We hardly go to a concert or gig during weekdays anymore, but this time we gladly make an acception. A couple of days after the announcement that WHITESNAKE would play Holland again, Rita ordered our tickets online, just to be sure we wouldn’t miss Mr. Coverdale and co. Also we were hoping, that Adrian Vandenberg would show up again, like in previous Dutch shows. In the meantime Brian Tichy left the drum stool and has been replaced by the master himself, Mr. Tommy Aldridge. After switching my work schedule from the late shift into an early one, we were ready to hit the road, yeah!
013 is a big venue in Tilburg and the parking lot is right next to the concert hall. A day before the gig we found out, that WALKING PAPERS would be the support act for tonight. The only thing I knew was that Duff McKagan (ex-GUNS ‘N’ ROSES) was playing the bass for this band. When we parked our car, it was obvious that there was already a large queue in front of 013 and it was only one and a half hours before the doors would open. So we gathered with the rest of the people in front of 013 on the warmest day of the year so far. A little bit past 7 o’clock the doors opened and it’s time to get the party started. There’s a little disappointment however. As it’s still quite early in the tour and the coolest t-shirts are only available in the sizes small, medium and extra-large. So we have to go for our third choice. The fact, that the band has already signed the tour books upfront makes things a lot easier. In the early days, you had to wait for hours and hours to get an autograph of your favorite band, but now they sell them with all the autographs of the band members.
The support act would play at eight and ten minutes before show time we see band members and roadies set up their gear and instruments. After a brief sound check, they clear the stage for a short moment and when the lights go out, Duff and his WALKING PAPERS start their show. In the thirty minutes that they are on stage my conclusion is, that their high octane fueled rock and roll gets a lot of good response from the fans. The band works very hard and they go for it for the full hundred percent. The last song is stretched out just a little bit longer to fill up the time they ought to play. I wouldn’t buy their album right away, but I can imagine that some people will, because they sure rock and I’ve heard worse support acts than this. What was set up half an hour ago is put behind the curtains in no time and after a short break, the tape of FRANK SINATRA, that is playing all night abruptly stops and through the speakers we now hear “My Generation” by THE WHO. This is the call for the fans that WHITESNAKE is on its way. On the side of the stage we already notice the curly hair of Tommy Aldridge. The most important question tonight is, if David’s voice will be in good shape. A question, we weren’t too sure about these past few years. We are very hopeful that everything will be fine, after seeing the band in Kerkrade with AXEL RUDI PELL and in Enschede last year with THE ANSWER as support act. We settle ourselves on the right side of the stage. The place, where Doug Aldrich will be found most of the time. I have to play a double role tonight, because I‘m not only the reporter, but I also have to take pictures. A multi-tasking husband, so what more do you need?! WHITESNAKE starts off with “Give Me All Your Love”, which is a good choice in my opinion. It’s a great rocker and the band can show their skills right away. The opener is followed by the old classic “Ready And Willing” to please the old fans as well as the more recent fans. After that it’s time to welcome everybody in the well-known warm and heartfelt way, that David does it. He is a real gentleman and he makes you feel at home and very comfortable from the very first moment on. “Can You hear The Wind Blow” is on next and when “Don’t Break My Heart Again” continues, it’s time for the Whitesnake choir in the audience to lend a bit of vocal assistance. This is a good way to save the strength of your voice. “Is This Love” will certainly leave the ladies in the first row in ecstasy. The next track is an oldie, which is called “Gambler” and it’s dedicated to the late Jon Lord, Mel Galley and Cozy Powell. What a great way to pay tribute to your old former band members! “Love Will Set You Free” is on next and I must admit that David is giving his very best tonight. This is to great joy of all of his male and female fans. Especially his small talks in between the songs are a real pleasure. Somewhere in the beginning someone is asking him to play “Ain’t No Heart In……”. Oops, something went wrong there, when pronouncing the title and David takes the opportunity to make a joke out of it. He repeats the song request with the accent of a drunken man, who doesn’t really know what he is saying anymore. Oh, what great fun! These old whiskey years help him through some of these weird moments, that fans put him in sometime. It’s somewhere halfway the show now and it’s time for Reb Beach and Doug Aldrich to fight out their guitar duel in an instrumental part, which is called “Pistols At Dawn”. Doug wins this battle as far as I’m concerned. His guitar playing gets very close to that of my big hero Randy Rhoads and his looks and moves comes close to this cult guitar player as well. Reb is a different kind of guitarist. He has worked with the likes of WINGER, DOKKEN, ALICE COOPER and THE MOB and he also did a tour with NIGHTRANGER not too long ago. He is a more melodic kind of guitarist, but he sure is a true genius. Thousand notes leave the guitars of the two axemen and when the band enters the stage again, they start to “Steal Your Heart Away”. Now it’s time for Tommy Aldridge to show his skills. You don’t have to tell him again, because Tommy’s drum solo is always one of the highlights of the show. The first part sounds like a regular drum solo, but somewhere down the middle, he throws away his sticks and continues with his bare hands. It’s kind of his trademark and he’s doing that ever since he has been playing with BLACK OAK ARKANSAS, where he started his career. It’s so good to see him back on the drums. When he puts his sticks in the air by making the sign of a cross, it’s the moment for the band to get back on stage. “Forevermore” is on next, which starts in an acoustic way by Doug Aldrich. The powerful part follows soon and WHITESNAKE really gets the crowd to a boiling point now. Next on the set list is a mix of two songs, being “Best Years” and “Bad Boys”. A couple of days ago, there was a third song added to this medley (“Children Of The Night”), but this song is left out tonight. When David gives a nod to the right side of the stage, someone very familiar will enter the stage after this. What a surprise: it’s Adrian ‘Adje’ Vandenberg doing “Fool For Your Loving”. Adje looks very relaxed and he takes the lead solo in this track without hesitation. Mostly he puts himself in the background and lets the original band decide who does what. The solo sounds good and almost right after this the band continues with “Here I Go Again” with another lead guitar moment for Adje. This is what the fans want and this is what the fans get. We are very lucky, because I can’t think of any other opportunity to see Adrian ‘The Flying Dutchman’ Vandenberg on stage during a WHITESNAKE gig. He doesn’t show up on any other occasion, not even in Belgium, which is pretty close to Holland. I don’t care, I’m always in for something special like that. A couple of days later I saw a video, recorded in England, where Bernie Marsden shows up and I must admit that I had a great time watching it. Back to this show though, because it’s time to say goodbye after the last notes of “Here I Go Again”. Of course the crowd wants an encore and after a little while the band returns on stage and David perfoms an a-capella version of the old DEEP PURPLE classic “Soldier Of Fortune”. Everybody turns very quiet and you could hear a pin drop. It’s a very emotional song and just perfect for David. Then it’s time to pull out everything one more time with “Still Of The Night”, which has another guest role for Adje Vandenberg. This means the end of the show though and the bands receives their final applause. In the meantime the outro tape of “We Wish You Well” is being played. When hearing the first notes of “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life”, we start walking towards the ticket box of the parking lot. As a surprise, we also get an announcement poster of tonight’s gig. The fans have been very positive about David’s voice and with about 175 pictures on my memory card, I have a very nice surprise for Rita to relive the concert again photo by photo. An evening well spend, I would say.
*Text & photos by: Toine van Poorten / July 2013