ufoIt’s Saturday and so it must be Self Made Man day.

And this week our resident classic rock king wrestles with the enigma that is modern-day Whitesnake ahead of the band’s UK arena tour with Journey and Thunder.

To find out more read on. And remember Self Made Man writes exclusively for RUSHONROCK every week. 


Journey, Whitesnake and Thunder are heading for town in the coming days. It’s a bill that’s left me distinctly underwhelmed ever since tickets went on sale months ago.

So why is it that in the last 48 hours I’ve been seriously tempted to buy one of the few remaining tickets on sale?

The last time I saw Journey two years ago, they left me cold despite Neil Schon’s stunning fretwork.

The format was similar to the Journey, Whitesnake, Thunder line-up on May 22 with three bands, all of whom are more accustomed to topping the bill throughout their careers than sharing the limelight.

Back then, Journey were deemed first among equals as they are for their latest tour but, quite frankly, they were eclipsed not just by the outstanding Foreigner but also by Styx who opened the four hour extravaganza.

Thunder, who’ve turned splitting up and reuniting into an art form, will be the opening act on this occasion and they’re a band I can take or leave.

Which leaves Whitesnake, dear old Whitesnake, the band I fell in love with back in 1979. But it’s a love affair which grew lukewarm over the years as David Coverdale transformed the band from blues rockers into hair metal gods.

Seeing them at the City Hall in the days when Micky Moody, Bernie Marsden and Neil Murray backed Coverdale, provided me with some of my best-ever live concert experiences.

I’ve seen them twice at Newcastle Arena over the past decade and though they couldn’t recapture the magic of those early days, both gigs proved hugely enjoyable.

And then there was their latest appearance in the North East, back at the City Hall, Coverdale’s favourite venue and the place where the Whitesnake male voice choir was launched 35 yeas ago.

But this was a pale imitation of the band I’d seen in what I will always regard as its pomp.

There were moments of magnificence, not least Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City and the peerless Here I Go Again.

But for every high, there was a lowlight too.

Coverdale’s voice appeared shot, too many of my favourite songs had been dropped from the setlist and most annoyingly of all, the 90 minute gig featured two of the least inspiring guitar solos and drum solos I’ve ever witnessed.

So why am I tempted to pay 50 quid for a ticket to see a band which won’t play gems such as Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues, Lovehunter and Don’t Break My Heart Again in the knowledge that Coverdale’s best days are behind him.

For a start, this could be the last time I ever see Whitesnake live and for all his faults, DC remains one of the finest frontmen who ever strutted onto stage.

But what has swayed me is their recent DVD/CD release, the daftly titled Made In Japan, which I received from my sons for my birthday.

The solos, sadly, are not edited out and Coverdale does require backing vocals more than in the past.

But his voice was significantly better than when I’d last heart him live and while he shunned the old favourites, some of Whitesnake’s new material is really rather good, especially Forevermore – the stand-out and title track of the latest album – and Steal Your Heart Away.

This next gig could be one of those concerts where less really is more. Because they will be sharing the night with Journey and Thunder, Whitesnake’s set will be a truncated affair.

Does that mean no solos, just 60 minutes of songs and banter? I’m giving DC and his band mates the benefit of the doubt.

I’m off to buy my ticket.

Ian Murtagh