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WHITESNAKE/ The Answer
Manchester Apollo, 27 May 2006
A packed Apollo gave Irish four-piece The Answer a welcome reception, as they debuted tracks from their forthcoming album. Their brand of sub-Zep blues rock is competent enough if not exactly earth-shatteringly original.
'Where have all the breasts come from?' asked David Coverdale looking across the front rows as he got into his stride at the opening gig of this short UK tour. And he wasn't talking about the security guards either. David has lost none of his charm and feminine appeal but - judging by this gig - elicits cartons of tea bags from the fans rather than flowers or female undergarments.
In what is essentially a greatest hits outing on the back of an excellent live DVD and the release of several early album remasters, Coverdale and band delivered to an adoring and partisan Manchester crowd. The hardcore will have no doubt donned their Whitesnake gladrags on many an outing since the late seventies.
If Dave got slightly ahead of himself with the introduction of the classic 'Is This Love' it didn't really matter: he had the audience lapping it up from the opening refrains of a frenetic 'Burn' and 'Stormbringer'.
That was it as far as references to his Purple past go, the core material in this set harked back to the pre-1987 era Whitesnake with such gems as 'Walking In The Shadow of the Blues','Lovehunter', 'Ready an' Willing', 'Crying In The Rain' and 'Take Me With You' which was the first encore. Sadly, no 'Fool For Your Loving' or 'Don't Break My Heart Again' but we did get the show-stopping finale 'Here I Go Again'.
Coverdale always surrounds himself with top class musicians and if the present incarnation - with former Winger slinger Reb Beach and Doug Aldrich on guitars - is not quite the classic Vandenberg/John Sykes line-up of the late eighties, they interpreted a classic catalogue with finesse. It seems that own-hair-and-lots-of-it is just as much a qualifier for Whitesnake membership as musical prowess. This was the first UK outing for new boy on bass Uriah Duffy.
Doug Aldrich (who bears a passing resemblance to the late great Mick Ronson in both looks and style) showcased 'Blues for Mylene' with perhaps too much twiddly-diddly for its own good and not enough tune. Whether I was spoilt by the previous night's trip to the David Gilmour gig, but the sound quality, especially of Coverdale's vocals, also needed sorting. It seemed mixed for the band and not the frontman whose shrieks and hollers were clear enough but not the subtleties of tone and phrasing.
With the epic 'Still Of the Night' still ringing in the ears, Saltburn's Son left for Birmingham with several cartons of Yorkshire Tea donated by the audience. A strong and invigorating brew, just like the classic rock that had entertained for the past ninety minutes.
Burn/Stormbringer - Slide It In - Love Ain't No Stranger - Walking In The Shadow of the Blues/Love Hunter medley - Is This Love - Ready and Willing - Blues for Mylene - Snake Dance - Crying In The Rain - Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City - Give Me All Your Love Tonight - Here I Go Again
Encores: Take Me With You - Still Of The Night - Soldier of Fortune
Review by David Randall
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