Whitesnake Live in '84 Back To The Bone
Now this is something special that I have waited 30 years for. My first trip to the Birmingham NEC on the 4th of March 1984 was to see this incarnation of this supergroup and then again at Hammersmith on the 1st of April.
After the previous years Donington performance ( I wish they would rerelease that one as my video has worn out !) big changes were happening in the Whitesnake camp.
With the release of Slide It In David Coverdale was looking to change the sound of the band from its bluesy past to a more modern streamlined rock sound.
In came guitarist extraordinaire John Sykes who's flashy shredding style on guitar and also the way he looked was a new style for the band and who then collaborated on the ultra successful " 1987 " cd but that is yet another story.
Alongside Neil Murray on bass and the late great Cozy Powell on drums this cd has been culled from audio and video recordings and unheard demo's from the private collection of Whitesnake leader and singer David Coverdale.
Whitesnake (1984) (L-R): Neil Murray (bass), John Sykes (guitar), Cozy Powell (drums)
Front: David Coverdale (vocals)
Coverdale and co-producer Michael McIntyre launched a worldwide search for the best quality video footage and audio tracks from the 1984 tour. Among the gems found was a set from: ‘Super-Rock’, recorded at the first Japanese rock festival at Seibu Stadium in Tokyo and an invaluable video of Jon Lord’s final appearance with Whitesnake recorded live in Sweden. “All of the features on this package have been treated lovingly and respectfully, with no expense spared, utilizing technology to improve sound and picture quality,” says Coverdale, who personally oversaw all elements of this release.
Starting with his trademark " Are You Ready ?" David Coverdale is on top form from the start. His rich soulful voice was at it's peak and sadly having not seen the video footage but you can imagine he is twirling his mikestand like only he can!!
" Gambler " from " Slide It In " is a great opener and the sound mix is very good for a 30 year old recording with the rhythm section of Powell and Murray especially tight.
" Here's a song for ya" is Coverdale's opening gambit to " Guilty Of Love " that keeps the quality level high with a crowd participation sing along too before the pace slows down with the classic " Love Ain't No Stranger ".
Superb vocal along with the keyboard intro and Sykes solo shows off his shredding style to the max.
How times have changed with the next song introduced as the song you may have heard on the radio and MTV "Slow And Easy " with its slow burning blues stomp and Coverdale's exquisite vocal is a highlight and Sykes again excels with plenty of guitar licks added.
"Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues " takes us back to " Lovehunter " cd and again shows the quality musicianship that the band had and on this track you can see the slight change in style as Sykes adds his own stamp to a song that was Marsden / Moody staple. Another Powell drumming masterpiece.
The follow up " Ready And Willing " is a fan favourite and this leads into my highlight of the cd and something I do remember from all those years ago.
John Sykes guitar intro is a prelude to the newer " 1987 " version of " Crying In The Rain " that they then rerecorded for that cd.
It has an extended guitar solo that is simply fantastic with the rhythm section again excelling with Powell especially being on top form with his powerhouse style.
With an acapella version of " Soldier Of Fortune " added into the ending outro with Coverdale just superb.
8 minutes of perfection and shows what Sykes brought to the band and the only down part is that we only got one cd from the Coverdale/ Sykes partnership.
The next 3 songs from the Super Rock festival in Tokyo are reruns from earlier in the set and a slight dip in the audio quality.
Lastly the 4 song medley of Jon Lord's final performance with Whitesnake finishes the cd in style with some of Lord's Hammond work a joy to hear and played like only he could .
Any Whitesnake fan will need this in collection and we can only hope that this is the first in a series of different era live releases from one of the world's top supergroups.
Can I suggest the Donington 1983 headline set and a " 1987 " show with the Aldridge , Campbell, Sarzo and Vandenburg axxis ?
Please David .