(review from Rock Surgery by Chris)


This gig came out of the blue. I was finally getting over the rush and buzz of the Gillan gig when I was presented with the opportunity to go and see Ol’ Cov and the boys…for nowt!! Gareth “Alf” Evans had won a pair of tickets courtesy of the Rockpile show, who remembers that classic? Again, it’s quite ironic that we got tickets through a competition via a rock show and now I do the very same thing, ok not as big a scale but hey, at least there’s rock on the radio in these parts again right?

Anyway, he won the tickets a couple of days before the actual gig so we had some arranging to do. How were we going to get there? Would anybody take us? It immediately looked like we wouldn’t be able to go then…then we heard of a trip going to the gig from the village. I honestly can’t remember how we got on the trip, which was organised by Cati and leaving from the KIng’s Head but we were in and weren’t backing out. Thinking about it, both my brother and Alf’s old man worked with Cati, so I assume we got on the bus thanks to one of them?
We met up with the rest of the gang on the eve of the gig, outside said mentioned pub. The good boys that we were, we didn’t venture in to the public house but merely stood outside (in the rain) having a ciggie like all good boys should. Then out they all came from the boozer and piled into the van but there was one slight problem? The transit mini bus was a twelve seater but there were fourteen of us. No problem, someone ran in the pub and borrowed a couple of bar stools and placed them in the aisle inbetween both rows of seats. Sorted, Alf and I now had seats all the way to the gig. Things you could get away with in the old days eh, imagine that nowadays? All I remember going up in the van was a vast amount of booze being consumed and Cati with his obligatory bottle of Jack Daniels. I think some kind soul even gave us both a can…each
On arrival at the gig I once again succumbed to the shirtleggers and bought myself another unofficial item of clothing. it was a nice looking shirt, Saints & Sinners cover on front and Ol’ Cov on the back along with all the tour dates and once again only three quid. We were separated from the rest of the gang as we had seated tickets upstairs along the side of the arena a la Birmingham NEC. The place was heaving and we had a superb view of the stage and the packed out floor area where they had covered the ice rink with some sort of artificial flooring. I always thought it would have been more fun to leave it with the ice under their feet…ha.
So there we were, two thirteen year old kids in the middle of all these hairy, scary looking men and a few women, when the bloke next to me asked if he could have a look at my programme? Yes, i’d pushed the boat out at this gig and got a shirt and a program. Sheepishly, I let him have a butchers hoping that i’d get it back and thankfully I did and that bloke and his mates sort of looked after us that night.
The lights went down and the place erupted and on came Samson. What a great live band and man mountain Nicky Moore commanded the stage, well he took half of it up being a rather large chap and his voice was phenomenal. They hammered out Dangerzone, Stealing Away, Red Skies off their new album “Before The Storm” and then revisited old Bruce Bruce (now Dickinson) era classics like Riding With The Angels and Earth Mother. Still one of the best support acts i’ve ever seen.

By now the anticipation had reached boiling point and then the lights dimmed once more and out strutted Whitesnake, Coverdale greeting us with his trademark “Ow Ow Ow Ow” and “Here’s a song for ya” and they tore into Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues immediately followed by the one two of Rough ‘n’ Ready and Ready An’ Willing… marvellous stuff. We then got two other newies, Here I Go Again (complete with hobo and not drifter) and Crying In The Rain and sandwiched in between was an extended Lovehunter. Then it was Jon Lord’s Hammond solo, and his organ rocked (‘scuse the pun) so far backwards and forwards we thought it was going to fall off its stand. This was followed by Cozy Powell’s drum solo and then they went straight into their cover of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s glorious Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City complete with crowd participation and Cov’s “sing it beautiful”. And that was it, it was all over, well so we thought until they came back out to the chants of “Whitesnake cha cha cha” “Whitesnake cha cha cha”. First encore was their top 20 hit Fool For Your Loving and the show closer was Wine, Women and Song and then…it was all over.
Two other notable things I remember from that gig were the pyrotechnics, so much flames on stage that night and the heat was immense. The other was no Bernie Marsden, Neil Murray or Ian Paice. They had left prior to recording “Saints & Sinners” and had been replaced by Mel Galley, Colin “Bomber” Hodgkinson and Cozy Powell respectively. I never did get to see the classic ‘Snake lineup but thankfully did see Coverdal before he became the yelper he is today.
I think we were the only two in the van who were sober on the way home, hell even John Ell i’m sure had had a few and he was driving!
Yet another downer to end a review, some bugger sat on my programme all the way home which let me with a rare bum creased covered one. Oh well, such is life but good times nonetheless.

SETLIST:

Walking in the Shadow of the Blues
Rough an’ Ready
Ready an’ Willing
Don’t Break My Heart Again
Here I Go Again
Lovehunter
Crying in the Rain
Keyboard Solo
Drum Solo
Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City
(Bobby “Blue” Bland cover)
Fool for Your Loving
Wine, Women an’ Song