Released: 2011, Frontiers Records
Whitesnake have been really active lately. In the past three years we have had the 20th Anniversary reissue of SLIP OF THE TONGUE and the 25th Anniversary reissue of SLIDE IT IN. We have had two, full-length studio albums including the storming FOREVERMORE from earlier this year. Now on top of that we get an awesome Double Live album from a classic era. All this activity means one thing, Whitesnake fans (myself included) could not be happier.
LIVE AT DONINGTON 1990 is actually Whitesnakes’ 5th live album over the years and as suggested by the title it was recorded at Castle Donington’s Monsters Of Rock festival in 1990, where on August 18th they headlined over Aerosmith, Poison, Quireboys and Thunder, making that years installment a primarily British affair.
LIVE AT DONINGTON is a good value with 17 tracks spread across 2 discs at about hour and 45 minutes and is the quintessential 80’s (well, 90’s technically) double live album. This one has it all. Drum solo, guitar solos, huge anthemic sing-along songs, new songs, old songs, fast songs, slow songs, audience participation segments (dubbed The Whitesnake Choir) and more.
Let’s run the numbers shall we? The career representation in terms of numbers of songs from various albums is pretty good, with six of the nine albums being touched on.
-Four songs from SLIP OF THE TONGUE including the lesser played ‘Kitten’s Got Claws’ and ‘Cheap And Nasty’. It makes sense that this album was the most heavily represented as it was that tour cycle and I always enjoy when a band is not afraid to play their new material. The band were even bold enough to kick off the show with a new track. Many bands bury the new songs in the middle of the live set. As for SLIP[ OF THE TONGUE that’s about a third of the album of the actual songs (13) on the live album excluding the cover tunes and solos and stuff.
-Three songs from 1987, their best-selling album.
-Two songs from SAINTS & SINNERS but of those two tracks ‘Crying In The Rain’ and ‘Here I Go Again’ are probably better known by the masses as being from the 1987 album.
-Two songs from SLIDE IT IN.
-One song from READY AN’ WILLING, but that cut, ‘Fool For Your Lovin’ was also probably more well known for being on SLIP OF THE TONGUE as well.
-One song from the debut EP SNAKEBITE going way back to 1978.
So that leaves us with only three studio albums namely, TROUBLE, LOVEHUNTER and COME AN’ GET IT, getting no representation. Overall that’s a great set list because they band have a deep catalogue that often gets overshadowed by the big three albums in the 80’s. BUT depending how you count…10 of the 13 tracks were from 1987 and SLIP OF THE TONGUE.
The remaining four tracks are two Adrian Vandenburg guitar solos. The two songs are two covers tunes, oddly enough both from Steve Vai’s freshly released, second solo album PASSION AND WARFARE, which amount to little more than the Steve Vai guitar solos. Tommy Aldridge gets his solo in an extended 13 minute version of ‘Cryin’ In The Rain’.
It is great to hear the alternate and/or extended versions of songs that get tweaked in the live environment. For example, ‘Slow an’ Easy’ originally logging in at six minutes gets extended to eight minutes long. ‘Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City’ get extended from five minutes to eight. I’m glad that the band does this instead of routine duplication of the songs on the albums. Whitesnake were originally routed in the freewheeling jams and the blues so some of these songs are different than the originals.
Setting aside the numbers game, the production is bold and brash the crowd is loud and it all sounds good. Coverdale sounds good and it’s nice to hear the flaws in his voice. His studio work is always so silky smooth so that hearing him live, a bit more raw and unrehearsed is a nice treat. He has some decent on-stage interaction with the hometown crowd as well.
I actually saw this tour in a stadium (with Kiss!) in Toronto, Canada on June 15th, 1990, just 2 months prior to the recording of this live album, so I already have a soft spot for this album. The band were at the height of their commercial success and firing on all cylinders. I’m really pleased that Frontiers dug these tapes out of the vault and made them available to the masses. Whitesnake rules.