Monday, 25 August 2014

5/12/2011 Whitesnake @ The Forum

SubjectWhitesnake @ The Forum
DateCreated12/21/2011 2:39:00 PM

I'd been looking forward to this gig for months, but oddly as it was one of the biggest gigs I've been to this year and one of the most expensive tickets it was the least enjoyable show I've been to in a while.

This was absolutely nothing to do with the band or their performance, it was all to do with the venue.
I've been to plenty of shows at The Forum over the years and really enjoyed most of them, but I'm starting to get tired of the place when it's full. I don't mind the place at all when it's not packed, but tonight like the last couple of times I've been to Hammersmith Odeon I feel we were treated like cattle - herded into too small a space and not allowed enough room to move around or provided with suitable refreshment.
This is one of the reasons I didn't go to see the mighty Motörhead this year - the first time I've missed the band for many many years.
I was less than enthusiastic about buying a Motörhead ticket after not enjoying the experience of seeing them at the legendary Hammersmith venue last year due to overcrowding and wasn't too dismayed when I found it had sold out and I'd missed my chance. I enjoyed seeing Whitesnake there earlier this year (apart from the crowds) but was pleased to find they would be playing the comparatively 'intimate' Kentish Town venue instead this time. In the event I found it nearly as unpleasant as Hammersmith - having trouble finding somewhere to get a good view without constantly being barged out of the way by rude fuckers pushing past. I want to watch the band and be able to enjoy the show without constantly being on my guard to fend off a constant stream of inconsiderate bastards shoving past - it's what I've paid a lot of money to see and I want to enjoy it. Unfortunately, tonight I don't.
I'm six foot tall, so it must be a lot worse for those shorter than me.
 I don't bother even trying to get a drink - I don't see the point in missing ten minutes or so of the band's set while struggling to the bar, then waiting ages to get served something that isn't even nice, and be charged well over £4 for the privilege. Not my idea of a good time.
 All this is a shame because Whitesnake were really good.

There were a few changes to the setlist since I last saw the band, but it's still a good mixture of old, new, and inbetween. I think the new album 'Forevermore' was featured more strongly this time round, and Mr Coverdale's voice was in better shape. The current version of Whitesnake that he's put together is very good - an excellent band of musicians (as always) who work well together and seem to be really enjoying themselves. They seem less 'hired hands' and more of a real band than the mid to late 1980's version of 'Whitesnake' - although there has always been an element of that as Whitesnake has always been a vehicle for David Coverdale, who has always been very much 'the boss' and remains so. That said, like Alice Cooper's band everyone is given a chance to shine and express their own personalities. I still think the drum solo went on a bit long though, and at least one more 'classic' song could have been fitted in with a shorter solo.

The band played for around an hour and a half, so we got our money's worth - but if only the individual musician's solo spots were shorter we could have heard some more of our favourite Whitesnake songs. In spite of this, most of the obvious classics got played. With such a rich back catalogue to draw on obviously some of anyone's favourites would have to be left out of the set, but I think generally people were sent home happy with the overall selection. I think this is the best version of Whitesnake for many years, taking a step back to the earlier more bluesey soulful lineup before they 'turned American'. This is still a more polished and slick version of the band than on the first few albums and current guitar mainman Doug Aldrich has a bigger ego and widdling tendancy than any of the band's pre-Sykes/Vandenberg/Vai axemen, but plays with more passion than the latter 3...

Unusually for such a big name band, the stage set and lighting were surprisingly simple and sparse. A fairly plain backdrop of the Whitesnake logo and fairly basic but effective lighting. No special effects, props, or special guests - and none were neeeded. The music did the talking and there were no distractions - unlike certain 'name' bands who need fancy effects, pyro, and big productions to distract from the simple fact that them haven't got enough strong songs or just aren't a good live band. Whitesnake don't need any of that as they have so many great songs to choose from, are fine musicians who play really well together, and have a very charismatic frontman with great stage presence who even at 60 still loves what he is doing. David Coverdale's larger than life personality fills the room - there aren't many proper 'rock stars' left, but we have certainly seen one tonight.

No comments:

Post a Comment