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Thunder, Whitesnake, Journey – Wembley Arena, 29th May 2013

A triple whammy of classic rock rolled into Wembley last night. Openers Thunder were more than capable of setting the pace, ripping into ‘Dirty Love’.  Singer Danny Bowes has a down to earth charisma, and the years haven’t diminished his pipes in the slightest. Last time I saw Thunder they had reformed to play the High Voltage festival, their rendition of ‘Gimme Some Lovin’ that day in Victoria Park was a sunny highlight. It looks like their reformation is a semi ongoing affair. Judging by the crowds reaction to gems like ‘Backstreet Symphony’ and ‘I Love You More Than Rock n Roll‘, their retirement can be put off for a good while yet.
THUNDER
Photo: Neil Kitson
Next up are Whitesnake, who for many steal the show tonight. David Coverdale is the poshest frontman in rock, he regally invites the crowd to ‘make some fucking noise’ as they launch into ‘Give Me All Your Love’ and ‘Ready and Willing’. After 35 years his vocal range may be slightly shorter and grittier overall, but his trademark rock deity swagger is as fun as ever. Coverdale may be Whitesnake’s only constant, but the rest of the band are no mere backing players, guitarists Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach trade solos, and longtime drummer Tommy Aldridge turns in a trademark solo that finishes with him punishing the kit with his bare hands like Animal from the muppets. New boy bass player Michael Devin also gets a bit of a harmonica solo. No one wants a bass solo. Chops duly proven it’s back to the hits, on a clear road to the land of ‘Here I Go Again’-dia.  It’s been a long time since Tawny Kitaen danced on the bonnet of Whitesnake’s car, but that tune is still a solid gold classic.
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Photo: Craig Thomas
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Photo: Ross Gilmore
After Whitesnake’s dirty blues rock, Journey come across as positively squeaky clean. Uplifting, harmonious and the epitome of radio friendly rock they cruise through their back catalogue, perhaps leaning a little on the rock edge, given tonight’s company. Lead Singer Arnel Pineda bounds around the stage, hitting every note perfectly, grinning from ear to ear like he still can’t believe his luck that he landed this gig. Neal Schon’s guitar playing is exemplary, never overly flashy, but driving and melodic.  Highlights include the beautiful ballad/singalong ‘Lights’. Where it seems mobile phone screens have replaced lighters as THE item to hold aloft for such songs now. ‘Anyway You Want It’ and ‘Open Arms’ are further highlights. But as with Whitesnake, (or Motörhead, Bryan Adams or Sinatra in his day) there’s one song they have to play before being allowed to leave the building. ‘Don’t Stop Believin‘ may owe a debt to Glee and The Sopranos for it’s new lease of life, but that doesn’t diminish it’s power and grandeur. Topped off with confetti cannons and a hearty goodbye, few could deny they got their money’s worth of RAWK and then some.
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 Photo: Dom Henry
Journey Performing at Manchester Arena - 23-05-2013
Photo: Sakura Henderson
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Photo: Dom Henry

Thunder Set List Wembley 29/05/13

Dirty Love

River Of Pain

Higher Ground

Low Life In High Places

Backstreet Symphony

The Devil Made Me Do It

Love Walked In

I Love You More Than Rock’n’Roll

 

Whitesnake Setlist

Give Me All Your Love

Ready an’ Willing

Can You Hear the Wind Blow

Don’t Break My Heart Again

Is This Love

Gambler

(dedicated to Mel Galley, Cozy Powell and Jon Lord)

Love Will Set You Free

Guitar Duel

(by Doug Aldrich & Reb Beach)

Steal Your Heart Away

(incl. Drum Solo by Tommy Aldridge)

Forevermore

Best Years

Bad Boys / Children of the Night

Fool for Your Loving

Here I Go Again

Still of the Night

 

Journey Set list

Separate Ways

Anyway you want it

Chain reaction

Only the young

Guitar segue

Stone in love

Keep on runnin

Edge of the blade

Lights

Keyboard segue

Open arms

Escape

Dead or Alive

Wheel in the sky

Faithfully

Be good to yourself

Don’t stop believin’

 

  1. It was a good show, but I am afraid for me, David Coverdale was very poo to say the least and sounded like he had swallowed to many sharp implements. Thunder was excellent and Journey for me was the band of the night. Spot on from from start to finish.

    1. Couldn’t agree more, i was there with my younger brother and we both drum and sing in our bands to the best of our limited abilities! I enjoyed most of Whitesnake’s early stuff in their set but didn’t see the need for all the f words, or the drum solo. Journey however were a breath of fresh air, Steve Perry is a hard act to follow but Arnel does it in spades. Fabulous voice, stunning harmonies, melodic guitars and keyboards and the drummer does what drummer’s are supposed to do, keep the beat and not try and brush his hair with his sticks on every beat

  2. Sorry I can’t agree with the assessment that Journey were the band of the night. Thunder were excellent, tight, great songs, great delivery a shame they coincided with the arrival of Nirvana or they’d have been huge. Coverdale’s voice may well be not the instrument it was as he’s 61 but they covered it well with the backing vocals. He has charisma by the bucket load. A bona fide rock star. A shame they didn’t play Ain’t No Love.
    Journey were to us sterile and rather forced. (They are my mate’s favourite band)-but even he said they were a bit lacking in grit and should have stayed in the 80s. Pineda can certainly sing but he looked rather like a munchkin who’d found his way to the front of the stage. He has yet to learn how to project his personality. He’s no Freddie Mercury or Phil Lynott or DLR. Neil Schon can play it’s true but he looked like someone trying to look cool (a baseball hat backwards? come on!), rather than being cool like Danny Bowes or Doug Aldrich.
    Horses for courses obviously but stick Journey up against Thin Lizzy or AC/DC or Van Halen or Queen in their pomp and they’d blow them away. Even today they would do so.

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