Whitesnake: Live...In The Still Of The Night Review
I'll be honest. My attention may have been elsewhere during the watching of this DVD. Not, you'll understand, was it diverted by the women in the audience nor my marvelling at the sight of David Coverdale - fitter, it has to be said, than the average fifty-six-year-old but it's beginning to show in his face - more that I abhor the skonking, buzzing sound of the soft rock offered by Whitesnake since their greatest commercial success some twenty years ago. Back then, it seemed de riguer for any with a notion towards rock to pass by anything that might ever be considered credible in favour of the likes of WASP, Bon Jovi and, yes, Whitesnake. And for all the times that Fool For Your Loving, Is This Love and Here I Go Again played on Radio 1 - The Nation's Favourite is it truthfully and depressingly described itself at the time - and on the stereo in my school's sixth-form form, I simply couldn't quite draw myself to give it my full attention.
Actually, Coverdale, like Ian Gillan and Ronnie James Dio, appears to be one of those rock stars who have been with us a long time without ever appearing to be very well liked. Robert Plant, who, I would imagine, has forgiven Jimmy Page much over the years, still refuses to talk about the guitarist's short-lived collaboration with David Coverdale. And, speaking of Plant, the only way David Coverdale could have made it any more obvious that he'd been influenced by/ripped off the Led Zeppelin frontman is if he'd gone on stage fronting a Zeppelin tribute band, humming Whole Lotta Love and wearing a photo of Plant's face over his own.
But, given the nature of this site - from experience, woe betide anyone who dares criticise a band - I'll pass on any further insulting of David Coverdale. Not that he doesn't deserve it mind but if you're reading this, you're probably not caring for the tone that it's taken. And so, on to the actual disc, which features the band onstage at the Hammersmith Apollo and performing all of their best known songs...and - good God! - a drum solo. What we have, then, are recordings of Burn, Love Ain't No Stranger, Ready An' Willing, Is This Love, Crying In The Rain and, as the set nears its end, Fool For Your Loving, Here I Go Again and Still Of The Night, which are so close to the original versions that any differences are not worth mentioning. Coverdale, regardless of what I might personally think of him, is a good singer and does well on a stage than those half his age - and there are plenty of them - would be lost within.
That said, the problem with the likes of Whitesnake, Dio and the many varied eras of Deep Purple and Rainbow is that it often comes down to one man alone, Coverdale in this case. His backing musicians, all of whom are very good, are somewhat anonymous and though they gamely hang off one another's shoulders and give their frontman space, they can't help but look a bit dull in comparison to Coverdale, who's so clearly the star of this show that the others could ask that their roadies and techs cover for them for a night and few would be none the wiser. But if what one wants from a Whitesnake DVD release are the hits interspersed with what I suspect are some of the better-known album tracks then Live...In The Still Of The Night is a decent release but one that lacks in imagination.
There's a good deal of choice with Live...In The Still Of The Night. As well as the DD2.0 Stereo soundtrack that one would expect, there's also three digital 5.1 tracks, including SRS5.1, DD5.1 and DTS5.1. Having confessed a preference for stereo on these pages before as regards music releases, it remains my audio track of choice for this disc with the others adding something in the way of ambience but little that sounds natural. However, out of the three 5.1 surround options, it is the DTS that sounds the best, delivering more bass as well as treble of a slightly higher clarity. On the other hand, the video is no great shakes, doing all that it's called upon to do but doing it without flair. Indeed, background detail is lost entirely with the cameras tending to focus solely on the foreground.
The main extra included in the set is a bonus live CD of ten songs, culled from the same set as that on the DVD. This begins with Burn, ends with Still Of The Night and includes the likes of Is This Love, Fool For Your Loving and Here I Go Again. The presentation of these ten songs is fairly decent and Whitesnake have obviously avoided any post-concert dubbing, leaving them sounding good but with much less of the audience than I might have expected. Indeed, at one point, Coverdale, warming up to the chorus of Here I Go Again, says to the audience, "Let's sing it together!"...but still sounds very much alone!
Onto the DVD and the special features include a Photo Gallery (4m46s), which plays as a movie. Otherwise, there's a Documentary (14m17s), which features interview a David Coverdale, sped-up footage of the stage being constructed, the sound check, chats with the backstage crew and the musicians in the band talking about their instruments. And David Coverdale backstage doing not crack, three bottles of whiskey and the job of deflowering a virgin but yoga. Yoga, I tell you! But then, just when it looks as if it might be over, the doors open and we're treated to the sight of a Whitesnake audience, which seems to leap between young, good-looking blonde women and old, fat, bearded men. One suspects that the men and women in the audience arrived and, as is most likely, left together.
Given that many more people take umbrage at reviews of music DVDs than they do of films, I'm prepared to accept the inevitable threats of violence, being called a wanker and to prove that I've done something to prove myself worthy to criticise David Coverdale. However, I do not like Whitesnake, never have and never will, thinking them an awful pop-rock band from a time when all I wanted was feedback, distortion and lyrics that suggested drug use, weird sex and anarchy, none of which is on offer here.