WHITESNAKE: 'MADE IN JAPAN' (DELUXE VERSION)
Does the world need another Whitesnake live release, I hear you cry? Of course it does if you're a Whitesnake fan.
Iron Maiden fans have been kept happy in recent times with almost every tour being documented in one way or another and it's only fitting that Coverdale and co treat us with this neat package in the Year Of The Snake.
Recorded at the Loud Park Festival from Saitama Super Arena Japan on the Forevermore World Tour, the performance was initially recorded for Japanese TV but after three songs were broadcast the Whitesnake camp received demands for the whole show to be made available. The Deluxe package features a Live DVD and CD featuring the entire set from that day plus another CD featuring sounchecks and acoustic numbers.
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So let's start with the DVD. The most recent DVD from Whitesnake was 'Live... In The Still Of The Night' filmed in 2004 at Hammersmith Apollo and released two years later. Whilst that release used some imaginative camera angles there was an annoyance at some of the arty black and white footage used. Thankfully this Japan show is filmed in glorious colour throughout.
What is of most interest is the new material from 'Forevermore' with the eponymous title track, the bluesy swing of 'Steal Your Heart Away' and 'Love Will Set You Free' being the main highlights on here.
Lots of camera action on Coverdale naturally plus the duelling antics of slingers Reb Beach and Doug Aldrich although it does take a bit of getting used to seeing the unfamiliar faces of bassist Michael Devin, drummer Brian Tichy (Now replaced by Tommy Aldrige) and guest keyboardist Brian Ruedy.
Bizarrely Briian Tichy does a drum solo at one stage where upon for some reason he brings out two kitchen knifes to thrill although he doesn't throw one in the air and catch it one handed... That would've been one drum solo I would've stayed away from the bar for.
The bonus footage on the DVD is unimaginative and holds no ninja surprises with slideshows and a couple of alternative videos. Footage of the band travelling through Japan or tomfoolery antics backstage or even live footage from the extra shows they did in Japan days after this show where they played a longer set would've made it a lot more interesting.
The live CD is the first from Whitesnake since 'Live... In The Shadows Of The Blues' from 2006. 'Made In Japan' has a much better clearer production and is an enjoyable listen, however you may want to get up and put the kettle on and make yourself a cup of Yorkshire Tea during the drum solo, but once again the tracks from 'Forevermore' are a treasure to own and you'll be reaching for the air guitar long before 'Still Of The Night' reaches it's climax.
The second live CD features Sound Check and acoustic versions of tracks from the last two Whitesnake albums and whether they were actually recorded on this Japanese jaunt is neither here or there as it sounds the band are having a blast with Coverdale being himself using some comical expletives away the from the paying fans. They have done an acoustic album before with 'Starkers In Tokyo' but that was done in front of business executives. A future acoustic album of Whitesnake classics recorded in a bar would be most welcome on this evidence.
All in all, this is a worthy addition to your Whitesnake collection. Domo arigato Mr Coverdale Roboto.