A few years ago I was looking at a copy of Classic Rock magazine that had a cover photo of David Coverdale. I immediately flashed on a comment uttered by a journalist some time back regarding the, er, aging process among British rockers; paraphrased, it went something like, “Their faces, puffy to begin with from many years of hoisting pints of ale, start to take on the appearance of slowly melting cheese…” Indeed, coupled with his frommage visage, Coverdale also had that perennial Spinal Tappish thousand yard stare, and since then I can’t look at a photo of the erstwhile Deep Purple/current Whitesnake frontman without chuckling to myself.
But I digress…
Bondage nailed a pair of back-to-back German ‘snake concerts; see elsewhere for my review of the Sept. 15 show (Burn… In The Still Of The Night), the tape of which is considerably inferior to the one at hand. For the 14th the taper obviously was well positioned because, save a bit of proximity clapping from the crowd, Memories Of Deep Purple is near flawless: clean vocals, good definition on all instruments (even the bass), no distortion or “distance.” The fact that it was an outdoor concert makes the sound quality all the more remarkable.
Set-wise, the 14th and 15th were almost identical, although Coverdale seemed more animated and free-wheeling in Leipzig, chatting more with the crowd and even throwing in some amusing a cappella interludes. All the big ‘80s hits were performed, of course, songs that over time and repeated exposure to MTV and VH1 Classic have been burned into the memory banks whether you like it or not. One unexpected highlight: “Take Me With You,” originally from 1978’s somewhat overlooked Trouble album, co-written by Coverdale and then-guitarist Mick Moody, which kicks of the encores in almost vintage Deep Purple fashion, thrashy and muscular with plenty of drumkit oomph and organ flourishes. Nice, also, to hear the band – Coverdale, guitarists Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach, drummer Tommy Aldridge, bassist Marco Mendoza, keyboardist Timothy Drury – start the concert with the old Purple chestnut “Burn.” Memories of the Purp indeed… No melting cheese here, just brawny, unapologetically over-the-top hard rock, UK style.
Artwork is typical for the Bondage/Main Stream family of labels, 2-sided color insert, 2-sided color tray panel. – OSWALD