If ever there was a band that rarely strays from the theme of its songs, Whitesnake might be near the top of the list. For nearly four decades, original vocalist David Coverdale has crooned one tune after another about sex, love and . . . well, that pretty much covers it.
No political agendas. No earth-shattering religious messages. No pleas to save the environment. Just good old-fashioned Rock N’ Roll that speaks to various forms of those two main topics — or shall we call them 1A and 1B — while doing so in an entertaining way.
The latest example for the Alamo City came last Wednesday as Whitesnake brought its “Flesh & Blood” tour in support of the forthcoming May 10 album to the Aztec Theatre. While the musicians backing up Coverdale have changed over the years, the current lineup was also on stage during the band’s two previous visits to the Majestic Theatre in 2016 (coverage here) and supporting Coverdale’s remake of classics from his Deep Purple era in 2015 (coverage here).
Veteran guitarists Reb Beach (Winger, Dokken) and Joel Hoekstra (Night Ranger) again joined all-world drummer Tommy Aldridge, bassist Michael Devin and keyboardist Michele “The Italian Stallion” Luppi in playing approximately 90 minutes of classics and new material after The Black Moods trio warmed things up with bluesy rockin’ music and bell-bottoms easily influenced by Led Zeppelin (see 46-photo slideshow including setlists below).
Aldridge, the longest-tenured Snake save for Coverdale after joining the band on the 1987 smash self-titled album, continues to amaze with his intense drum solo highlighted by fists of fury that have been his staple dating to his days with Ozzy Osbourne and the late Randy Rhoads. Meanwhile, Coverdale’s voice continues to hold up while he clearly does less talking to the crowd to save it for the songs, except for introducing his bandmates during new track “Get Up” and classic ballad “Is This Love” on the back end of Aldridge’s solo (ATM footage of all below).
Even more surprising than Whitesnake unveiling a whopping five songs from an album that was still more than three weeks away from being released — “Get Up,” “Hey You (You Make Me Rock),” “Gonna Be Alright” and new singles “Trouble Is Your Middle Name” and “Shut Up and Kiss Me” (ATM Facebook Live footage here) — was Coverdale’s complete omission of fan favorite and highly successful 1989 album Slip of the Tongue. While the title track’s duration of high-octane vocals might put a little too much strain on Coverdale’s throat these days, “Judgment Day” and “The Deeper The Love” snuck into the set on recent visits. This time, however, the record was completely and inexplicably ignored with only Flesh & Blood, the self-titled effort and 1984’s Slide It In being represented among Whitesnake’s 13-album arsenal.
Nevertheless, Whitesnake has always been about putting fun into the sex and Rock N’ Roll. From the strains of “Here I Go Again” to “Love Ain’t No Stranger” and “Slow N’ Easy” that left out the sultry introductory portion, the lit-up smiles and dance moves of those especially attractive in the crowd again indicated Coverdale’s powerful hold among the female species.
Consider it straightforward mission accomplished again. In the stylings of the Snake. And in the still of the night.