A tantalising bill for any classic rock fan- dependable rockers Thunder, the erstwhile veterans Whitesnake and AOR legends Journey took to the stage at the packed SECC in Glasgow on Saturday 18th May.
Kicking off proceedings with their massive hit “Dirty Love”, Thunder blasted through an all-too-short set of working class rock, making sure every fan in the crowd was on their feet the whole time. Frontman Danny Bowes looked to be having the time of his life, belting out “Backstreet Symphony” and “Love Walked In” like a man half his age. On guitar, his omnipresent cohort, Luke Morley showed that he has lost none of his energy and skill, over the top of a solid rhythm section.
With bombastic presence, Whitesnake appeared, with veteran rock legend David Coverdale prowling the stage, unable to keep the smile from his face. The band, particularly the team of Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach on guitar duties, blew the roof off the venue with a mixed set of classic tracks and new songs. The crowd were on their feet as soon as the band came on stage and didn’t falter until the last note of the closing track, a storming version of “Still of the Night”. The ubiquitous hits “Here I Go Again” and “Is This Love” were met with a huge response from the assembled legions, singing every word along with a clearly thrilled Coverdale.
The veteran rocker doesn’t hit the same high notes as he used to over 20 years ago, but he more than makes up for this with a powerful voice and sheer charisma, joking with the crowd and enjoying every second of his and his band’s performance. One particular highlight was a storming version of “Fool For Your Lovin’, preceded by Coverdale’s customary cheeky “ ‘ere’s a song for ya!” – this song in particular was a masterclass in rock musicianship. Whitesnake are a band not content to rest on their considerable laurels, with the newer material such as “Steal Your Love Away” and “Best Years”, sitting alongside the aforementioned classics.
Once the ‘Snake departed, it was time for Journey to take the stage- which to the majority of the crowd, was somewhat of an anti-climax …their new vocalist Arnel Pineda did an admirable job of trying to motivate the crowd, and it was a shame that his boundless energy did not transfer to his bandmates, who gave the impression of “going through the motions” for the majority of their 80 minute set. The crowd were painfully aware of this, with a large part of them taking to their seats as Journey ran through a set of mainly relatively unknown tracks…there was a sense of the crowd simply wanting the AOR rockers to get to the unavoidable run-through of their resurgent hit “Don’t Stop Believin’”, which did the job of getting audience off their seats. Another Journey hit, “Any Way You Want It” rounded off the evening, and prompted a crowd singalong, but it was a case of ‘too little, too late”.
With another band accompanying the duo of Thunder and Whitesnake, this would have been a world-beating line-up …something to consider for next time, Mr Coverdale!
(c)Rory Nelson 2013