Whitesnake + The Dead Daisies Color Connecticut Purple
It was a brighter shade of purple when Whitesnake brought their Purple album to the stage last Tuesday (July 28) at the newly opened and extremely user-friendly College Street Music Hall in New Haven.
Revisiting music from singer David Coverdale's nascent days fronting Deep Purple, a full third of the set was those vintage, though somewhat obscure tunes. His onstage teasing that the songs were written before most of the audience was born might not have completely accurate, but more than a few people were noticeably unfamiliar with his heritage aside from the show opener, “Burn.”
For those in the know, it was a glorious return to the largely overlooked Mark III and Mark IV history of Deep Purple. Polished to sound cheerier and sonically brighter than the original album tracks featuring brooding guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra reworked the old arrangements and solos, Americanizing the songs with their guitar shredding to bring everything more adjacent to the MTV days of Whitesnake.
Those Whitesnake hits of the '80s have become the cornerstone of Coverdale's legacy. The audience singing along and swaying, plastic beer cups and glowing cell phones held aloft, left no doubt that “Is This Love,” “Here I Go Again” and “Still of the Night” likely sold the bulk of tickets to the show. Those songs are familiar old friends by now, though still performed with genuine exuberance and forcefulness, especially with hard-hitting drummer Tommy Aldridge no less the dynamic presence than any of his previous tenure with the band.
Coverdale, 63, may have struggled a bit on the high notes, but his midrange is still robust, and his bandmates carried some of the vocal weight, especially bassist Michael Devin. But Coverdale's devilish stagecraft is still charming and playful as ever and clearly endeared him to the standing room crowd.
Support act The Dead Daisies, the all-star band of veteran rockers, gave their own rendering of '70s FM radio bombast with a vigorous set that recalled the musical enormity of that time. Obvious hints of influences such as Led Zeppelin and KISS colored their set with attitude and familiarity while Richard Fortus and Damon Johnson (filling in for David Lowy) added adept intertwined guitars reminiscent of Aerosmith and Thin Lizzy. Meanwhile, singer John Corabi's roaring fullness gave songs off their new album, Revolución, instant likeability. Their hefty version of “Helter Skelter” was a clever nod to his history without actually covering Mötley Crüe, and a boisterous rendering of “Hush” was an appropriate addition to the evening's Deep Purple celebration.
Check out our exclusive photos from the gig in the gallery above.