November is here, the weather had turned cooler (some may say COLD!), and it's time to get down to some intense Christmas blogging - new music to review, contest(s?) to run, music to share, special features to write. But, before diving into Christmas full swan dive, I have a non-Christmas post to write - a review of the new CD/DVD release of "Live in '84 - Back to the Bone" from Whitesnake.
Now, honestly, I've never listened to Whitesnake, apart from college-years radio in the '80s and the glory of MTV in 1984 back when they played music videos. But, I was fortunate enough to receive a pre-release download of their album, and, feeling that I'm pretty open-minded about all music, I listened with the intent of posting a review. And so, here it is, a review of :Back to the Bone", from a Whitesnake novice. And, as it turns out, a pretty impressed novice.
"Live in '84 - Back to the Bone" marks the 30th anniversary of Whitesnake's "Slide It In" album. Culled from performances of the group's 1983/84 lineup and frontman David Coverdale's private collection of recordings, "Back to the Bone" is a superbly energetic album from one of the top hard rock and roll bands of the era. The band - including Coverdale, Cozy Powell, John Sykes, Neil Murray, and Jon Lord - plays tight, hard, and loud The concert recordings show a band engaging with, enthralling, and rocking their audience. Coverdale's vocals have a majestic quality, merging perfectly with Sykes' amazing guitar work and Powell's driving percussion.
I'm seriously impressed with the band's songwriting and the dynamic musicality of their songs. The selection of songs on the album are evidence of their talent as complete musicians. "Gambler", the opener on the album, is a hard-rockin' piece of rock and roll that perfectly sets the stage for the 12 tracks that follow. "Love Ain't No Stranger" showcases the dynamic range of the band, especially Coverdale's vocals. "Walking in the Shadow of the Blues" continues the vitality and power of Whitesnake's performances.
Throughout the album, the songs are preceded by Coverdale's interactions with the audience. Coverdale charges up the crowd with song intros, revving up "Are you ready to rock!" as an exclamation instead of a question, and being a little naughty here and there. Instead of an annoyance, as these interjections can be on live albums, they add to the feeling of energy and enhance the listener's experience. Thirty years later, it's as close as we can come to being there during a band's seminal years.
The highlight for hardcore Whitesnake fans will surely be the extended medley (nearly 17 minutes!) featuring Jon Lord's final performance with Whitesnake. "Gambler", "Guilty of Love", "Love Ain't No Stranger", and "Ready an' Willing" featuring keyboardist Lord closes the album and will thrill Whitesnake's long-tie fans, as it did me, a Whitesnake first-timer.
I really enjoyed "Live in '84 - Back to the Bone". For me personally, it was an exciting introduction to a truly great rock and roll band. Well done, gentlemen.
"Live in '84 - Back to the Bone" is scheduled for North American release on November 10, 2014.
And now we return to your normal Christmas music programming....
A download of "Live in '84 - Back to the Bone" was provided for promotional and review purposes.