Having delivered a tremendous new studio album in Forevermore the latest line-up of Whitesnake rolled into Wolverhampton and served up 100 minutes of classics old and new. David Coverdale's voice may lack the roar of years gone by but he remains one of Rock's greatest frontmen and still possesses all of the moves and charisma to captivate the sold out Civic Hall.
The mid-tempo "Best Years" makes for an unlikely opener being one of the bands less immediate and lesser known songs but they are soon into their stride with "Give Me All Your Love". Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach will always be compared with their distinguished predecessors but both are perfect for the Whitesnake of the 21st Century. In his by now customary position at Coverdale's left hand side Aldrich is in sparkling form as he reels off an array of dynamic solos. "Love Ain't No Stranger" is greeted like a long lost friend and eases into "Is This Love", the first of the 80's mega-hits and played to perfection. With his between song banter full of the usual leering innuendo Coverdale responds to an audible request for "Slide It In" by leading the band through a truncated version consisting of first verse and chorus. Keen to showcase the new material the middle of the set includes no fewer than five cuts from Forevermore, the best being the sweeping title track and the muscular "Love Will Set You Free".
At this point in the show the energy levels begin to sap as Coverdale is off stage for more than twenty minutes leaving Beach and Aldrich to battle it out in a duelling solo before drummer Brian Tichy takes over. With the crowd becoming noticeably restless it is easy to criticise the length of these solo slots but by allowing Coverdale the necessary recovery time they are an integral part of the overall show. Backed just by acoustic guitars the voice is noticeably croaky on "Fare Thee Well" but gets some respite as the "Whitesnake choir" takes over for an emotional "Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City". All that remains is the classic trio of "Fool For Your Loving", "Here I Go Again" and a dazzling "Still of the Night" that brings the show to an impressive close. This may not quite be vintage Whitesnake but with the on stage camaraderie between the band much in evidence then if the voice holds up there is every chance they will be around for a few years yet.
Reviewed by Dean Pedley
Photos by Ian Harvey at www.rocktasticpix.com