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    Whitesnake at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, CA
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David Coverdale and the boys bring the house down in San Francisco, California

in SF Concert Reviews by

It was a grey, cold, fog-filled summer evening on a Thursday night, when Whitesnake slithered their way into the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, California. The band had visited the city a few years ago when they came to The Warfield, and although this venue wasn’t as filled as it was the last time around – most likely the result of the Warriors basketball game final happening the same night – the excitement and energy in the air was the same and hard to ignore.
After a 30-minute break that followed the opening band, building tension for the full production that isWhitesnake to come to fruition, the band stormed the stage with style and grace, but mostly vengeance. It was a vengeance to show kids today how it’s done – how to play real music without the help of computers, with the same heart and passion that put these guys on the map when they first came out back in 1978.
You have to give it to Coverdale and boys (although not so much boys any more) for putting on an amazing, sweaty, and dramatic performance. Coverdale, a 50-something man still sporting a flowing mane and statuesque physique, hit the same notes with the bluesy broken voice that made him famous when he was first discovered in Deep Purple. When you see him in person, he is one of the few ageless rockstars that sings better as the years go on – much in the same way that a fine bottle of wine develops its real character after years in the cellar.
The set tonight was a good mix of old and new, but mostly served to showcase the band’s newest release, “Purple.” The ever-confident and charming Coverdale took time to explain the meaning behind the album’s name, which was inspired by the need to pay homage to his humble beginnings in Deep Purple. It’s no wonder Glenn Hughes decided to make a special appearance at the Los Angeles show – perfect timing for these two old friends to reconnect.
All in all, the new songs that were presented to this loyal fan base – the people who have stood by Coverdale throughout the years – have great potential to evolve into hits. Songs such as “Burn,” “The Gipsy,” “Sail Away,” “Mistreated,” and “Lady Double Healer,” which were all introduced at the show, contain the perfect mix of groove, lyrics, and catchy melodies. The show itself was also a special treat: it featured the great Animal-esque Tommy Aldridge on the kit, who was one of the originals members of the band. Reb Beach from Winger fame brought his A-game on the leads, reminding us all why he’s graced the covers of so many Guitar magazines.
Most will agree that rock music today has become a non-existent genre, but it’s bands like Whitesnake that remind us all why it dominated the charts for so many years, influencing the style and attitudes of people all around the world. It’s really too bad that the iPhone generation will never get a chance to experience this firsthand, apart from maybe tapping on an electric guitar made out of plastic that’s plugged into video game like Rockband or Guitar Hero.

David Coverdale giving it all he's got at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, California

An avid drummer whose discography includes albums on Digital Nations (a Steve Vai imprint), music critic Louis Raphael has always kept a pulse on the San Francisco music scene. After many years as the San Francisco Music Examiner for Examiner.com and AXS.com, he decided to start Music in SF® as a way to showcase what the San Francisco music scene really has to offer.