Heart of Steel: Concert Reviews

Scorpions / Whitesnake / Dokken Concert
Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY, March 5, 2003

Review by Keith McDonald

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It had been quite some time since I had seen a hard rock concert at the Coliseum. I think it was the Motley Crue ‘Generation Swine’ tour in 1997, which featured a reunited Crue with lead singer Vince Neil. That show featured the stage in the middle of the arena, something I expected at this show. When you live in the New York City/Long Island area, there are many clubs, venues and arenas. Some as small as 200 capacity and some clubs that can hold about 4,000 fans. But, in times like these, with the way the hard rock and metal climate is, some bands find themselves in an odd predicament. They can draw more than some of the bigger venues can hold, but can’t quite fill an arena that can hold upwards of 18,000 people.

That’s where the Scorpions, Whitesnake and Dokken found themselves on this night. Much to my surprise they held this mini-fest at the Nassau Coliseum. I was very curious as to how many metal fans would venture out on a cold winter’s night. Much to my surprise, the stage was set up at the back allowing for as many people to fit in. With about 6,000 in attendance Dokken hit the stage opening with ‘Kiss of Death’, which quickly rolled into ‘Into The Fire’. It was a set of hits that included pretty much what you would expect from an opening act. Led by frontman Don Dokken, the band was surprising solid. Not that these guys weren’t one of the better 80’s bands to come out from that era, but that there were only two original members. Dokken, sans George Lynch and Jeff Pilson, may have been strong musicianship-wise, but the chemistry that made Dokken Dokken was missing. It just wasn’t the same. They didn’t include any songs from their most recent release ‘Long Way Home’, which was disappointing. The set was short but they did a great job in setting up what was next.


Dokken Set List:

Kiss of Death

Into The Fire

Breaking the Chains

Alone Again

It’s Not Love

Tooth & Nail

In My Dreams


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That next thing was Whitesnake. Following a ten-year hiatus, David Coverdale reassembled the almighty Snake with new members. And they didn’t miss beat. Whitesnake clearly stole the show. And that’s a lot coming from a show that included the legendary Scorpions. Mid you, I hadn’t seen this band since their heyday in 1988 when they headlined this same arena. Opening with ‘Bad Boys’ the band launched into some ‘Slide It In’ and ‘Slow & Easy’ which is what I expected. The band with only holdover Tommy Aldridge on drums included Marco Mendoza on bass, Reb Beach on guitar and Doug Aldrich on guitar. They were at their best. They combined great chops with an even better look (which sometimes is missing from the older 80’s acts) and great stage presence. It shows how great they are when Reb Beach is relegated to the rhythm slot on the majority of the songs. The only drawback was the fact they had a shortened set.

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Whitesnake Set List:

Bad Boys

Slide It In

Slow & Easy

Love Ain’t No Stranger

Judgment Day

Cryin’ In The Rain

Give Me All Your Love

Here I Go Again

Still Of The Night

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The headliner was the mighty Scorpions. Opening with Coming Home, they gave the fans exactly what one would expect. A high-energy show featuring all their hits with a few added obscure tunes highlighted by an incredible stage show and even higher energy from the band members themselves. I am not the biggest Scorpions fan out there, but I always know I won’t leave disappointed.

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Scorpions Set List:

Coming Home

Bad Boys Running Wild

The Zoo

Big City Nights


Coast To Coast

Tease Me Please Me

No One Like You


We’ll Burn The Sky

Love Drive

Winds of Change

Still Loving You

Rock You Like A Hurricane

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It was a great hard rock show that I hadn’t seen for some time. After seeing the majority of these acts in small clubs and theatres, it was good to see this type of music in an arena, where it belongs.