The Cleveland Agora has come a long way since the first time I set foot inside of the historic building back in 1999. Wednesday night Whitesnake played the venue to a packed house. While the band has played the Cleveland area many times over their 40-plus year career, this show marked the first time they graced the stage at 5000 Euclid Avenue. Touring in support of their brand spanking new album Flesh & Blood, the band mixed in some of the new songs alongside some of their biggest hits to deliver a very satisfying show.
Make no mistake about it, Whitesnake has always been vocalist David Coverdale’s band. Many musicians have come and gone over the band’s tenure. Current day Whitesnake has been together now since 2015. Guitarist, band leader Reb Beach has been in the band since 2002 making him the longest tenured member currently. Drummer Tommy Aldridge is the lone holdover from the bands heyday although he left for a period of time (2007-2013). The lineup is solidified by guitarist Joel Hoekstra, bassist Michael Devin and keyboardist Michele Luppi.
The band are near the tail end of their North American tour which started in April before they head overseas for more dates. That means they are in prime form as evidenced by the band during their 85-minute performance Wednesday evening. From the blazing opening number “Bad Boys” straight through to the grand finale of “Still Of The Night”, the band held nothing back and let loose one of the top performances I’ve seen so far this year.
Some of the memorable highlights included old gems “Love Ain’t No Stranger” and “Slow An’ Easy” sprinkled alongside new numbers such as “Trouble Is Your Middle Name” and “Get Up”. The tongue in cheek “Shut Up & Kiss Me” video has over a million views and has helped boost Flesh & Blood sales. Add in the traditional guitar duel between Beach and Hoekstra and the drum solo by Aldridge and you’ve got yourself a Whitesnake show.
A spirited “Give Me All Your Love” leading into the chart topping “Here I Go Again” sent the fans scurrying to their phones to film a moment many will cherish forever. Coverdale is now playing to many third and fourth generation audiences. While the diehards are still there wishing for pre-Slide It In material (reserved mainly for overseas audiences), there is one song that connects all Whitesnake fans together, “Still Of The Night”. The song is considered to be the zenith of all Whitesnake songs. Coverdale to this day has always closed his shows with what is his crown jewel.
Don’t go to this show expecting Coverdale to sound like its 1987 (all things considered it wasn’t bad). One has to be reminded of the vocal issues he’s had over the years. To see Coverdale up there singing and commanding the stage at all at the ripe ol’ age of 67 makes you appreciate that he still has the passion to do so. He had thought about calling it a day and riding off into the sunset a few years ago but because of fan demand has continued to tour and record. I would take an artist trying to do the best they can every night than someone up there faking it any day of the week.
The Set List
Slide It In
Gonna Be Alright
Love Ain’t No Stranger
Hey You (You Make Me Rock)
Slow An’ Easy
Trouble Is Your Middle Name
Shut Up & Kiss Me
Is This Love
Give Me All Your Love
Here I Go Again
Still Of The Night
Note: Opening the show were The Black Moods a band that plays straight forward, raw rock n’ roll from Tempe, Arizona.