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Live In '84: Back to the Bone (CD)
Released: 2014, Frontiers Records
Since releasing the excellent FOREVERMORE album in 2011, Whitesnake has been flooding the market with live product. Seriously, it’s almost at Iron Maiden levels of silliness: 3 live albums and 2 live DVDs in three years. Now they are adding a fourth live album and third DVD with this set celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the venerable SLIDE IT IN-era of the band with LIVE IN ’84: BACK TO THE BONE.
In my opinion, the DVD and CD are quite different and of varying value, so I’ve reviewed them separately. This is the review for the live album.
BACK TO THE BONE kicks off with a 9 song “set” entitled “Best of the Bootlegs”; I have no idea where or when these songs were taken from. Make no mistake: these are in fact bootlegs and the sound quality shows it. It’s not bad, but it’s definitely not up to the band’s usual standards. Regardless, the band is obviously playing with fire, and Coverdale’s charismatic performance carries the day. The three songs from Japan Super Rock ’84 are a bit better in sound quality but are repeats from the bootleg section. The real highlight though is the series of songs featuring Jon Lord’s final Whitesnake performance. His keyboards are unmistakeable and bring a different quality to the songs than we’re used to hearing from the band since his departure. Cool, cool stuff.
In all though, this is easily the weakest of the band’s series of live releases. The track list is full of repeats (on a thirteen track album, “Love Ain’t No Stranger” and “Ready An’ Willing” are played three times – each!), making it a very repetitive listen. As always, the performances are faultless and as a time capsule of the band thirty years ago, it’s a very cool document. This is a spectacular album historical purposes, but as a listening experience it’s definitely lacking, particularly when stacked up against the band’s own recent live output. If you’re interested in this era of Whitesnake, definitely buy the DVD instead as it is a much more full experience.
Snakeskin Boots – Best of the Bootlegs:
2. Guilty of Love
3. Love Ain’t Not Stranger
4. Slow An’ Easy
5. Walking in the Shadow of the Blues
6. Ready An’ Willing
7. Guitar Solo
8. Crying in the Rain
9. Soldier of Fortune
Japan Super Rock ’84:
10. Love Ain’t Not Stranger
11. Ready An’ Willing
12. Slow An’ Easy
Jon Lord’s Final Whitesnake Performance:
13. (Gambler, Guilty of Love, Love Ain’t No Stranger, Ready An’ Willing)
David Coverdale: Vocals
John Sykes: Guitar
Neil Murray: Bass
Cozy Powell: Drums
Jon Lord: Keyboards on Track 13
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