Looking back when I first heard the name of Whitesnake forty years ago this summer its only fitting that “Live…In The Heart of the City” would be a summer time spin as it was the summer of 1981 that I ever had my first taste of the ‘Snake.
Also when I think about looking back at a lot of bands, live albums were my entry point into discovering them. “KISS ALIVE 2”, “Cheap Trick at Budokan”, “Judas Priest with Unleashed In The East” and now Whitesnake with this stellar release of “Live…In The Heart of the City.”
No wonder I still love albums even to this day.
Rewind back to the Summer of ’81 shall we?!
I never had a big brother or sister in which I could raid their record collections to discover music. It was pretty much up to me for discovery.
I can recall two times though that this wasn’t the case. Back around 1981 a good close personal friend of my Dad’s, Ken Schmidt (RIP) passed onto me Aerosmith’s “Draw The Line” record which I had only read about in the magazines at the time (Creem, Circus) and that was my entry point into Aerosmith. Needless my mind was blown upon first hearing the title track!
The second time was at my high school pal’s house Darcy. Now Darcy had an older brother named Stacy and one day when I was at there place Stacy called us over to the stereo and he showed the cover of this new (to me) band called Whitesnake!
Before I heard a note I had already judged the cover!
To my 15 year old eyes at the time that cover looked like a mix of a hippy ( Micky Moody on the left side of the cover) and a bunch of old farts. (take your pick!)
Before I could outright dismiss it, Stacy dropped the needle on the last track of Side One that being “Love Hunter”.
I was blown away I never heard this kind of hard rock before. I was basically mesmerized that here I am in Thunder Bay listening to that hippy Mickey Moody slam through some serious slide guitar and how about that hookup with mutton chops on the drums Ian Paice as they go to town together for a little side ways jam before the band comes back in?!
So good..I didn’t need to hear the rest I needed my own copy and shortly after I did.
“Come On” begins the proceeding as lead throat David Coverdale lays down the law vocally. It’s a great opener which slams right into the guitar mashup of both Bernie Marsden and Micky Moody that takes off right into “Sweet Talker”!
What a great track and even better the late Jon Lord pounds the hammond which goes right into Moody’s solo.
David Coverdale being the boss man of Snake put together a great lineup of course by adding his old homeboys from Deep Purple(Paice and Lord) which I’m sure helped sell albums and tickets in Europe.
“Walking In The Shadows of the Blues” is a great track. Lots of great tempo changes and a really stellar performance by the band. Wow just Wow!
Side Two is three songs only beginning with the bluesy “Ain’t No Love In The Heart of the City “complete with crowd participation followed by what I would consider the best Snake version of “Fool For Your Loving.*
“Take Me With” ends the album on warp speed and its amazing that these geezers could lift off and play at this speed.
What a friggin brilliant live album!
Funny how in North America Whitesnake wouldn’t make a dent til about ’84 when Geffen Records, well basically John Kalodner came in and told Coverdale to get rid of these hippies so adios Moody but thats another story for another time.
Going back to 81 I still remember going to my good pal Muc’s house in the fall of that year (before the snow came) and there was a copy of the new Whitesnake album ‘Come And Get It!”
So here we are in forty years later in August 2021 and a new mint copy of this album was due! I ordered this ‘Snake album from the Ladano approved Encore Records in Kitchener Ontario and got myself an updated coloured copy of this record!
*- Coverdale thought it would be a great idea in ’89 to release another version of “Fool For Your Loving” with Steve Vai. My 2 cents on this matter is even though Vai is good on some of the original songs on Slip of the Tongue. Vai though wacking off on that wang bar on his guitar on “Fool For Your Loving” is all wrong!
Coverdale should have brought back that old hippie for that track!