DEF LEPPARD, WHITESNAKE, Thunder
Liverpool Echo Arena 15 July 2008
The final three-date leg of the Whitesnake/Def Leppard UK tour saw Thunder
opening instead of Black Stone Cherry, and excellent they were too.
Danny Bowes works the crowd well as the band rejuvenate several classics, the
best of which was 'Love Walked In'. The inclusion of 'Gimme Some Lovin' was a
surprise, with Ben Matthews on keyboards. Thunder had the best sound mix of the
Whitesnake are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year and 'Good to
Be Bad' marks a return to form. Perhaps not quite '1987' but certainly a worthy
Starting with 'Best Years', and with 'Lay Down Your Love' and
'Can You Hear the Wind Blow', the new tracks do sit well against the band
classics and Reb Beach and Doug Aldridge (who co-wrote the new album with
Coverdale) ooze guitar class. Credit too to keyboards player Timothy Aldridge
who also provides vocal harmonies.
Coverdale of course commands his audience and his vocals were in better shape
than the last time I saw the band when it seemed the crowd sang more than he
did. And he still gets thrown Yorkshire Tea.
Whitesnake's set was well paced, cranking up finally with 'Ain't No Love In the
Heart of the City', 'Gimme All Your Love Tonight' and 'Here I Go Again' before a
mighty version of 'Still Of The Night' ended their set.
There is a frightening realisation during this gig: what happens when these
bands put away their bare torsos and stop touring? Arguably, all are approaching
their twilight years with the lead principals touching (or having touched) the
Looking around the 8000 + crowd in Liverpool's impressive new arena, there was a
very healthy mix of young and old - there is obviously a healthy demand for this
sort of pageant. It would be fair to say a whole generation will grow up on the
back of Dad or Mum's record collection and they too want to revel in some of
rock's greater excesses of the past thirty years.
This bill was a fair summation of eighties melodic rock, but born of an age when
there was record label budget and prime time TV exposure via MTV. The question
remains: in the internet age who will replace our eighties heroes?
Def Leppard came on stage to a back projected showreel of their former glories
from 1979 onwards and proceeded to crank up the proceedings with 'Animal', 'Make
Love Like A Man' and new tracks 'C'Mon C'Mon' and 'Nine Lives' from the well
received Sparkle Lounge album.
There was very little let up in Leppard's patented brand of arena rock and -
save for an acoustic guitar interlude led by Joe Elliot himself - there was
little in the mid-tempo department. (No 'Love Bites' or 'White Lightning' for
example). To the uninitiated, a couple of the songs sounded very similar.
But those gripes aside, there was no denying their stage
presence and for a while we could revel in a decade that spawned such gems as
'Pyromania' and 'Hysteria', picture discs, CD single bonuses, and expansive
The Lep's parting shot 'Let's Get Rocked' said it all really. Make the most of
it while you can.
Review by David Randall
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