Whitesnake: 1987 And All That

David Coverdale

If you’re male, a long-time music fan and somewhere between your mid-30s and early 40s you’ll probably have a large and varied record collection.  But I can almost guarantee that somewhere in that collection, possibly hidden towards the back, is a copy of ‘1987’ by Whitesnake.  

I can remember back to my first year at university in 1990 and having the six guys in the flat below ours (the much missed ‘Breville House’ – so called because they had a Breville sandwich toaster hanging out of their letter box…) each playing it in perfect synchronicity; 1980’s hair metal in heptaphonic sound, if you will.   

Truly, despite it’s un-coolness (even at the time), the sound of a generation… 

And that’s without mentioning the ‘1987’-era video clips, which were indelibly imprinted in the minds of every teenage boy at the time…

The 2008 version of Whitesnake bares little resemblance to the 1987 version; singer David Coverdale plus a group of hired guns, although there hasn’t been what you might call a stable line-up through their whole history, with Coverdale being the only ever-present. 

At 57, Coverdale, is trim and looking in really good shape (and really tall), although looks his age in his face. One thing that hasn’t diminished in the adjourning years is his voice; whilst other male singers of his age seem to lose lost power and range from their vocal repertoire, he was in really, really good voice.  One thing I never realised about him is how frightfully well spoken he is; he sounded something like Terry Thomas…  Although having found a recent interview with him here, he sounds a lot more Yorkshire, so maybe he was just putting on the uber-posh English accent.

As seems to be a regular event in recent times, the attendance wasn’t that good; the balcony section was closed off and even the downstairs was nowhere near capacity. The whole audience probably could have squeezed into The Zoo. The cost of the tickets was high, something like $107, and there have been a lot of expensive festivals and major concerts over the summer months. Obviously gig-going punters can only afford the time and the money for so much, and you’re going to have to be a pretty die-hard fan to pay $107 to see Whitesnake, as opposed to a more casual fan who might pay $50 or $60 to see them.

It’s a shame as it was a really enjoyable show; as with the recent Toto show it’s good to see a band with a really good collection of songs, really enjoying themselves, not taking themselves too seriously and being really well appreciated from a small but loyal audience. As you would expect, the set-list was heavy on the ‘1987’ songs with a few of the earlier, classic singles, when the band were a lot more of the 1970s blues/rock band they started out as, as opposed to the more mid/late-1980s sounding rock band they became, and a couple of songs from the soon-to-be-released new album, ’Good to Be Bad’. The new stuff was nothing special and unlikely to take them back to those heady days of the late 1980s. However, their current tour takes them back to the UK for a double-header arena tour with Def Leppard so I might yet be proved wrong…

More photos, as ever, on Flickr.

David Coverdale

David Coverdale

Doug Aldrich

David Coverdale

David Coverdale

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