OK, SO Whitesnake may not exactly be one of the “in” bands to say you like these days, but for a die-hard fan like me, that’s not a problem. In fact, while I am getting things off my chest, I can admit to seeing Kiss in concert, along with Aerosmith, Guns ‘N’ Roses, Bon Jovi and Dave Lee Roth … and those are the ones I am prepared to speak about! Yes, I was once a real rock chick, but during my “metal years”, I never had the opportunity to see Whitesnake live in concert, something I’d always wanted!
As soon as I heard they were coming to Lisbon on their European tour, out came my old albums (all on cassette, I might add), and I was badgering all my friends to come and see the concert with me. Under sufferance, my husband agreed to accompany me. We bought the tickets and I began counting down the days to the big event!
Lisbon’s Coliseu is a great venue; a decent size but still small enough to offer that intimate feeling that every fan wants when seeing a favourite band live. The concert was practically sold out, with around 5,000 fans arriving to see the return of one of the most legendary bands in rock.
I noticed lots of fans wearing T-shirts from previous Whitesnake tours, so it was clear that Whitesnake has quite a dedicated fan base here in Portugal. I didn’t have a Whitesnake T-shirt, but I wore the requisite black! I felt my age as there was no one I could see in the audience under 30. But then, I guess, that was to be expected because, after all, the band’s greatest success came in 1987, with the release of hits like Here I go Again and Is This Love?
Good things certainly come to those who wait, as I can honestly say that the Lisbon show was nothing short of dazzling. Whitesnake opened the show with the old Deep Purple gem, Burn, and from then on, the band’s own hits just kept on coming.
David Coverdale has surrounded himself with some of the finest rock and roll roadsters to be found. Tommy Aldrige (the only member to appear in any previous Whitesnake line-up) is one of the most insane drummers I’ve ever seen, and Doug Aldrich, who took care of most of the lead guitar and solos, played like a maniac, and his solo, half way through the show, was very hot.
But hey, wait a minute, let’s not forget Mr. Coverdale …. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, because back in the eighties, he was a bit of a pin up on the rock scene and had always been a very respected singer and great showman. But I can tell you that the years have been very good to him .… The guy still looks fantastic (if you like that type of thing)! His open shirt revealed a well toned, tanned chest and the muscles were still there, something he demonstrated more than once when throwing the mike stand around the stage.
Coverdale’s voice has lost none of its power and he still boasts an incredible vocal range. In Lisbon, he proved he is still one of the greatest showmen … and he’d certainly lost none of his predatory style on stage. He didn’t take himself too seriously though, which I was pleased about. There was none of the hair tossing or pouting associated with some of the eighties rock bands (I’m talking about Europe and Poison, and so on), and he was totally at ease, chatting to the audience at regular intervals, on occasions in Portuguese!
“Your saints really know how to party!” he told the audience after explaining that he’d really enjoyed the Lisbon street parties and parades for Saint Anthony.
Where we were standing, you could sometimes hardly hear David’s vocals due to the fans singing along at the tops of their voices. Yes, they knew all the words and when some of the bigger hits were sung, such as Here I Go Again and Give Me All Your Love Tonight, they went absolutely crazy. “Come on Lisbon, take the ‘bleeping’ roof off,” David shouted, urging everyone on.
We certainly got our money’s worth, with the group performing for two hours straight. Coverdale introduced arguably the band’s biggest hit, Is This Love, saying: “I think Lisbon is a place to get romantic. Shall we get romantic?” The vocals were immaculate and it was definitely one of the high points of the concert.
We were treated to two encores before the band called it a night. Still of the Night and Fool For Your Loving finished off what was a fantastic evening and a very enjoyable journey down memory lane. Even my husband had to admit that it was a good night, telling me sheepishly: “It was much better than I’d thought it would be”.
I’ve got one final thing to say: don’t think twice about seeing one of your favourite old bands when they tour again (that’s if they were any good in the first place) – just go for it! My night in Lisbon last week was one I will never forget …. Don’t stay away too long boys!