The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
www.therockpit.net Anthrax-Worship-Music-CD-Review

WHITESNAKE

 

WITH SLANK


FORT CANNING PARK, SINGAPORE


November 1st 2011 

 

 

Best Years
Give Me All Your Love
Love Ain't No Stranger
Is This Love
Steal Your Heart Away
Lonely Days, Lonely Nights (A Capella, excerpt)
Forevermore
Guitar Duel (Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach)
Snake Dance
Can You Hear The Wind Blow
Love Will Set You Free
Drum Solo (Brian Tichy)
Slow an' Easy (excerpt)
The Deeper The Love
Fool For Your Loving
Here I Go Again
Still Of The Night
Soldier of Fortune (Deep Purple cover)
Burn / Stormbringer (Deep Purple cover)
Bad Boys / Children Of The Night

 

 

It’s been a hot day in Singapore and like the rest of our stay here there’s been a rainstorm in the afternoon. The sky has turned from grey to black though as we make our way down to Fort Canning Park from the hotel, about ten minutes away on foot. It is raining but only just and we’re hoping like hell that the weather holds out.

 

By the time Indonesia’s finest ‘Slank’ hit the stage the rain has pretty much left and all we are left with is the sapping November humidity of Singapore.  Slank is an odd proposition and sing primarily in English (though their fist English language album was only in 2009) and to be honest they aren’t bad at all. It’s strange seeing how a band from a country without those years of rich rock heritage sounds and consistency-wise it’s a little like imagining the band has been given a stack of CDs from the last 40 years and tried to absorb them all, as a result it’s hard to really define a signature sound. There’s a ballad, a song written in LA that sounds like the Gunners, a stab at some classic rock. It’s good as I say but I don’t hear anything knock-out or what might hint at their 15 million sales in SE Asia and for a band formed in 1983 and with over 20 albums behind them they are in an interesting place. I just found it interesting that Singapore itself couldn’t muster a rock band of it’s own like KL had a few nights ago.

 

After what may well be the most expensive beer in the world – less than half a pint of tepid beer pumped from an Esky into a plastic glass for $10; we head off down the front and stroll into the second row. (OK so that compensated for the beer!) It remains sticky until Whitesnake hit the stage after the same intro tape as in Kuala Lumpur- a few choice Stones songs and a few other classics ending with The Who’s ‘My Generation’.

 

Again like KL the band take the stage one by one to a huge roar from a crowd that is a mix of ex-pats, young Singapore rockers, curious tourists and office workers.

 

‘Best Years’ from the new Forevermore CD is a great opener it’s a powerful song and both it and the other songs tonight from that CD stand up well against the older, more familiar material.  

 

Tonight too there’s no waver in The Cov’s voice, it must be the lubrication offered by the rather intense humidity. Dave himself is right on the money: “Fuck me is this hot all the time? Splendid! Don’t you like it when it’s moist? Moist, mmm. I feel like moving here."

 

In fact Dave is on rare form this evening offering a world of dry wit and sexual innuendo that only he can get away with. I imagine him backstage in dressing gown and slippers flicking through a very English book of saucy seaside postcards, but I digress…

 

The balance and sound is truly amazing for an outside gig and despite the ever present threat of rain we get little precipitation, it is as Dave said just very moist out there.

 

With the benefit of having no photo pass (don’t get me started on that) it’s nice to sit back and enjoy a second look at the show we saw in KL and to be honest tonight it just seems to click a little more. The guys still seem happy, despite the heat and humidity and a record number of shirt changes for Dave I think it’s just the more animated crowd and the beautiful setting that elevates us all.

 

The band is simply on fire in Singapore (and Brian drops less sticks in his solo tonight too) and I don’t think you could get too better guitarists on the same stage. Beach is all cheek and bravado and power and Aldrich all tone and style and grace and together it’s pretty much perfect and completely complimentary. Having seen Beach with the likes of Dokken, Winger and Alice Cooper in the past I don’t think I’ve ever seen him look more comfortable than here.  As for Aldrich there surely can be few better guitarists out there in charge of a Les Paul?  Both they and Devin on bass fill out the vocals tonight, beautifully complimenting Dave’s lead.

 

Tonight’s show is pretty much what we got a few days earlier in KL but with some notable differences: It’s a treat to get an excerpt of ‘Lonely Days, Lonely Nights’ which goes out to Bob (whoever Bob may be as there appear to be a thousand or so in the crowd when Dave asks) and the guitar duel between Reb and Doug has a little more to it and is a little more drawn out with a few more playful touches. It is of course the end of the show though that sees the real difference, but we’ll get to that…

 

Sitting down with the acoustic for ‘Forevermore’ Aldrich and Sir Dave create a beautiful intro to a fine song before being joined by the rest of the band for what is a real highlight under the hot starless canopy of Singaporean night, as the fruit bats swoop (at least I think they were fruit bats!). 

 

The crowd reaction here is more intense than in KL. But still somehow restrained compared to European or US shows and to be honest the setting tonight is about the perfect place for a concert and the fact that the rain holds off a huge bonus.

 

Reb Beach has all the facial expressions out tonight and in fact I think he’s created a few of his own this evening and the solos are shared between him and Doug. Beach taking the bluesier ones like: ‘Give Me All Your Love Tonight’, ‘Deeper the Love’ and ‘Here I Go Again’ whilst Aldrich tackles the 1984 and Purple solos.

 

The Drum solo is a little less bearable second time round (but that’s the flipside of following a tour) but the stage banter is even more enjoyable than in KL. It’s a fun night and we even get teased with a few bars of ‘Slow N Easy’ at one point. And as for Sir Dave: well he can still get those screams and with the guys backing him ably he puts on a performance that easily surpasses KL. For a first visit to Singapore "Why the Hell has it taken so long?” he asks rhetorically, it’s a great first impression to leave and you get the feeling they will certainly be back.

 

The band intros are just as funny tonight especially Brian Ruedy – on keys, or as Dave will have it ‘The man with the massive organ’.

 

Throughout the night the crowd reaction is exceptional, singing whether asked or not, clapping along and making a huge noise. The promoter tells us that there were 5000 here tonight but to be honest it doesn’t seem like that many, though the venue is deceptive in size. It’s great to see the band outside too after a series of indoor shows and despite the heat you can tell that everyone here onstage or in front (including the security guards who must have the easiest job in the world with this crowd) is having the best of times.

 

For a band of this vintage writing such great new material and not only that but venturing out to new territories it gives you hope that tis crazy Rock N roll that we all love is far from dead. And when the band launches into the Deep Purple material I swear the guys behind me are going to pass out with excitement, and Jo has a tear in her eye when Dave sings ‘Soldier of Fortune’ but her highlight is still to come. Devin for a moment is Hughes as the band launches into ‘Burn’.

 

After a memorable and unbelievably well-received blast through ‘Burn’ and ‘Stormbringer’ Dave thanks the crowd but unlike in KL the band members don’t make a move to the front of the stage for their bow. Instead Dave asks the assembled throng "You want more?" It even brings back some of those who have been reading the setlists on the ‘net back (The trio of Deep Purple covers have been their final songs all tour so far).

 

After a quick check that Brian remembers the song we are treated to a fantastic rendition of ‘Bad Boys’ and Doug Aldrich really cuts loose. It’s here Jo’s moment comes as Dave strides over to Aldrich’s side of the stage with the lights up and there in the second row picks her out with a cheeky grin while singing ‘Bad Bad Girls’ it makes her night and reduces her to tears for the second time!

 

It’s a perfect way to end a great night in front of a band that didn’t put a foot wrong. Even if you have seen the Snake before I’m sure that Dave would agree with me that 2011 is a particularly fine vintage.

 

We file out to the familiar strains of Snakes’ ‘We wish you well’ and Python’s  ‘Always Look on the Bright Side’ and I wonder how many people over the years have failed to get that little in-joke. It’s pretty much the perfect night in Singapore tonight to end a memorable jaunt round SE Asia with the boys!

 

 

By Mark Diggins