Whitesnake, Foreigner and Europe Newcastle Utilita Arena 14 May 2022

white tixTo my shame, I arrived late and missed. I have never seen them and “Final Countdown” is a great rock song and one of my daughter Ashleigh’s favourite songs. She told me off later for missing their set. My carer Jan and I arrived just in time to buy a couple of programmes and take our seats as had just started their set. This was not your regular “support act”. Foreigner are, of course, a massively successful band and worthy of headliner status themselves. Therefore they played a full length set comprising major hits including “Cold As Ice” and closer singalong “I Want to Know What Love Is”. It is a long time since I have seen Foreigner, the last time being as support act for Led Zeppelin at their reunion concert in the O2 London. Before that I think it was at the Reading Festival in the late 1970s when they were just breaking through as a major act. I had forgotten just how great they are, how many classic rock songs they have produced and I must say I was incredibly impressed by them; their songs, the performance and the musicianship. The band’s lineup has changed many times over the years and now comprises only one original member, Mick Jones who hails from the UK. Mick was originally a member of Spooky Tooth, a 1960s progressive rock band, before he left for America, wrote a bunch of great songs and formed Foreigner to perform them, along with ex-King Crimson member Ian Macdonald (who left the band a long time ago).

white 1The rest of the members of the band are all American, hence the name Foreigner (the band being UK/American and thus “foreign” in both countries!) I was looking around the stage, wondering where Mick Jones was. He came on to join the rest of the band for the last three songs playing guitar and keyboards. I am not sure if he is unwell, but he looked great and it was wonderful to see him again with the rest of his band. By the way, this takes me back to my long-time question “when is a band not a band?” Before Mick Jones joined the band on stage the Foreigner performing in front of us had no original members. However this did not detract from their performance. Many of the crowd may not have realised or even cared. To summarise, Foreigner were excellent and the 10,000 capacity crowd were really hyped up for the final act and headliner, Whitesnake.

David Coverdale, Whitesnake and I go back a long way since I first saw him fronting Deep Purple as their new vocalist on the Burn tour at Newcastle Odeon in 1974. I remember being very nervous and curious, wondering how anyone could replace Ian Gillan as lead vocalist. I need not have worried. David Coverdale came onstage and blew us away with his tremendous presence and powerful vocals on now classics such as title track “Burn” and my personal favourite “Mistreated “. I then saw him in an early band at Redcar Coatham Bowl (Coverdalewhite prog comes from Saltburn in the Middlesbrough area) and in various incarnations of Whitesnake at Newcastle City Hall, Reading Rock Festival and Donington Monsters of Rock. Throughout the years the line-up of Whitesnake has changed, starting off with a UK lineup featuring former Deep Purple members Jon Lord and Ian Paice, alongside guitarists Mickey Moody and Bernie Marsden. Coverdale then went to the USA and surrounded himself with a new American band. Worldwide fame followed! Throughout these times David Coverdale has continued to front the band taking the lead with tremendous soaring, screaming, screeching, excellent vocals.

white 4Coverdale was on excellent form, taking total command of the audience who sang along with him and followed his every move, as he threw the mic stand up in the air and led his band through classic tracks including my favourites “Ain’t No Love In the Heart of the City”, “Fool For Your Loving” and “Here I Go Again”. I was hoping he would sing “Mistreated” but instead Whitesnake closed with an incendiary version of the Purple classic “Burn”. Just as good. Coverdale’s voice was as powerful and strong as ever. Amazing. Jan and I both agreed it had been a fantastic concert.

white5One final Whitesnake memory. Coverdale and his band headlined the final, Sunday night of the Reading Festival in 1980. My friend Davey and I returned to our tents. “I’m sure my tent was here” I said to Davey. I walked round and round and sure enough there was an empty space where my tent had been. Someone had stolen my tent! I crawled into Davey’s small tent where we both lay squashed for the evening. Happy days.

Whitesnake Setlist: Bad Boys; Slide It In; Love Ain’t No Stranger; Hey You (You Make Me Rock); Slow an’ Easy; Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City; Fool for Your Loving; Crying in the Rain; Is This Love; Give Me All Your Love; Here I Go Again; Still of the Night; Burn

16 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by David Pallant on May 18, 2022 at 6:28 pm

    Great review, sounds like a great concert. I saw Foreigner at Reading Rock Festival on their first UK tour. Lead singer appeared p**sed out of his skull but still brilliant. I loved the original Whitesnake lineup with Marsden and Moody dual lead guitars and ‘Duck’ Dowle on bass.


    • Posted by vintagerock on May 19, 2022 at 1:26 pm

      Hi David. I loved those Reading festivals. I have so many happy memories of some wild nights there! My friends would always dive off the bridge into the river. I never had the bottle! Happy days Peter


  2. Posted by John Johnstone on May 19, 2022 at 12:10 am

    Just come back from seeing these bands at Manchester Arena tonight. A thoroughly entertaining set of gigs, especially hearing all the classics. I thought that Mick Jones would have appeared but he didn’t, maybe health issues? Moving on to Whitesnake, I saw Coverdale at the 1974 Deep Purple Odeon gig and was blown away. I then saw him at Ashington Regal touring the early Whitesnake, again knocked out by his performance. Since then, I have seen and enjoyed the band on numerous occasions. However, I felt that tonight his voice has finally lost it. His two keyboards players (and the crowd) sang a lot of the lines and he really struggled to hit any of the high notes. Mind you, the sound at the Arena was atrocious and this didn’t help either. Despite all this, I still enjoyed the nostalgia of it all and am sorry that I probably won’t see Whitesnake again.


    • Posted by vintagerock on May 19, 2022 at 1:21 pm

      Thanks John. I remember the Ashington gig. I went to see a couple of bands there Squeeze and Slade I think? But for some reason I missed the Whitesnake show. I can see what you mean about Coverdale’s voice and I felt the same last time I saw him at the City Hall, but I actually think he did pretty well at the Arena the other night. Yes I suspect Mick Jones must have health issues. I agree with you it is a shame that we may not see Whitesnake again. Another part of my youth gone! Let’s catch them while we still can! Happy days Peter


  3. Did he actually sing all the songs as there were rumours of recordings. Was thinking of going to Manchester but uhhmed and ahhed about it. Think I was put off by watching Deep Purple on a cruise ship gig in February being decidedly cabaret and of course nowt from Coverdale era.


    • Posted by vintagerock on May 19, 2022 at 12:58 pm

      Hi Harry it seemed to me that Coverdale was really singing the songs; no recordings. But then who knows? Whatever, I enjoyed it anyway! My friend in America goes on the cruises and saw Purple and quite enjoyed them, I think. I’m intending to go to see them at Leeds Arena later in the year. I suppose my attitude is to see bands while I still can and they are still here! 🙂 Peter


  4. Yes very true. Can’t expect these fellas to recreate their pomp at their age and as you say why not enjoy while they are still around. The addition of BoC on the Purple bill may persuade me!


    • Posted by vintagerock on May 20, 2022 at 11:18 am

      Yes Harry it is a good strong bill happy days Peter


      • Would like to see Saxon for the first time in decades and also the Scorpions – first day as a reporter around 1982 I had tickets for the Scorps at the Liverpool Empire and was informed I would be spending the night at a parish council meeting. It still rankles…..

      • Posted by vintagerock on May 22, 2022 at 12:16 pm

        Yes I agree Harry. Those are both bands that I have not seen for many years. As far as I am aware The Scorpions have not been over here for some years, but are currently on a world tour, so they may visit here at some point?However Saxon tour quite often and I think they are doing so at the moment. You have tempted me to try and catch them when I next can! Best wishes Peter

      • Just had a recent Scorpions concert on while doing Sunday lunch and some very disappointing omissions, in fact I’d rate the Tokyo Tapes set list better than the current one.
        I was recently shocked to learn that Saxon had actually played in Manchester the previous night. Madness (I’m in Cheshire)

      • Posted by vintagerock on May 22, 2022 at 3:24 pm

        Yes I know that Saxon were touring recently. They seem to tour quite often so I’m sure you will get another chance to see them. I think I will try and see them next time they come to the north-east. I saw them many times in the early days included in working men’s clubs in the north-east when they were known as Son of a Bitch! Happy days. Peter

  5. I bought the first album on the basis of the cover and lo and behold a week later they played a club in Hartlepool. I think they were staggered that someone knew the words to Frozen Rainbow!


    • Posted by vintagerock on May 23, 2022 at 11:44 am

      Yes they were great in those days, Harry. They worked hard for their success and deserve it. Happy days Peter


  6. Hi Peter, enjoy your reviews (and the comments) very much. Thought you might enjoy listening to this interview with bassist Tanya O’Callaghan, which went out on RTE Radio 1 a few weeks ago. https://www.rte.ie/radio/radio1/clips/22094156/


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