I first saw Whitesnake back in 2001.
I was living in Denver, Colorado, at the time, and a friend of mine invited me to go see The Scorpions with him at the Magness Arena. I loved the Scorpions but only knew “Here I Go Again” from Whitesnake, who were the opening act. I figured the rest of their set would be in that same vein, and as a young metalhead I wasn’t terribly excited about seeing them.
Little did I know!
David Coverdale stepped out on stage that night and blew my mind. Few if any frontman can match his vocal performance and fire, and the band absolutely killed it.
I was reminded just how much I love this band when I saw them a few nights ago in New Hampshire at the Hampton Beach Casino. They sold out the 2,000-seat club, and let me put it this way: It was a good night to be a scalper. People were clamoring to get the few last-minute tickets that were floating around from people who had an extra.
The Hampton Beach Casino is a weird venue in a sketchy town, but the venue has some really cool history to it. Led Zeppelin played there back in 1969 right before they really blew up, never to return to venues of that size again; U2 played there in 1980 before they hit it big in the States. I’ve seen Megadeth there and Cinderella and a bunch of cool shows.
Only one opening act was featured with Whitesnake, a band called Sweet Cheater. I missed most of it because I was up the street hanging out with Joey Belladonna from Anthrax (See photo below), who was playing a gig in town that night with his solo band. He was super cool and was signing stuff and shooting games of pool with his fans.
I also ran into the very talented guitarist Jon Donais from Shadows Fall and chilled with him for a bit (See photo below). He's a great player and a nice guy.
I also got to hang out with all of my radio friends like Jim Alvino, host of a great radio show called “Turn It Up” from Portsmouth, NH, on WSCA 106.1 FM. My CD The Call Of The Flames was the No. 1 Most Played Album of The Year in 2010 for the entire station.
Check out their show, it's great. It’s on Saturdays from 6 to 8 p.m. My other friend Mark has a great show on the station as well called “Black Night Meditations,” which airs Wednesdays from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. They play great music and have a lot of really cool celebrity interviews as well. You can stream them from anywhere via iTunes.
When Whitesnake came out, they were firing on all cylinders and just totally exemplified what a great hard rock show should be. They let the music do the talking and just absolutely blazed.
Highlights were classics like “Still Of The Night” and “Here I Go Again” (Which now being older and wiser, I totally dig), as well as many great new songs from their recent album Forevermore and the 2008 release Good To Be Bad, which I really love.
One of my favorite parts of the show was drummer Brian Tichy’s ridiculously good drum solo. He rocked out like crazy and had the whole crowd going nuts.
This solo is actually from the Atlantic City, NJ, show. I couldn’t find a great video from the NH show.
Reb Beach played amazingly at the show, as he always does. I saw him perform with Winger a few years back in Boston at a place called The Middle East and was very impressed by the whole bands level of playing. I went out of boredom, honestly, but really dug their show. Those dudes can play like there’s no tomorrow.
Here is a cool video from Reb’s instructional DVD from back in the day called Cutting Loose.
Doug Aldrich really killed it all night as well. He has been one of my favorite players since I saw him perform on Dio’s Evil Or Devine DVD. A must-have for all rock fans. I remember thinking, “Who the hell is this guy?” he was so good. I got to see Doug Aldrich perform with Dio at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado, about a decade ago and didn’t even know it.
I was so fixated on watching Dio sing that I really didn’t care who was on guitar. But anyway Aldrich is phenomenal.
Anyway now the whole reason for this column, the incredible Aldrich and Beach guitar solo from the show captured by my friend Joe Gettler, who was in the front row at the show the other night. Special thanks to him for the footage.
Enjoy Reb and Doug ripping it up right here. Rock on!
Dave Reffett is a Berklee College of Music graduate and has worked with some of the best players in rock and metal. He is an instructor at (and the head of) the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal department at The Real School of Music in the metro Boston area. He also is a master clinician and a highly-in-demand private guitar teacher. He teaches lessons in person and worldwide via Skype. As an artist and performer, he is working on some soon-to-be revealed high-profile projects with A-list players in rock and metal. In 2009, he formed the musical project Shredding The Envelope and released the critically acclaimed album The Call Of The Flames. Dave also is an artist endorsee for companies like Seymour Duncan, Gibson, Eminence and Esoterik Guitars, which in 2011 released a Dave Reffett signature model guitar, the DR-1. Dave has worked in the past at Sanctuary Records and Virgin Records, where he promoted acts like The Rolling Stones, Janet Jackson, Korn and Meat Loaf.
Dave Reffett headshot photo by Yolanda Sutherland