Gig Review: Whitesnake – The Purple Tour, 19.11.2015

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The concert started right on time at 8 pm at Vienna’s Gasometer.

The Dead Daisies, an Australian band I admittedly had not heard of before, came in support of the main act, promoting their latest album Revolución.
Judging by the logo, I thought they were up to play some punk music, but what they actually – and rather logically – did was hard rock. Generally, The Dead Daisies are a highly professional musical collective, with lots of musicians linked to bands such as Guns N‘ Roses, The Rolling Stones, Thin Lizzy and many more. So as the lights went off, they were announced by Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love guitar riff, fused with Black Sabbath’s War Pigs lyrics.
This time, they came in a pack of six: singer John Corabi (who also sang in Mötley Crüe) was vocally backed by lead guitarist Richard Fortus (who looks frighteningly similar to Ronnie Wood from The Rolling Stones), an incredibly friendly-looking rhythm guitarist whose name I was not yet able to find out (it was not David Lowy), bassist Marco Mendoza and keyboardist Dizzy Reed. Last but not least there was the insane drummer Brian Tichy, frequently throwing up his drumsticks metres high into the air – catching them again a few seconds later (most of the times, anyway).
They opened their set with Midnight Moses and continued with songs such as Evil, Mexico or Lock’n’Load. In the end, they finished off by covering The BeatlesHelter Skelter…which was of course harder than the original version.
The Dead Daisies are a band that’s really got it together, showing energy and fun while performing, and were thus an ideal motivator for the audience for what was to come up next: Whitesnake.

whitesnake_bandThis time, the announcement’s Led Zeppelin-riff was fused with James Brown’s Sexmachine – indeed an interesting combination.
Having released their latest „Purple Album“ (a compilation of the three Deep Purple albums from the time when David Coverdale was their singer) on May 15th this year, Whitesnake are currently on Purple Tour through Europe.
It is thus self-explaining that there were no new songs to be heard that night. So Whitesnake took a pretty safe path playing all their own evergreens (e.g. Love Ain’t No Stranger, Fool for Your Loving, Here I Go Again and Still of the Night in the encore), but mainly Deep Purple’s old hits, such as Burn, The Gypsy, Mistreated, You Keep On Moving, You Fool No One as well as Soldier of Fortune (played with only one acoustic guitar, or, as Coverdale called it: „a nice piece of wood“), which was the part of the evening where I truly had to hold back by tears, considering this song to be one of my absolute favourites of all bands – all time.
Coverdale certainly is one of the best singers within the hard rock (and partly hair metal) genre, which he proved once again. Even though I would have hoped for a few more of the slower songs, since those are also a strength of his, in contrast to his falsettos and rough parts.

Like on every great and legendary rock concert, you can be sure of hearing extended solos in the form of one-man-shows with nobody else on stage. So, first came guitarist Reb Beach, followed by guitarist Joel Hoekstra, who were „competing“ for the better solo; then came drummer Tommy Aldridge, who first went crazy with his drumsticks, only to throw them into the audience a few minutes later and continue playing without them, banging the drums with his bare hands – amazing! It wasn’t exactly an outstanding solo, I’ve heard more interesting ones, but the way he played it was something I hadn’t seen before. Special credits go to his steady double bass which was flawless even while standing.
The other touring musicians are the Italian Michele Luppi on keys and the rather young (and vocally very talented) bassist Michael Devin.

The atmosphere and musicians‘ vibes of this gig reminded me very much of the AC/DC gig in May: old but gold rockers who know they have achieved everything, yet happily continue doing what they love so much – just for the hell of it…always with a smile on their lips and a bit of madness in their eyes.
Raising awareness of the current happenings around the world, Mr. Coverdale chose the words for that night’s goodbye as follows: „Thank you for having the courage to come here, Vienna; be safe and happy and don’t let anyone make you afraid!“

Further information / photo credits: (The Dead Daisies) © (Whitesnake) ©


Gig Review: Tenacious D, 05.02.2015

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Once again I had a lucky hand in getting a last-minute ticket for the Tenacious D gig in Vienna, even for less money than I had expected. The venue was the same Jack White played just recently, so it’s no news that the sound quality of Gasometer was rather a questionable one (read the Jack White gig review here).

Due to several reasons I did not manage to see the opening act Sasquatch.
Anyway, I came to see Jack Black and Kyle Gass, the two guys who constitute Tenacious D. They came with nothing but their acoustic guitars in hand, unplugged, and did not have any supportive instruments such as drums, bass or electric guitar. Even though this means very few instrumental possibilities, I think they did quite well.


With Kyle Gass being an acceptable guitar player and Jack Black a truly convincing singer, the crowd did not need much more to be entertained. Anyway, there were some moments in which the guys (mainly Kyle Gass) were clearly out of rhythm, but this is not surprising when playing without a drummer. Gass, however, made up for it by eventually playing three flutes at the same time.
They started the show with the in-your-face title Tribute, something nobody really expected that early. During the two-hour show, Tenacious D served one hit after the next to the hungry audience, who knew all the lyrics by heart. Among their legendary songs like Dude, Kickapoo, Rage Cage and Fuck Her Gently, which was sung by the crowd during a short break from beginning to end, Tenacious D apparently wanted to use the evening to teach the audience some Rock’n’Roll history by covering Led Zeppelin (Rock and Roll), Black Sabbath (War Pigs) and The Beatles (You Never Give Me Your Money, The End). They did this really well, in their own special way.

It was visible throughout the whole gig, however, that the two guys did not really seem to enjoy what they were doing. You could see and feel that performing the show was indeed plain work for them. With predictable sketches and jokes they tried to keep up appearances, but there was no joy in their eyes. This is no surprise, though. They are famous for their humour, the masses know them for it, and therefore expect to see exactly that. And if the crowd does not get what it wants, the consequences for the musicians might be very bad ones. This leaves the artists no real space for experimentation and development. Quite a shame, especially with Jack Black uncompromisingly proving to be such a highly talented musician.


Photo credits:

© Volume

Gig Review: Jack White – Lazaretto Tour, 11.11.2014

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Not being all too thrilled with Jack White’s latest album („Lazaretto“), I did not pay very much attention to his tour dates. When I found out that he was going to come to Vienna, however, all the tickets were sold out, of course. To my luck, I found somebody who sold his ticket to me last minute.

The support, Lucius, was already playing the last songs when I entered the hall. To be honest, I was not convinced. They sounded very artificial, and I could not exactly identify the style they were trying to head at. It was something Indie-Pop-like.
It was after a few minutes that I actually saw them: two female (twins?) singers, looking identically, plus musicians, who were supposed to lead the crowd into a great rock night. But neither the band nor the audience seemed particularly interested in making that part of the show something special. Honestly: Lucius was one of those support groups that you can skip without regret.

The main act was planned to start at 21:00. After a delay of about twenty minutes, a memorable announcement was made on stage. The speaker talked of the band being happy to play in Vienna, and informed the audience about the fact that professional photographies would be taken throughout the whole concert. These would then be uploaded a.s.a.p. after the show and available for free downloading on Jack White’s website. He explained that this arrangement was made in order not to have phones pointing up from the audience the whole time, because „that thing in your hand is not nearly as good as what you can see with your eyes, and listen to with your heart.“


A few minutes later, the curtain was drawn, revealing a simple stage-set flooded with blue light. There were no banners or animations (not even the screens beside the stage were switched on), everything was being kept simple.
Jack White, supported by four other musicians, started with a few fast rock songs. That was principally a good way to start, but the thing is that the location (Gasometer Wien) has a truly horrible sound. Jack White’s guitar, as well as the other instruments, sounded really dry. You simply did not have the sound you could have had at another location where the acoustics and technicians are better. Because of that, the songs (and soli) lost a lot of power and/or were not pleasant to listen to, and therefore tiring.

The band continued with a few Country songs, which were really great, because they made such a nice contrast to the other style(s) the guys were playing. During one song, Jack White even sat down on a piano chair (with his guitar still in hand!) and kept switching instruments back and forth. Even before the singer told the audience about it, you could already hear the influence from Nashville, the city he lives in now. At one stage, when he introduced all the band members to the audience, he explained different sounds and styles, accompanied by a solo of the musician currently presented, depending from where they originally come from.



The band went off stage after 45 minutes, but came back to play an encore (if you can actually still call it that) that lasted almost two hours. The spirit of the band, as well as their endurance, is to be highly praised. Nevertheless: people were getting tired, and so was the band. What you saw when you looked around yourself were static, sometimes even bored faces, and a band that gradually lost its energy. Toward the end, even though it did not seem like they didn’t enjoy playing, they were simply out of fuel. Many songs sounded quite alike, or had outros that were simply too long, which was particularly tiring because of the bad sound I mentioned before. Instead of including a few more full songs, there was a lot of instrumental improvisation going on. Not that I’m not a fan of that, but in this case it was mostly dull repetition. The best songs, in my mind, were Steady, As She Goes (by The Raconteurs), Whispering Sea (a Loretta Lynn cover), and especially the White Stripes’ track My Doorbell.

Down to Seven Nation Army business: of course he played it. Of course it was the last number. Of course the audience went mad. But, honestly, it should have come before. I could not tell whether he played it just because it was expected of him, or whether he actually enjoyed it. By keeping the song short, however, and sort of „overriding“ it, not paying a lot of attention to neither vocals nor guitar, the song did not turn out to be the climax of the evening.

The thing that really did impress me, however, was the things Jack White told the audience. He started his nostalgic notions by stating how no average teenager of today could tell „what makes the sound on a record“, and listed several examples of today’s trivial artists such as Taylor SwiftKaty Perry and Lady Gaga. What he did is remember everybody in the hall what music is really about, and that most of it is going in a wrong direction.

I went out of the venue with mixed emotions that night. On the one hand I struggled with my unfulfilled expectations, while on the other I felt Jack White had really brought that sense of spirit and musical purity among the audience of what this form of art is actually and truly about. It is thus no wonder that Robert Plant has communicated the wish to record a single with Jack White (apparently Love Me, originally by The Phantom). The two musicians really make a perfect match, ideologically as well as musically.

The thing that’s left for me to say: I do not regret having gone to this show. Just by having been part of the audience, you got the feeling that Jack White actually cherished your being there, as a part of where the real stuff happens.
Hopefully he managed to also bring the same sort of inspiration to students (since he participated in a roundtable discussion on The Rise And Fall of „Paramount Records“ on October 28th at Yale University).


Photo credits:
© Jack White Official