One of the best concerts I’ve ever been to was a Whitesnake gig. But that was almost 30 years ago.

One of my favourite albums of all-time is Whitesnake’s Ready An’ Willing – but that was released in 1980.

I’ve already ordered my copy of Classic Rock’s Whitesnake Official Fan Pack which includes their forthcoming album Forevermore.

And I’m hoping to see David Coverdale and his band when he heads for the North East later this year.

However, the sense of anticipation is less than it was three decades ago when Whitesnake were the best blues rock outfit around.

To put it bluntly, in my opinion and that of thousands of fans who loved the band in those years immediately after the demise of Deep Purple, Coverdale’s creation is today a pale imitation.

Actually, that’s not strictly true. Modern-day Whitesnake is nothing like the band which was formed in the mid-seventies, releasing a succession of outstanding albums. Trouble, Lovehunter, Ready An’ Willing, Come N’ Get It, Saints And Sinners and Slide It In showcased an outstanding vocalist and a tight talented band playing classy hard rock.

And then came 1987, the album which changed Whitesnake into a hair metal phenomenom.

Bands such as Rush, Aerosmith and even UFO have evolved over the decades. Whitesnake simply detached themselves from their past and headed in a new direction.

The image, the sound, the music of 1987 was very different from its predecessors and the follow-up Slip Of The Tongue brashly announce that the new Whitesnake was here to stay.

In terms of record sales, exposure and success, Coverdale and his troops had gone into orbit but for thousands of fans who had followed them from birth, the switch was a retrograde step.

Don’t get me wrong, I love 1987 and have bought all Whitesnake’s albums since but none are a patch on the older material.

In concert too, it’s the same old story. Whitesnake remain an outstanding act but not quite as outstanding as they were in their younger days.

Guitarists Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach are impressive musicians but give me Micky Moody and Bernie Marsden any day. Equally, I prefer to hear Coverdale singing the blues than screaming in to his mic and relying on his back-up team to hit those notes he cannot now reach.

For those who jumped on the Whitesnake bandwagon in the days when Still Of The Night, Give Me All Your Love and Is This Love were all the rage on MTV, I’ll leave you with a a little exercise.

Get your hands on a copy of Live In The Heart Of The City, released in the early-80s and compare it to the more recent Live In The Shadow of The Blues.

Both great titles, indeed both fine albums but one knocks spots off its rivals.

No prizes for guessing which one I prefer.

Ian Murtagh