, Frontiers Music) was the first of five brand new songs the band would unveil, then David spoke his usual, “Here’s a song for ya” and the boys launched into “Love Ain’t No Stranger.” Guitarists Joel Hoekstra and Reb Beach work so well and fluidly together it’s like poetry in motion when they’re in sync.
Legendary song “Slow An’ Easy” was sandwiched between a pair of new tracks, “Hey You (You Make Me Rock)” and “Trouble Is Your Middle Name”, which I’m telling you is not only one of the best songs on this new record, but live it fucking wails, especially with the police sirens at the intro. Beach and Hoekstra then went into a guitar duel, each one getting three solos before deferring to the other one, and I swear it was like I was 15 again when the guitar solos were a requirement of every live show.
Another pair of new ones followed with “Shut Up and Kiss Me”, then “Get Up”, one of my favorites off of Flesh & Blood. And don’t look now, but in the middle of this comes Tommy Aldridge’s drum solo! Lemme tell ya something, okay? I don’t care how old he is, or how gray that crazy mop of curls on his head is, Tommy Aldridge is a goddamn motherfucking BEAST behind the kit. And anyone who thinks otherwise should be lobotomized. Hell, halfway through his solo he threw his sticks into the crowd and did the rest with his bare fucking hands! Easily one of the best drummers I’ve ever had the privilege to witness live, case closed.
Band introductions followed before massive hit “Is This Love” graced our ears and you could just tell everyone was feeling it. The band had the room in the palm of their collective hand, and all around me ladies were swooning. Hey, it’s a great song so I don’t blame them one bit. “Give Me All Your Love” hit the room like a shot of adrenaline, then powerhouse anthem “Here I Go Again” closed out the set. Right before they walked offstage Coverdale said, “If you want some more, make some FUCKING NOISE!” We did, we obliged, and when they came back he goes, “NOW I can hear ya!”
The encore was “Still of the Night”, and for a few minutes I was 14 years old again, discovering this band for the first time on MTV. Mr. Coverdale said goodnight, and just like that it was over. WHITESNAKE is one of those bands that always puts on a great show, whether they have an album to promote or not. And what’s cool is that the new songs sound even better live than on the record if you can believe that. Plus you can see and feel the camaraderie between all the band members up there, and that is so important. So I’m gonna recommend you do two things, okay? One: go see WHITESNAKE ASAP! And two: Buy Flesh & Blood today. You won’t regret it!
LIVE IMAGES: ROCKVIEW LIVE
LIVE WORDS: THE MAESTRO