Concert Review: Whitesnake at the Webster Theater in Hartford, CT
It’s been a long time since I have seen a show at the Webster Theater in Hartford, CT and now I remember why. Let me set the scene. The venue has zero ventilation resulting in sticky humidity and foul stenches amongst the nearly 1200 music fans at the gig, some partaking in perhaps more than their fair share of adult beverages, all brought together to see the mighty Whitesnake on their Forevermore summer tour. For the record, I’d do it all again in the name of classic rock n roll, even as gross as it was at times.
I wanted to make sure I was able to see the band early on in this tour because bands have a habit of playing songs from their new albums and then inexplicably dropping them from the set. I’m glad I did; I think Forevermore is Whitesnake’s best album since Slip of The Tongue. I was treated to 90 minutes of thrills, chills and at times massive audience sing–a-longs. It made for a fun evening filled with some fantastic rock arena moments crammed into a small theater.
The sounds of The Who’s “My Generation” rammed through the theater shortly before and as the band members hit the stage. I was a bit surprised they opened with “Best Years” from the Good To Be Bad album but it did set the tone for what would be a terrific set of mixing the old tunes with the new ones without having the crowd lose it’s momentum as the night wore on. But then came three classic ‘Snake tunes back to back to back. Starting with “Gimme All Your Love Tonight” Coverdale had the crowd clapping and guitar players Reb Beach and Doug Aldrich had the floor hopping. “Love Ain’t No Stranger” always pleases the older fanbase that seem to sing out this one with as much feeling and emotion as David himself. “Is This Love” was up next and was one of my personal favorites of the night as the crowd belted out the chorus as loud as any other song all night long. I think this is also a favorite with the ladies as well because I had a Tawny Kitaen wanna be to my left dancing – complete with leg splits on the Webster floor..only in Connecticut.
Up next is a mix of the last two albums highlighed with the title track “Forevermore” which not only showcased Doug on acoustic guitar for the first half of the song but some very complex percussion parts from drummer Brian Tichy and solid bass work from Michael Devin. This was the most demanding song of the band all night and they delivered 100% on the money. Next up was Doug and Reb dueling it out on stage six string vs. six string. I’m not generally a fan of guitar solos (never have been) but this was fun. ‘My Evil Ways” went right into a Tichy drum solo which ended with no sticks and just Tichy playing the kit with his bare hands; primitive but entertaining at the same time.
The final four songs of the night were all older tracks including “Ain’t No Love In The Heart of the City” which I have not seen live before too many times, if ever. “Still of the Night” is the predictable set closer and Coverdale did his best to hit every note he could even at that stage of the set. Overall I was pleased with the amount of newer material even at the expense of some ‘Snake classics like ‘Slide It In” “Slow and Easy” and almost nothing off of Slip of the Tongue.
Coverdale has the unique ability of getting the most out of his players and this lineup is no exception. I think it would be unfair to compare Beach/Aldrich to Vai/Vandenberg or Devin/Tichy to Sarzo/Aldridge but if you did you could make a good argument for either era. I think if you asked the current lineup (and I did in the case of Devin and Tichy after the show) it would pay homage and respect to the past era lineups without attempting to copy their style. Who knows what the future will bring but you can bet Coverdale ,who has always surrounded himself with top talent, will make sure ‘Snake will remain what is has always been, just a great rock band. If you have a chance to get bitten by this snake sometime this year it’s worth the teeth marks it will leave behind.
Gimme All Your Love Tonight
Love Ain’t No Stranger
Is This Love
Steal Your Heart Away
Lay Down Your Love
Love Will Set You Free
My Evil Ways (with drum solo)
Fare Thee Well
One Of These Days
Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City
Fool For Your Loving
Here I Go Again
Still Of The Night