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Whitesnake/Warrant Live in Phoenix

By Tokemaster General, Contributor
Wednesday, August 6, 2003 @ 1:47 PM


Whitesnake, Warrant, Kip Winge

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REVIEW BY: Julian Pepper Rose

Though Cricket Pavilion was only half full, 2000-plus people witnessed an amazing (and a bit odd) show Friday night. A drummer playing with no hands, a singer with no band, an out-of-shape singer smoking the entire night, lots of girls flashing their boobs, and… well, a guy named Reb -- all in all, a great night of rock and roll.

Slaughter went first and did a pretty good job. They played all their hits. Mark hit all the high notes and the band sounded pretty tight. I missed part of their performance, but nobody really came to see them anyway. An average band from the ‘80s, but on their behalf, they sounded a lot better than some of the bands I’ve seen recently. Mark actually ran into the crowd for a while, slapping hands and stopped to sing a bit with a group of fans.

Kip Winger was up next. That’s right, I said “Kip Winger,” not Winger. Kip came out with a guitar, BY HIMSELF, and played. I haven’t heard an audience this quiet since John Denver came to Arizona and performed at the Mime-Deaf Mute convention in 1987. I admired his bravery -- going onstage alone -- but of all the bands from the ‘80s and ‘90s, Kip is not one I’d want to see playing an acoustic set. Give me Slash and Axl Rose. Give me George Lynch and Don Dokken. I always thought the best thing about Winger was Rob Beach. Watching Kip perform without his band was like biting into a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup… and discovering they forgot to put in the peanut butter.

At one point Kip told the crowd they sucked because they wouldn't sing along. Kip pointed to a guy in the front row that was flipping him off all show and Kip pointed the guy out and told the crowd that that guy that he was shitty. I yelled back at Kip that I’d beat him like a pimp beats his ho when she comes home empty handed at the end of the night.

At the end of Kip’s performance, he said the crowd rocked, even the guy that was flipping him off the whole time.

Warrant was up next. What a trip. Let me tell you, Warrant takes a lot of crap from hard rock fans and they often get lumped in with bands like Poison. BUT, anybody that has seen Warrant perform live has nothing but respect for them. This is one of the bands that is 100 times better live than they are on CD. Sure, their image is big hair, make up and soft songs. But live they tear it up. All I can say, is even if you don’t believe me and think Warrant is gay, spend some cash and see them live.

Warrant opened with “Down Boys” and the place went crazy. The band was tight -- the guitar players were ripping it up. The solos were fast and fast and fast -- something most of today’s music is missing. In my view you can never have too many guitar solos. “Cherry Pie” started off tight, but they had sound glitches and problems during it. The ballads were nice – “I Saw Red” and “Heaven” got great crowd reaction and sounded fantastic live. They closed with “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” a great song that sounds even better live. Warrant sounds more Hard Rock when they perform live rather than a pop hair band. I think they even surprised a lot of people at the show who expected them to suck. On the downside, Jani Lane is fatter than hell, and smoked cigs the entire night.

I’ve always felt that David Coverdale was very underrated as a singer. The stuff he’s released that wasn’t “popular” has been magnificent. Whitesnake was in top form Friday night.

They opened up with “Bad Boys” and quickly showed that 40-to-50 year old men can rock with the best of them. They played “Is This love,” “Slow and Easy,” “Love Ain’t No Stranger,” “Crying In The Rain,” Give Me All Your Love,” “Fool For Your Lovin’,” “Judgement Day” and “Slide It In” (people were fainting they were yelling so loud on this song). The highlight of the evening, in my opinion, was “Here I Go Again” -- it sounded better now than it did 15 years ago. Coverdale was full of emotion and looked like a man singing his heart out.

They closed the show with “Still of The Night” -- one of the 10 best hard rock songs of the ‘80s. The crowd was hopping around like an old man after eating 10 Viagras. This is a Hard Rock band with a great Blues feel to it. Coverdale’s voice was not quite as strong as it was earlier this year when he came to town with the Scorpions -- but that’s understandable after a year of touring.

Oh yeah, speaking of Reb Beach, maybe the reason he wasn’t playing with Winger is because he was slinging his axe for Whitesnake. Yeah, a little weird… but at least he got to play. Reb clearly made the better choice, picking Coverdale over Winger. Reb did some amazing solos and was a joy to watch. He’s an incredible guitar player. Tommy Aldrich also did a pretty cool drum solo, using only his bare hands.

Everybody around me seemed very happy. This is a concert I would recommend you to go see -- even if none of the bands are your favorite.



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