Whitesnake’s Purple Tour offers equal servings of Burn and Stormbringer, one bite of Come Taste the Band

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By Steve Newton

I was never that crazy about Whitesnake during it’s mid-’80s heyday, when it went the power-ballad route with hits like “Is This Love”. Sure, I enjoyed ogling Tawny Kitaen on the hood of a car as much as the next guy, but I much preferred Whitesnake in the late ’70s/early ’80s, when guitarists Mickey Moody and Bernie Marsden were more concerned with hot licks than hot chicks.

But I gotta tell ya, I’m pretty psyched about seeing Whitesnake at Hard Rock Casino Vancouver tomorrow because the group is in the midst of The Purple Tour, which means singer David Coverdale is focusing on songs he recorded with Deep Purple in its Mark III days.

The group kicked off its massive Purple Tour two days ago at Washington State’s Northern Quest Casino, and according to the setlist posted on setlist.fm, Deep Purple fans are in for a real treat. The show opened with the blazing title track of Burn, the 1974 album that introduced Coverdale and bassist-vocalist Glenn Hughes to the lineup, replacing the departed Ian Gillan and Roger Glover. Other Burn tracks in the set include “Lay Down, Stay Down”, “You Fool No One”, and the old Ritchie Blackmore blues-metal showcase, “Mistreated”.

Nine months after releasing Burn to pretty well universal acclaim–I liked it, anyway, though not as much as Machine Head–the band released Stormbringer in November of ’74. Though also packed with heavier/faster songs like the title track and “Lady Double Dealer”, respectively, Stormbringer included slower/softer numbers like “Gypsy” and the reflective “Soldier of Fortune”. I’m happy to report that all four of the above-mentioned Stormbringer tracks are included in the current Whitesnake setlist.

And if perhaps in honour of late, great guitarist Tommy Bolin–who only played on one Purple album, 1975’s Come Taste the Band, before dying of a drug overdose in ’76–the band is including one CTTB track, the album-closer “You Keep on Moving”, on The Purple Tour.

And don’t worry, Whitesnake fanatics. The setlist also includes “Love Ain’t No Stranger”, “Here I Go Again”, “Still of the Night”, and the aforementioned “Is This Love”.

Over the years, Whitesnake’s lineup has boasted some fine guitarists, including John Sykes and Steve Vai. The current lineup features guitarists Reb Beach (from Winger) and Joel Hoekstra (from Night Ranger), so we’ll see how that goes.

Yeah, yeah, I miss Ritchie Blackmore as much as the rest of you, but hey—life ain’t fair. And how about that drummer, eh? Living legend Tommy Aldridge, who told me 25 years ago that Black Oak Arkansas threatened to break his arms if he ever quit.

Now that’s a highly valued drummer!

Just seeing him slam the crap out of the skins is gonna be a hoot, I reckon. “Look ma, all hands!”

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