Whitesnake – Live at the Newport Centre – 7 December 2011

Our Whitesnake photo gallery covering their show in Newport on 7 December accompanied by the thoughts of reviewer Steve Morgan, has generated a full spectrum of comment on the night, the band, and on “DC” himself.

“And so we come to the final part of a trilogy of Deep Purple family gigs taking place this autumn/winter in the UK with the fourth appearance at the Newport Centre of David Coverdale and his ever changing support cast of Whitesnake (I make it version 16 – keep up at the back). In fact, this was the penultimate show of the 90 date Forevermore 2011 World Tour.

A sizeable crowd (including many familiar faces) turned up on a cold South Wales night to pay homage to one of the great frontmen of rock over the last 38 years, right from those early days of being plucked from obscurity to front Purple mark 3 which was, back in 1973, the biggest selling (and loudest) band in the world.

Once the excellent Red, White and Blues has fulfilled the support slot, it was time to get down and sing along to some of the signature tunes of 1980s rock: Bad Boys, Give Me All Your Love (youtube), Love Ain’t No Stranger, The Deeper The Love (youtube), Is This Love?, Fool For Your Loving (youtube), Here I Go Again, Still Of The Night and a collection of old Purple stuff in Burn/Stormbringer and Soldier Of Fortune.

Whitesnake - Newport 2011

Whitesnake - Newport, Wales, 7 December 2011

So what was it like?
First, the positives. Whitesnake have an impressive back catalogue with many tunes which will last for a very long time and, in David Coverdale, there is the very model of a heavy rock frontman: even at 60, in fine shape, eloquent and with hair the envy of men half his age.
His interaction with the crowd is well known, and this made for a real Christmas party atmosphere. His supporting musicians are well crafted, and shine most on the newer material like the new album’s title track “Forevermore” and, from the last album, “Can You Hear The Wind Blow?”

So it cannot be said that it was not an enjoyable evening.

But…
…even as an ardent Whitesnake fan…

…I have to point out that this incarnation of live Whitesnake is a mere shadow of days gone by.

It just has to be said that DC’s voice is a long way from the force it was and, to be brutally honest, varies between a husky growl and screams, with little in between on the ‘heavy metal’ numbers. The backing group help out enormously on vocals with as many as four of them singing out at some stages. Coverdale ducks out of many sections, leading crowd sing alongs of both a collective and, increasingly, individual nature by passing the mike to audience members.

My biggest criticism has to be reserved for what I consider to be the amount of time wasted. After an impressive start to the show for around half an hour, the momentum of the gig was completely ruined by an interminable instrumental section: around 10 minutes of twin guitar solos, followed by a mindnumbing drum solo (I lost count after 11 minutes – amazingly some people were still filming it) and an excruciating band introduction section complete with cringeworthy cover versions of Cream , Aerosmith etc.

Not complete with that we had the appearance of a gift bearing Father Christmas during the classic Fool For Your Loving which, coupled with Coverdale’s increasingly scripted innuendos and gestures (he’s more like Frankie Howerd every tour), did make me wonder if the long awaited sequel to Spinal Tap was being filmed.

Whitesnake - Newport, Wales, 7 December 2011

Whitesnake - Newport, Wales, 7 December 2011

So for all the goodies that a Whitesnake show can bring, this one brought it’s fair share of car crash viewing. Far better for those instrumental sections to be removed (it’s £40 a ticket y’know), get the bar stools out, and sing some blues / acapello. 1987 it isn’t. And I speak for many I think when I say that I want to see a performance not a pantomime.

Will it happen? Dunno, but DC could take a leaf out his old bandmate Glenn Hughes’s book and go back to basics, drop the heavy metal frontman image and act like the seasoned and talented pro he is.

If he doesn’t, he runs the risk of ridicule and unravelling a great reputation.

Will I go again? Dunno, depends on ticket price, locality and whether the show changes.

We can all hear the sound of the windmill going round. Perhaps it’s time the tune was changed before it stops turning altogether.

Ian Janes


Whitesnake - Newport, Wales, 7 December 2011

Whitesnake - Newport, Wales, 7 December 2011

“Just saw the pictures of Whitesnake live in Newport 2011 on the site. Great stuff, but what a one sided review you posted along with them. The guy states he hasn’t seen the band for 25 years, and didn’t know the first 6 songs, which kind of indicates that hemay not be familiar with any of the albums for the last 25 years.

For the record the concert was a great performance, yes David Coverdale is ageing a bit and a 60 year old voice needs a bit of chorus help, but after allowing for that, I and all around had a bloody good time. In a festive night with the amps and drums decked out with fairy lights, and a guest appearance by Santa chucking presents out to the crowd, the band ripped through a great selection of old and new songs including a Deep Purple Medley of Stormbringer / Burn, and later Soldier of Fortune.

Also present were the old Whitesnake fan fave’s of Still of the Night, Here I go again, Fool for your loving, to name a few. If you hanker for a great classic rock act with a full repertoire of songs to choose from intermixed with guitar duels and ( God Forbid ) 5 min long drum solo’s from the 70’s this was your night !! I thought so, as did all the fans around me.”

George Thomas

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6 Responses to “Whitesnake – Live at the Newport Centre – 7 December 2011”

  1. Bill Pierce Says:

    David Coverdale is still a force to be reckoned with! I’d put him up against big Ian Gillan anytime, and of course you know DC’s voice is superior. Now if this was 1972, I’d say Gillan would kill him, but Ian’s voice has weakened as well. I saw Whitesnake at the M3 festival in Baltimore MD and they were in very fine form. You just can’t deny the talent of his guitarist Aldrich & Beach! A Great time was had by all that went with me! Whitesnake still Rocks.

  2. Anthony Says:

    I saw David and Whitesnake (as they were billed) on their 1997 “farewell” tour at that very venue! It was very sad, especially as he was in good voice, and his band (with Steve Farris, Tony Franklin et al) was great. Despite reservations, am glad he regrouped Whitesnake.

  3. IAN DOUGLAS Says:

    I fully support David in his efforts to at least release (and perform) some new/er material as well as the enormous back catalogue – there is always something memorable about Whitesnake! Even the cd Piano Tribute is worth getting the songs are so catchy! He’ll always get my vote but noted re the solo interruptions and so on of course…

  4. Erich Tavares Says:

    I saw then this year in a double bill with Judas Priest and it was very boring – long guitar/drum solos from average members. I WANT TO HEAR SONGS, entire songs, not “instrumental” moments. Play the songs people wants to hear and surprise us with lost gems, but quit this so-called mandatory instrumental section in a gig. it was fun in the 70s, but it’s boring in the 10s.

  5. Steve Moore Says:

    I agree 100% with the review of Newport by George Thomas. I’ve been going since 1978 seeing every incarnation and this band is as good as any Coverdale has put together, how can anyone doubt the ability of Doug, Reb and Brian? Everyone around me seemed to agree.

  6. Mike Galway Says:

    a “medley” of Stormbringer/Burn…..shudder!

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