WHITESNAKE – here I go again!

I have no idea how many times I’ve seen Whitesnake, I stopped counting a long time ago – but after every tour I can’t wait to see them again. It’s a “feel-good” type of band. You ALWAYS leave a Whitesnake concert with a smile. So, you keep coming back for more. Year after year.

I took the flight from Copenhagen to Manchester early in the morning and walked from Picadilly station to Printworks, Arndale, Hard Rock Cafe – just the area around the MEN/MCR Arena. It was freezing cold, wasn’t prepared for that. It was warm and sunny back home. And I got lost.

I was walking all over the place, couldn’t find the hotel. Went to Park Inn and asked for directions. They told me it was hidden BEHIND the Crowne Plaza, no wonder I passed it three times without seeing it….
Thanks to that I finally found my hotel and couldn’t WAIT to kick off my shoes, take a nap and just relax.

[Labelled pillows – do you prefer firm or soft?]

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The hotel had free WiFi so I quickly updated my Facebook status, mentioning that I was going down to Hard Rock Cafe later on to grab a bite. Before I knew it, I had two responses from two fellow Whitesnake-fans who were in the neighborhood and said they would try to make it down there as well.

I like social media for that reason, it gives you the opportunity to meet interesting people from all over the world.

Went to Hard Rock, ordered the BBQ chicken and was served by a pretty boy with long hair, can’t complain. :) Just as I was in the middle of massacring the chicken (with that reddish BBQ-sauce, it looked like I had slaughtered the chicken myself…!) I heard a voice going: “Daniela?”

There was Ania and her boyfriend Alex. It was the first time we met, and there I was, leaving a wonderful first impression with my mouth full of fries and a massacred chicken on the plate – must have been such a classy sight…! ;)

They joined me for dinner, and it was a really great afternoon. Really nice people, easygoing, interesting to talk to. One of the greatest things about travelling and meeting people through Facebook or Twitter, is that regardless what profession people have, their age or what country they’re from – we all share the same passion for music. So I truly enjoy meeting people and hearing their stories. :)

On our way out we met Jen, the other girl who I thought had changed her mind about Hard Rock – but she had been down at the bar, we never even saw her from where we had been at.

Ania and Alex went back to their hotel and I went to the arena to check what was going on. I’m used to there being people hours before, but there was not a SOUL…! On top of all, it started raining. I never travel without my rain poncho-  especially not England, so I was prepared.

Found a McDonalds at Victoria Station, and killed time with their free WiFi. That is the best thing about McD, no matter where you are in the world, you KNOW that you will at least be able to get online at McDonalds. :)

Ania showed up shortly thereafter and we went in. Much to my surprise, the arena was almost empty when we got in. Never seen such a big arena so empty when the doors open!

[This is what we walked into… Impressive arena, but totally dead at 5.45, fifteen minutes after they had opened]

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She had a spare ticket in her section, it was closer to the stage than my original ticket reservation and it was defnitely a lot nicer to be able to sit and chat a bit than being alone trying to kill time (which is my usual deal. I don’t mind but when I’ve got the choice it’s not hard to decide :) ). Thank you for that Ania.

The arena was filling up slowly but surely, when after a little while, a friend of Ania’s and Reb (Beach) came out for a short chat. I was pretty much minding my own business, observing the activities on stage and in the arena in the meantime. A guy walked up to Reb and asked him if he could wave to his girlfriend “up there” (and pointed in her direction), cause she could not believe it was actually HIM.

Might have been because Reb looked like “the guy next door” in his blue hoodie, just being very “normal” and blending in perfectly with the audience. Reb not only waved, but he also offered to come over and say hello. I think that’s very sweet, cause I’m sure that the girl now has a great memory. Great attitude, I like that.

I saw Jen briefly as she was passing by our section on her way to her seat. And Ronnie was sitting two rows behind me – which I learned AFTER the show as my cellphone delievered all his text-messages the next day, when I was back in Sweden…!

The intro of AC/DC‘s “Thunderstruck” started playing (very loud) and the lights went out. First out on stage – THUNDER.

Okay… So I haven’t seen these guys since the days when they still had HAIR (Donington 1992 to be more precise…) so when these men with short, gray hair walked out on stage (with two exceptions to be fair) I was wondering who the hell that was. But the minute Danny opened his mouth and started singing, there was no doubt that it was THAT voice..!

In short (no pun intended) – they blew me away. What a brilliant live band. Absolute perfection with heaps of heart and soul in their performance. I absolutely loved it!

It’s not often that you see a band that doesn’t rely on any of the usual “props”: looks, image, lasers and bombs, no schtick, none of that stuff – yet manages to get the crowd ecstatic!

Great songs, great musicians, a sincere love for that they’re doing and a great sense of humor. That takes them all the way to people’s hearts! And it goes not only a long way – it goes ALL the way.
I enjoyed every minute of it – and already looking forward to seeing them at Sweden Rock Festival in about a week!

Danny Bowes – what a powerful voice, he was just belting it out, not missing one single note! I’m still looking for my jaw that I dropped on the floor somewhere at the MCR in section C…!

And, Manchester got to enjoy this epic song as well. Make sure you watch the whole thing for the sing-along…:

When Thunder left the stage, I was convinced that Journey were up next. I should have checked first I guess, but it never occured to me that Journey would be considered a headliner when Whitesnake was on the bill.
Yes, yes, I know, I know – it was a shared headliner bill and somebody has to go first but still – it never even crossed my mind for two seconds that Whitesnake would NOT finish the evening.

So I sat down, thinking that I could relax for another hour or so while Journey were on….

When the lights went out and the music started playing it took a few seconds before I went… “Wait a minute… I recognize that…!” Next thing I know, the spotlights lit up the band and a VERY familiar figure in a white shirt..!

I flew out of my chair like a catapult and got the camera rolling, jesus christ, I nearly missed the intro…! That’s what you get when you don’t bother checking things in advance.

I’m not going to review Whitesnake. I can’t. When I go to a Whitesnake-concert, I know that I’ll either be smiling till every muscle in my face starts aching, or I’m going to be moved to tears.

When Bernie and Adrian were the “secret guests” that walked out on stage to join David and the others, at Sweden Rock Festival a few years ago, we were all surprised.

And I don’t know why, but it moved me so much that I was bawling my eyes out for hours. I just couldn’t stop the tears, I thought it was just one of the most powerful, touching things I’ve ever seen on a stage.

With Whitesnake it’s just always an inspiring experience – it’s a celebration of life, love, the past and the future, music, friendships, just all the good things in life. You leave your troubles at the door (if you had any) and you walk out of there rejuvenated, with a big, fat smile on your face.

That’s what Whitesnake is about to me.

Yes, the critic in me still hears the flaws, and yes, maybe David doesn’t sound the same in 2013 as he did in 1983 or 1973, but it just doesn’t matter – he makes up for it with his charsma, and he’s got TONS of that! He makes every single person in a 23,000 seat-arena feel like he’s singing just for them.

And you look at the guys – they are in great shape and they look great. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – rocker’s don’t age. They mature like a fine wine. And frankly, where else but in rock’n’roll, do you get to see men in their 50’s or 60’s looking like Doug Aldrich or David Coverdale?

With Whitesnake you know that you will get the very best of whatever you came to see or hear. Tommy Aldridge always reminds me of “Animal” of the Muppet show! He’s a fantastic drummer, the ultimate wildman who KILLS his drums every night. His playing is powerful and entertaining.

A video of Tommy for your viewing pleasure:

Two guitarists with their own distinct styles, among the best at what they do – the bluesy Doug Aldrich and the technical Reb Beach. It’s all covered for all guitar nerds out there to enjoy. :)

Bassist Michael Devin and keyboardist Brian Ruedy are not taking up as much “space” as the others, but with that many people on stage fighting for attention, somebody has to keep a lower profile, and those two guys are cool enough to be perfectly fine with that.

And David – there is a reason why millions of people worldwide love that man. He is so passionate, so vivacious, just full of energy and LIFE! He is one of the people in this world that I find extremely inspiring.

I will say one thing about their show though – without giving anything away – it was a great and surprising set list. Some of those songs I’ve never heard him perform live (I think my first Whitesnake show was in 1990 at the Monsters of Rock tour, but I’m not sure) so it was a treat to hear so many classics from the earlier Whitesnake years as well!

Speaking of which – Bernie Marsden walked out on stage to play on two songs, and it was great to see the two “old snakes” on stage together, once again. Bernie looked almost overwhelmed when he saw the crowd’s response. It was just a great moment.

After THAT, I really didn’t have ANY desire whatsoever to see ANY other band. I don’t care who they put on that stage, it just couldn’t compete, and I wanted to leave the arena with “THAT” feeling of joy. It was the perfect show and the perfect ending. Thank you for the music, my dear snakes. :)

Spoke briefly with Ronnie and his friend before leaving. I was starving so I dropped by this place on my way back to the hotel:

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Ania and Alex also went to “meet some friends” so we parted ways :))) And next week it’s time for London and Wembley!

I prefer Manchester when it comes to concerts though. And I might even write a little more about that pretty soon. It’s the perfect city for visiting concert-travellers!

Two more Whitesnake-shows to go! Wembley and this one, in Zagreb, Croatia. I guess it’s time to start excercising those “smiling muscles” in my face again. :)

Photos from the show: http://www.facebook.com/intherearviewmirror

I did film a lot of the show but as David has explicitly asked people not to share too much info and ruin someone else’s experience, I’m not posting anything more for now. Maybe in a few months time. :) There is 1 clip on the Facebook-page though, check the timeline/wall!

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