Whitesnake – Back to the Bone: Live ’84
Release Date: November 10, 2014
Label: Caroline (Universal)
Whitesnake is the last band I expected to see a new album from in 2014. Whitesnake honestly hasn’t put out a truly great album since Slide It In. Yeah, Nevermore was ok and I’m sure if you asked my 15 year old self I would’ve sung the praises of the ’87 album and the atrocious Slip of the Tongue album but as a grown man, that stuff just sounds absolutely juvenile and ridiculous. If you would have told me at any point in the last 11 months that Whitesnake would put out one of the best fucking albums I’ve heard all year I would’ve seriously laughed in your face but that’s just what happened.
Live in ’84: Back to the Bone captures Whitesnake on the tour that supported the classic ’84 album Slide it In and I can barely put to words just how kick ass the band sounds. I mean, nothing about this lineup sucks. John Sykes on guitar, Neil Murray on bass and Cozy Powell on drums on paper alone looks amazing but together with David Coverdale on the mic and on top of his game put on an absolutely amazing performance.
Opening with “Gambler” literally had me sitting on edge of my seat and totally feeling it but it was “Love Aint No Stranger” that made the hairs on my arms stand at full attention. Coverdale’s soulful crooning that beautiful organ piece was so beautiful only to have the band kick in and your ass to yourself on a silver platter of kick ass rock and roll. Other notable highlights are the mach speed rendition of “Walking in the Shadow of the Blues” and a “Crying in the Rain” that has guitarist John Sykes solidifying his role and earning the status of guitar god with and epically face melting solo.
In addition to this stellar album is a bonus disc of material featuring legendary keyboardist Jon Lord’s final performance with Whitesnake. It is so fucking cool to hear Lord just ripping shit up on the keys and the version of him playing “Love Ain’t No Stranger” totally gave me chills. Hearing that man at work you can totally tell that Lord had the ability to stand out from the pack of just the average onstage keyboardists. Including this little bonus was a great and much deserved tribute to a rock and roll icon that has since left us.
Back to the Bone is a stellar release and what I love about it more than anything is that it is a truly LIVE album in the truest sense of the word. Back to the Bone captures Whitesnake live, warts and all, in a chapter that for so many years seemed to go sadly ignored and overlooked. This is Whitesnake at their peak and this is the Whitesnake I love. Before they were MTV darlings, Whitesnake was a truly great and magical band and this live set proves that without a doubt. This is a must have for everyone who loves great, passionate, raw hard rock and roll.