August 13, 2015 Whitesnake Rattle NYCB Theatre at Westbury, NY 7-27-15 w/ The Dead Daisies
Many would consider English/American Hard Rock band Whitesnake as a saving grace to keep Classic Rock alive. Formed by Vocalist David Coverdale back in 1978 after his departure from Deep Purple, Whitesnake made some noise in the UK for years, and finally in 1984 broke through in the USA with Slide It In. Awakening the continent to their brand of Rock, it would be in 1987 the band would explode to superstar status with their self-titled album since going eight times platinum and four chart-topping singles. Now, all these years later, Whitesnake still has plenty of bite, touring regularly and writing new music, with their last original record coming in 2011, entitled Forevermore. Currently comprised of head in charge, Vocalist Coverdale, Guitarist Reb Beach, Bassist Michael Devin, Drummer Tommy Aldridge, newest member, Lead Guitarist Joel Hoekstra, and touring member, Keyboardist Michele Luppi, Whitesnake is on the road again around the world supporting their 2015 record, The Purple Album. Doing something slightly different, for their twelfth overall record, Coverdale decided to revisit material from his days in Deep Purple and re-record the material with a fresh new spin, as well as perhaps some of his own ideas not included on the original records. Covering tracks from Deep Purple’s Burn (1974), Stormbringer (1974), and Come Taste the Band (1975), The Purple Album is topping charts internationally. Having a new found buzz surrounding them, Whitesnake kicked off the North American leg of Summer touring on May 28th, and on Monday July 27th they brought their high-energy show to NYCB Theater at Westbury in New York.
Warming up the stage for Whitesnake were supergroup The Dead Daisies. Originally formed back in 2012 by former Noiseworks vocalist Jon Stevens and former Mink guitarist David Lowy, The Dead Daisies quickly picked up momentum enlisting touring members from Richard Fortus (Guns N’ Roses/Psychedelic Furs), Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy/Whitesnake), Dizzy Reed (Guns N’ Roses/Hookers & Blow), and John Tempesta (The Cult/Rob Zombie), among others. Opening eyes with a slot on 2013’s Rockstar Uproar Festival, The Dead Daisies found themselves as opening support for KISS in the Summer of 2014 as they showcased cuts from their 2013 self-titled record. Now in 2015, The Dead Daisies are back with new album Revolución and a touring lineup consisting of new vocalist John Corabi (Mötley Crüe, RATT), new drummer Brian Tichy (Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol), along with alumni, Bassist Mendoza, Keyboardist Reed, as well as Guitarists Lowy and Fortus.
Immediately recognizable to the educated Rock fans in the crowd, The Dead Daisies received a round of cheers as they began their hard-rocking set with new “Mexico” followed by a crunching cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Devil Out of Time.” Sounding tight and powerful, they moved into another cover with The Sensational Alex Harvey Band’s “Midnight Moses,” before going into their own, “Looking for the One.” Staying with the theme of the evening, the band even paid tribute to Deep Purple with an amped up cover of 1968 hit “Hush” that had the audience howling in appreciation. With Corabi shining bright on vocals, he fit perfectly with the rest of The Dead Daisies, doing a fantastic job with their older track “Lock ‘n’ Load” and owned the pieces they recorded with the band for their sophomore album on “With You and I” and “Devil Out of Time.” Closing their set on a high note, they jammed out with a ferocious take on one of the Beatles’ heaviest songs, “Helter Skelter.” Certainly possessing a new sound with Corabi on vocals, The Dead Daisies sound is true to the Rock-n-Roll they have been crafting since the project came together. Be sure to check out their latest album Revolución for a fantastic group of songs.
With a fantastic opening set of The Dead Daisies getting the energy flowing inside NYCB Theatre, fans could hardly contain themselves during the intermission for Whitesnake to take the stage. Usually performing a large open-air amphitheaters such as Nikon at Jones Beach back in 2011, the chance to see the larger than life Rock band in the confines of an intimate theater is both appealing and exciting for dedicated followers. With that in mind, as the lights went down, cheers began to rain down as Coverdale and Co. started the show with the title cut off of his first Deep Purple album, “Burn.” With a riff that blends the catchy beat of “Smoke on the Water” and the urgency of “Highway Star,” the song brought everyone to their feet immediately following the cheers. For nearly eight minutes, Beach stepped outside the melody with screeching solos throughout while Aldridge drummed at warp speed, and Coverdale hit all the high notes better than ever before. The title track from Whitesnake’s Slide It In album followed and it was a slice of radio-friendly Power Rock welcomed with open arms. The band laid down a simple, clean melody on guitar and topped it off with a compulsory refrain that the crowd adopted and managed to drown out the vocals, as a whammy bar-soaked solo brought it all together.
Catching their breath, the delicate intro of “Love Ain’t No Stranger” quickly fell into a lively, brisk number, and continued to bounce back and forth between soft and heavy. The haunting “Gypsy,” a Deep Purple cut from Stormbringer, brought New Wave of British Heavy Metal tastes with a twin guitar attack featuring climbing rhythms and endless arpeggios, and of course mystical lyrical content. Then came “Give Me All Your Love Tonight,” which inspired a sing-along from the crowd as Coverdale left the stage and made his way to the front row, high-fiving spectators. Adding to the intensity, with only the drums playing, a jarring call and response took over the arena.
Playing more Deep Purple material, a funk-laden bass line from Devin opened “You Keep on Moving” as gentle guitars strummed over the beat. An elongated riff took over with Coverdale gushing heartfelt lyrics about a lost love. Luppi then took over the song with an extended, mind-bending solo on organ before turning it over to a long guitar outro. Beach and Hoekstra each took a turn in the spotlight for guitar solos. Both axemen pulled out all the tricks in the Hard Rock/Heavy Metal arsenal as they played a dizzying amount of notes in a short span of time, played only on the neck, and absolutely abused their whammy bars. Moving along, “Mistreated” was a grinding, bluesy romp exemplifying the best of the Blues-based Hard Rock and Heavy Metal that came out of England in the ’60s. Every time it seemed the song was about to take off, it was quickly brought back down to the dusty, bar room sound of Chicago and the Mississippi Delta. Continuing the Blues theme, “You Fool No One” was preceded by a classic Blues run on harmonica by Devin with Aldridge supporting him on hi-hat. The song clocked in at over twelve minutes as it also featured a powerful drum solo from Aldridge.
In 1987, Whitesnake was as big as any band in the world. With MTV at its height of popularity, and actually playing videos, the band released penultimate ’80s videos for the singles “Is This Love” and “Here I Go Again.” Featuring video vixen Tawney Kitaen, the videos were ubiquitous on MTV. With that said, walking out to the crowd again, Coverdale delivered a power ballad of the highest order with the aforementioned “Is This Love.” The song had all the elements. It featured a simple, airy lead on guitar, simple drums, and delicate piano, and a tasteful guitar solo. Sprinkling in another track off that 1987 record with “Bad Boys,” Whitesnake’s biggest hit of their career, “Here I Go Again,” closed the show. Featuring a calm intro on keys had Coverdale deferring to the crowd on alternate lines. Going beyond power ballad to anthem level Rock-n-Roll, the band brought the majority of the crowd back to either their teenage years or to a time when they were fondly looking back on their teenage years as the bulk of the crowd ranged in age from forty to baby boomers.
After a brief exit, the band came back out for a one song encore of the fantastic “Still of the Night.” Power chords and pounding cymbals got the song going. An a capella howl from Coverdale kicked the song into high gear. A heavy, yet harmonic riff then propelled the song along. A Hard Rock masterpiece, the song incorporated all the components of the classics. A middle section breakdown featuring funky guitars allowed the band to cool down before taking off again into the best of ’80s Hard Rock with ever more howling guitars and grandiose drumming. The song closed with Coverdale singing “Still of the night” in synch with the drums.
David Coverdale is easily the most recognizable name in Rock-n-Roll and is the face of Whitesnake. However, the supporting cast is comprised of world class musicians who are clearly enjoying themselves on stage as they play with both precision, reckless abandon, and are ecstatic to be part of the Whitesnake legacy. The Purple Album tour continues through the United States for a few more dates before heading to Asia in October and Europe in December. Anyone looking for a night of high level Hard Rock that will leave them feeling fulfilled and wanting to go home and blast their Classic Rock LP’s must get out there and see Whitesnake in concert.