download-poster-new@ Castle Donington, Main Stage, June 14 2009

It’s beginning to become a bit of a bind where Whitesnake is concerned. A band boasting one of the greatest blues rock vocalists in history has no business to be allowing its guitarists so much freedom. Really.

Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach are damn fine musicians capable of going toe-to-toe with any six stringer on the planet but they’re just not the Cov. When we watch Whitesnake we want as many hits as the main man can possibly deliver and we don’t want widdly diddly instrumental jousting lasting more than seven minutes. But perhaps that’s the problem – maybe Teesside’s finest can no longer last the pace.

That’s not a criticism. But if the former Deep Purple crooner can’t manage to belt ’em out to his own high standards for more than hour or so shouldn’t he do the decent thing and accept a slot lower down the bill? Do you know any true fan of the mighty ‘Snake who would choose quantity over quality? A focused set featuring eight or nine belters but none of the time-filling chaff would suffice. It might be Good To Be Bad but it’s never good to be a bad judge and such excess tarnished an otherwise memorable show.

Of course when Whitesnake do boast their singer on stage – where he belongs – there really is no better live band. If a strangely unemotive Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City failed to recapture 2008’s spine tingling arena vintage then Coverdale’s performance was otherwise faultless.

Racing through the 1987 classics like a teenager on a collision course with his first sexual conquest, the golden God of Download 2009 had the hordes safely gathered in the palm of his experienced hand.

Love Ain’t No Stranger was exhilerating while The Deeper The Love brought back memories of glorious Monsters Of Rock sets of the band’s glittering past. Aldrich and Beach were in brazen mood and it’s a joy to watch two of America’s best musicians in tip top form – to an extent.

Just imagine the classics Cov could have squeezed in had he not granted his guitarists their day in the sun. Even he admitted there was no time for idle chatter, such were the time constraints of his Download set. No time for banter but plenty of time for fret burning? It’s just not right but here I go again…