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Whitesnake/ Whitford / St. Holmes

Date: 6/21/16
Venue: Wellmont Theater, Montclair, NJ
Report By: Rich Catino


I didn’t catch the Whitford/St. Holmes set unfortunately because it took the venue forever to print out my photo release form to sign.

Whitesnake are one of the favorite bands, always enjoy seeing them and Coverdale picks the cream of the crop for guitar players. What makes Whitesnake one of the legends is that they are not just about those hits from the 80s, but have a body of music before those albums, and after in the new millennium with “Good to Be Bad” (2008) and “Forevermore” (2011). Heck, there is even a photo of Dave Murray (Iron Maiden) wearing a Whitesnake shirt “Killers”/”Number of the Beast” era. Also, in 2015, David Coverdale and his band of Whitesnakes re-recorded an album of Deep Purple classics and toured to celebrate David’s history with that band. Now, Whitesnake are giving the fans a setlist chock full of all the songs that made them such a success in the 80s. So there is much value in the Whitesnake history to be recognized.

In 2016, Whitesnake is of course Coverdale on vocals, Tommy Aldridge back on drums, still Reb Beach on guitar, joined by second axeman Joel Hoekstra (ex Trans Siberian Orchestra/Night Ranger), with Michael Devin on bass (2010–), and newest addition Michele Luppi on keyboards. Mr. Coverdale is 64, guys, and still sounds great. Take this into consideration when forming an opinion. Obviously at this age David doesn’t have the same clarity to his voice. It has aged with more texture, but for the ballads (‘Sailing Ships’, ‘Deeper The Love’), less aggressive parts to the songs his delivery is still clean and strong. You can hear Dave’s years when its time to hit the rougher stuff like ‘Crying In The Rain’, ‘Judgment Day’, or higher parts to a song. There is more grit in his tone, and that is understandable. Regardless, like I recently heard with Sebastian Bach, you can see Coverdale still puts in 100% as he belts out those screams in ‘Still Of The Night’. Impressive.

On to the band…all these classic are performed as they were recorded, and it’s a tight heavy rhythm section. Pretty metal actually, but most melodic hard rock, hair metal bands are anyway live. The guitar team of Beach/Hoekstra is as strong as previous pairings of Beach/Aldrich, Cambell/Vandenberg, Vandenberg/Vai. No, this doesn’t have that early 80s rock stylings of Marsden/Moody, or John Sykes unique technique/tone. Beach is to Vai as Hoekstra is to Aldrich…Reb plays the flashier parts (see ‘Judgment Day’, ‘Fool For Your Loving’), and Joel plays the acoustic for ‘Sailing Ships’ and slide in ‘Slow & Easy’. And their individual styles are showcased in their respective solos. My only complaint, and I know these guys didn’t play on the original recordings, they do take liberties and embellish with a couple of the solos. Still, the core melody and phrasing they do retain.

The only one other complaint…calling this the “Greatest Hits” tour… isn’t that the case always anyway? Especially for America. The only difference is the three hit singles – ‘Slow n Easy’, ‘Love Ain’t Stranger’, and title track from “Slide It In” are all in the set (but one or two of the three are always in anyway), plus ‘Deeper The Love’ and a dusted off ‘Sailing Ships’ both from “Slip Of The Tongue”. America always gets an Americanized set with, aside from a couple new songs from the latest album, it’s the same old from the three albums “Slide It In”, “1987”, and “Slip Of The Tongue”. So really what Coverdale should do after this tour, and before retirement (which he has talked about in the recent year or two), for the long time die-hard fans, is go on a “Everything But The Hits” tour, especially for America. Play all those great early 80s/late 70s Whitesnake songs they NEVER play from the first album “Trouble” (1978) – “Saints & Sinners” (1982).

Whitesnake setlist:
Bad Boys
Slide It In
Love Ain't No Stranger
The Deeper the Love
Fool for Your Lovingv Sailing Ships
Judgement Day
Guitar Solo
Slow an' Easy
Bass Solo
Crying in the Rain
Drum Solo
Is This Love
Give Me All Your Love
Here I Go Again
Still of the Night


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