By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa
Venue: Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, Florida–April 23, 2019–Whitesnake with The Black Moods
Whitesnake will be releasing their 13th studio album Flesh and Blood (Frontiers Music SRL) on May 10th and Clearwater, Florida folks were treated to a preview of the album during the band’s performance at Ruth Eckerd Hall on April 23rd. The last time Whitesnake played the venue was in 2015 during the The Purple Album Tour, which featured the music of Deep Purple, so the evening’s agenda certainly satisfied long-time Whitesnake fans.
The evening began with Arizona trio The Black Moods, which played a really hard rocking and fresh set. The charismatic lead singer had the audience eating out of the palm of his hands. Their songs “Bad News” and “Bella Donna” have been getting a lot of radio air play on rock stations nationally.
The Flesh and Blood Tour featured 40 years of great hard rock music, especially from the hey-day of Whitesnake, when MTV played their self-titled 1987 album Whitesnake on heavy rotation. Prior to the band, which was comprised of David Coverdale (vocals), Reb Beach (guitar), Joel Hoekstra (guitar), Michael Devin (bass), Michele Luppi (keys), and Tommy Aldridge (drums), a recording of The Who’s “My Generation” filled the air. The 50-something audience waited with anticipation and rose to their feet at David Coverdale and the band walked out on the stage, with most standing during the duration of the concert. Many appeared to have their 20-something kids in tow, and took on their bad behavior by raising cell phones in the air, during most of the concert.
Whitesnake hit the ground running with “Bad Boys” and “Slide It In”, while Coverdale pranced back and forth to each side of the stage, appearing very fit, often holding up the mic stand. Joel Hoekstra wowed the crowd with his nimble fingers, tilting the guitar up in the air, tossing his long blond locks. Reb Beach and Michael Devin played back to back, sauntering around the stage, looking very comfortable.
The evening progressed with new songs from Flesh and Blood, like “Trouble Is Your Middle Name” and “Gonna’ Be Alright.” One of the new singles “Shut Up & Kiss Me” really captured the band’s signature hard rock sound, and I found myself singing along to the chorus. A really infectious tune!
The evening permitted Joel Hoekstra and Reb Beach to show off their guitar chops during the dueling duet “Snake Dance”, which showed the band’s Gary Moore influences. The new song “Get Up” was highlighted at the end with a mind-blowing drum solo by Tommy Aldridge, who used his bare hands on the toms, snare, and cymbals, showing why he is one of the most sought-after drummers today. David Coverdale could hit the high notes, his voice sounding every-so-good as the 1980s, and then some!
A crowd favorite was sing-along hit “Is This Love?”, from the 1987 self-titled album Whitesnake. More hits from the album continued with “Here I Go Again”, “Give Me All Your Love” and encore “Still of the Night”.
The Whitesnake concert totally satisfied, and may be the best hard rock concert I’ve seen this year. The band showed us why they have been a favorite in the rock scene for the last 40 years, never slowing down, and proved they can still crank out great rock with new songs from their soon-to-be released album Flesh and Blood.