Out now on Frontiers

As someone who witnessed the Slip Of The Tongue tour, I have to say I raised an eyebrow when confronted with the prospect of a live album from this tour. As I remember the gig, Coverdale’s voice was shot, and there was remarkably little chemistry to the band.

Did I catch them on an off-night? This live album, taken from the band’s gig at the 1990 Monsters Of Rock, might tell… (the day where Thunder and Aerosmith blew them away -Ed)

The setlist is evidently firmly based on the ‘Slip Of The Tongue’ album. And from the off, it’s obvious Coverdale is straining. He’s singing way above his natural register, as he has been doing since 1987, and continues to do to this day. I guess having one of the all time classic soulful voices doesn’t cut it for Dave…

As long as he sticks to his natural voice (“Judgement Day” or “Is This Love” for instance), the magic is there. But then he insists on going Robert Plant on us and it all falls apart in a rather painful way. When he does get it together, like in “Slow And Easy”, it’s brilliant.

The band delivers a solid performance, if you can stomach Vai’s idiosyncrasies in the older tunes. Vandenberg is a better fit musically, and more than holds his own. Even if his solo spot starts off as a pastiche of Michael Schenker’s “Courvoisier Concerto”. The inclusion of some of Vai’s solo material makes it all the more obvious he was just using Whitesnake as a way to help further his solo career.

This recording sounds untampered. A bit messy even. It does add to the live mood. If they’d done overdubs, some of Coverdale’s more painful moments would have been cleaned up.

So, is this a bad album? Not at all. It captures Whitesnake at their commercial, if not musical, peak. I’d buy Live… In The Heart Of The City or Live… In The Still Of The Night before this one though.

If they’re going to be releasing old live material, how about the live video from Whitesnake’s first Donington gig, the rather good “Commandos”? That one’s long overdue for a DVD release.

Rating – 80%
Review by the aimed and firing like a gatlin gun Sancho.

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