Monday, August 12, 2013

The Year Of The Snake

The Warfield, San Francisco
August 9, 2013

There was a time before Hair Metal when I liked Whitesnake.  In the late-70's and the beginning of the 80's they were still David Coverdale's post-Deep Purple blues Rock band with a lineup that included other former Purple members Jon Lord and Ian Paice.  That early lineup was supposed to support Molly Hatchet in Oakland in 1980... and I was there.. but Whitesnake cancelled and didn't play.  Then Hair Metal happened and Whitesnake changed lineups, teased up their hair, and Tawny Kitaen did back flips on the hood of a Jaguar for them on MTV... and I hated them.  Fast forward to the 21st Century and Whitesnake have become a guilty pleasure for Umlaut.  Four years ago I saw them at one of the most fun shows ever when they supported Judas Priest at a fairground in the middle of California.

Before tonight's show I met up with Joey Acid King and our bros Bob Revolve and Eric The Woodman for some hardcore pre-show conversation about KISS over beers at an appropriately divey Tenderloin 'hood bar whose name I can't remember but that is only a block away from The Warfield.  Then we few, we happy few, made our way over to The Warfield for the big Rock Show.  Will Call was painless as my name was on the guest list as promised; I wish every show was this easy.  Thanks Bob!

In a nice marketing coincidence, this year happens to be the Year of the Snake but I'm not sure if it generated any spike in Whitesnake fandom, but it didn't matter.   For the next 80 minutes or so, Whitesnake managed to make me forget about the outside world and performed what was easily the most fun show of the year. Ironically, the former Beatle who is not George Harrison or John Lennon was headlining on the other side of town in Golden Gate Park in front of 50,000+ people at the exact same time, which Coverdale acknowledged mid-set.   He was a true English gentleman about it.  I will take 'Slide It In' over 'Hey Jude' any day.

David Coverdale still has *it* when it comes to being a frontman. He might not be able to hit all the notes like he used to but he makes up for it with that kind of vintage Rock Star charisma and swagger that bands today simply do not have. Thirteen songs... All the Whitesnake hits you'd want to hear were included: 'Love Ain't No Stranger', 'Gambler',  'Slide It In'... During 'Here I Go' I felt like doing the splits on the hood of a Jaguar... and then the show closed with the obviously appropriate 'Still Of The Night'.  The MILF energy in the room was thick enough to cut with a knife... and every cock-like stage move that Coverdale did with his mic stand made me laugh out loud.. but I was laughing with him and not at him.

It was a solid, no frills show.  It was the type of performance I appreciate more these days since it relies on the strength of good songs and good showmanship.  I will say that the guitarist wearing black leather pants who used to be in Dio did a better solo spot than the other guitarist wearing black jeans who used to be in Winger.  Also, I've seen Tommy Aldridge with the Pat Travers Band, Ozzy, Ted Nugent, and Whitesnake over the years and he did the same drum solo again... where he finishes by playing with his hands... but it's just about the only drum solo that does not bore me.  Aldridge is still a Drum God... and after the show this happened to Joey Acid King and I:

Two Drummers and an Asian

Yes, the evening ended with us drinking Whitesnake's beer backstage; not bad for a Friday night.  If you bought one of every Whitesnake merch item I think you would have paid around $180.  On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag.  My Inner 20-year old Metalhead and the ghost of Paul Baloff are appalled that I like Whitesnake here in the 21st Century... but the next day I hung out with my friend Adam Dubin and we talked about how the kidz these don't know as Nine Inch Nails played in a park in San Francisco.

"I hope no bad people show up.."

Adam still looks the same except without glasses and with long hair now: