Tampere Ice Hall, FINLAND
Review and pictures by Marko Syrjala
The “Live: In the Still of the Night” tour landed Finland for the first time in September 2004 when the band played in front of a sold-out crowd in Helsinki. A couple of weeks later, they returned to play one show in the far North of Finland in Oulu, and now they are here again playing a show in Tampere, and still, there is one more gig left in Turku tomorrow. So in total, there are four Ice Hall gigs within three months in Finland by Whitesnake.
Besides Helsinki, none of these shows were sold out, and today there were approximately 3500 people when the capacity is somewhere between 5000-6000. But anyway, these are still significant numbers when you remember that when Whitesnake last visited Finland, they played in Helsinki in the House of Culture, whose capacity is around 1300. Even that wasn’t sold out back then. The opening act was a Finnish band called Kilpi, but I didn’t follow them too much. They did an “ok” performance, but there’s not much to tell about them?
Then it was the time of glorious Whitesnake. The band opened with the old Deep Purple classic “Burn,” which was a welcome addition to its current setlist. In the middle of the song, the band played a couple of chords from another DP classic, “Stormbringer,” and then the band went back to “Burn.” Marco Mendoza did a great job here when he was singing old Glenn Hughes high vocal parts during choruses. It was funny to see that even the average age of the audience was approximately thirty years and more, still, many people didn’t recognize that song at all. Strange. Next, a much more known song was “Bad Boys” from 1987, followed by “Love Ain’t No Stranger” from the 1983 release SLIDE IT IN.
The latter seemed to be quite a crowd favorite. “Ready and Willing” the first “old” track, and even the most cynical fans started to wake up. “Is This Love” I don’t know? I know that’s a big hit song, but it now sounds slightly in my ears. It now sounds a little bit updated. It’s one of those songs which should be replaced anytime soon? Just my opinion, but still I am sure that I’m not the only one who wishes the same? Another track from 1987 followed. “Give Me All Your Love Tonight.” It’s a good rocker, and David gets the audience to shout their lungs out during the choruses. The very “Led Zep” sounding “Judgement Day” was played next. It was the only track played from the brilliant SLIP OF THE TONGUE album for some strange reason. That one sounded cool. I hope that there will be more stuff from that album in the future? SLIP OF THE TONGUE was released back in 1989, so it was the setlist’s latest song.
The guitar solo of Doug Aldrich can be described easily with the one word, “standard.” His playing style sounds like a mix of Randy Rhoads and John Sykes, and there were some nice licks played, but on the other hand, he nothing special or unique to offer. But his playing, especially in “1987” -album tracks, was brilliant. There was no doubt that he was the lead player of the show. Rumors tell that it will be him who will write songs with Coverdale for the upcoming Whitesnake album (if it never comes out..? At least he did a great job with Dio on the “Killing Dragon” album). No wonder why David introduced him as the closest friend. “Cryin’ In The Rain.” It’s a good track but could easily be replaced with something else… Tommy Aldridge’s drum solo was just amazing. Okay, he’s been doing that since his Black Oak Arkansas days in the 70?s, but it was still impressive when he was hitting drums without drumsticks. I have seen Tommy playing live some years ago with Thin Lizzy, and he was now as good as then. He’s still definitely of the best rock drummers around.
Next, it was the time to returnto the early years of Whitesnake. “Aint’ No Love In The Heart Of the City,” a song from the first SNAKEBITE album, continued on and on for something like ten minutes when David wanted to sing along chorus forever with the audience. But it was a good track anyway. The next song was another gem from the past, “Don’t Break My Heart Again.” It must be said that it was a strange thing to hear when some of the old classics were re-arranged. ? Don’t Break My Heart Again? was one of those, and it was hard even to recognize. The musicianship was faultless, and the guys played very well with plenty of passion, but something was missing when they played the “old numbers”?
Well, the end of the set was coming to a near, and two big hits from the eighties closed the main set. “Fool For Your Loving” and “Here I Go Again” are songs everybody seems to love. “Take Me With You” was the first encore. It was a pleasant surprise because it’s been a while since it’s been a part of the setlist. And again, it was like during the “Burn.” Many people didn’t recognize it at all. Maybe people should also buy other than just “Best Of Whitesnake” albums because these two tracks usually can’t be found from there… 😉 Of course, the final song tonight was “Still of the Night.” That song is probably the biggest in Whitesnake’s history, and it’s impossible to leave out, so it was a perfect closer to the set. It’s esteemed that David still could reach all the challenging high notes here. We have to remember that he’s in the mid of his late 50’s and unlike most of the men in his age, he still looks terrific. His voice now sounded even better than on his last visit to Finland in 1998. Altogether it’s great that he’s generally doing what he does best, and we can only hope that there are still many years to come. It also must be said that Marco Mendoza is a man in the right place. His style might not please everyone, but, to be honest, he’s a fantastic bass player, performer, and singer. David called him “The most dangerous man in the world,” and that’s because he probably is now getting more ladies’ attention than “Big-D” himself? Second guitar player Reb Beach remained a little bit hidden during the show. He was playing mostly rhythm(!!!) guitar when Doug was taking the lead role. I don’t know if this role is the best possible for Reb because he has had a bigger role in Winger, Alice Cooper, and for a short time in Dokken, and he’s capable of so much more. Anyway, he performed well with a good attitude and could even play a couple of solos there and then. Another “man in the shadows?” keyboardist Timothy Drury stayed mostly standing behind his instrument as keyboardists usually do. He took care of his job professionally with a big smile on his face, and that’s good?
The setlist was quite well chosen. Indeed, there weren’t too many surprises, but most of the crowd was indeed pleased. Personally, I would like to hear some more “classic Whitesnake.” How about adding something like; “Lovehunter,” “Young Blood,” or “Rough N Ready” next time? Also, why reject all the stuff from the latest albums? For example, “Restless Heart” would be an excellent addition to the setlist? Blah! You will never get everything you want to? Wholly this concert wasn’t perfect but a perfect one. Please do a new album some time and come back soon, alright?
Special thanks to Ritva Väänäen from Welldone Agency and Promotion Oy and Jussi Santalahti from Partysan Concert Promotion for getting this review done!
Love Ain’t No Stranger.
Ready N Willing
Is This Love
Give Me All Your Love
Cryin’ In The Rain
Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City
Don’t Break My Heart Again
Fool For Your Lovin
Here I Go Again
Take Me With You
Still Of The Night