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WHITESNAKE Live At Donington 1990 Frontiers (2011)


The timing of this release is a bit of a strange one, given that Whitesnake are currently touring their brand new, and excellent, Forevermore release, and the more recent 'Snake vintage recorded the double live 'Live in the Shadow of the Blues' only a few years ago.

Not only that, but this release will appeal only to a certain group of Whitesnake fans as it showcases them at the peak of their embrace of the then dominant hair metal scene, when Davd Coverdale went hell bent for the American market and cracked it.

Having been weaned on the bluesy 'old' Whitesnake, I remember only reluctantly embracing the 1987 album, and this particular over flashy incarnation with Steve Vai on guitar left me cold. Indeed, while they were headlining Donington on the night in question, rather than see them I remember being sat at home hearing the gig unfold on a live BBC broadcast.

So I approached this album, which is the complete concert from that night, with a large chunk of scepticism- but was surprised how much I enjoyed it. The production is sharp and successfully conveys the crowd's excitement on the night, while the music is excellent with Steve Vai and Adrian Vandenberg shredding all over the place. And if Mr C is shouting a tad too much, he was certainly more in control of his pipes than when I saw him recently really struggle at Hammersmith.

It was a set list that largely ignored the early years, but the swaggering material from Slide It In and 1987 that has formed the bedrock of their set ever since predominates. In addition, it is a rare opportunity to hear the lies of Cheap an Nasty, Kittens Got Claws and the title track from the Slip of the Tongue album they were touring at the time. It does however have the endless solos that bedevil their shows to this day: both guitarists get two solo pieces each, and Tommy Aldridge's drum solo takes Cryin in the Rain to a near 15 minutes, but then that is what the skip facility is for.

Oh, and the trademark Coverdale panache and wit is much in evidence, notably his liberal use of the f word and encouraging the crowd to do likewise to wind up the BBC.

As 'Forevermore' encourages fresh interest in the Whitesnake legacy, this is an interesting period piece of a significant time in their history.


Review by Andy Nathan

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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