CD Review: Live At Donington 1990, By Whitesnake
I hope you enjoy my review of this fiery Live Recording By Whitesnake!
If You Enjoy A Great Rock Concert, You Have Come To The Right Place!
Listening to this album brought back a lot of great memories for me. No, I was not at the Donington show, but I did see Whitesnake when they played my city on the Slip Of The Tongue tour that year. Recorded on April 18, 1990, at the UK Monsters Of Rock festival, Live At Donington features a seventeen song set list on two CDs, and clocks in at nearly one hour and forty-five minutes of music. It features the best-known Whitesnake line-up, performing all of their biggest hits at the pinnacle of their career.
This concert has long been considered one of the band's most triumphant performances, and although bootlegged recordings have been widely circulated since the concert took place, fans have been clamoring for an official release. Well, it took twenty years, but it's finally here! On June 7, 2011, that wish finally came true. The show can now be purchased on both audio CD and DVD. There is also a special limited edition box set, which contains both formats at a slightly reduced price. Naturally, I chose that option!
The performances in this show are raw and energetic. They really give the listener the feel of being there. However, it must be noted that both the audio and video quality here are not one hundred percent perfect by today's standards. That only stands to reason when you consider that these recordings had not been intended for commercial release. Originally, the audio was recorded to be broadcast live on BBC radio, so it was mixed on the fly. Likewise, the video, although professionally shot, was intended to serve as real-time footage displayed on huge video screens so that audience members in the back of the venue could have a clear view of what was taking place on the stage. So, while every effort was made to raise the quality level as much as possible, some flaws do remain. Fortunately, the tiny flaws do not make this album any less enjoyable.
To be truthful, I actually prefer that when listening to a live concert recording. Live music isn't always slick and perfectly polished; human musicians sometimes make mistakes when playing or encounter mishaps when performing. I feel that removing those detracts from the authenticity of the show! When you listen to a live recording, you want it to have a spontaneous, “in-the-moment” feel to it. Unless the mistakes are horrendous and glaringly obvious, the recording should be left as is! Live music should be accepted for what it is, and you should love it warts and all!
It is easy to tell that this concert was a party! The audience is enthusiastic and engaged, returning every bit of the energy that the band is throwing out at them! The musicians all give exceptionally strong performances, roaring through song after song like a runaway freight train! As for the music on this one, every great Whitesnake song makes an appearance. Just a few highlights include: Slide It In, Slow & Easy, Still Of The Night, Here I Go Again, Is This Love, and Judgment Day. They even took full advantage of Steve Vai's presence in the band, giving him a solo spot in the show. He performs two instrumentals from his Passion & Warfare album, which had just been released at that time. These were For The Love Of God, and The Audience Is Listening. Both are impeccably performed, and Vai keeps things interesting with a great deal of inventive improvisation!
If you love a good rock show as I do, then this live album is for you. Just hearing it will give you the feeling that you are right there among the thousands of sweating, screaming, maniacal fans, with the massive P.A. rumbling the ground beneath your feet as you shout the words to every chorus! If you don't believe me, try it for yourself. Pick up the CD, take it home, drop it in your player, crank it, and see if you can bring the fantasy to life! I know you will!