GIG REVIEW – Whitesnake with Journey and Thunder, Wembley Arena May 29 2013

When I discovered that Whitesnake were hitting London this year I knew it was inevitable that I’d be going as they are a band I’ve been a big fan of since the age of 15. With Journey and Thunder on the list as well I was expecting an excellent night, and an excellent night I had.

After the compulsory buying of a t-shirt and toilet visit I managed to find my seat and get comfortable as I waited for Thunder to hit the stage. After some fiddling with my phone and text exchanges, the lights dimmed, the stage lit up and spotlights began flashing to the repeated chant of “THUNDER!”

Very soon, the flashing stopped and Thunder ran onto the stage to their positions. At this my insides began rolling and I felt myself almost crying with excitement. The night had begun.

I’ve only really heard a small number of Thunder’s tunes with the only one I really know well being ‘Love Walked In’, but their set was excellent and very memorable with Danny Bowes’ bad dancing and conversing with the audience. However, I was slightly disappointed at the shortness of their set which lasted only 45 minutes to an hour meaning no more than 7 or 8 songs could be fitted in.

Thunder’s performance was top notch and for a bunch of aging rockers, they still have it. A band I would happily pay to see again. Overall rating: 8/10

Next up were, surprisingly, Whitesnake (I expected Journey to be second), a band I’ve enjoyed listening to for a number of years with both their new and old stuff being some of my favourite music/songs which I’ve never gotten bored of.

In recent months I’ve commented on David Coverdale’s face melting, yet his showmanship, in my opinion, is still there. A little croaky at times, but still able to hit the high notes, I hope he doesn’t give up his day (and night) job any time soon.

The band were also great with sound levels being just right and each musician having the chance to play a solo, minus the bassist. Reb Beach and Doug Aldrich happily battled it out on guitars before Tommy Aldridge gave us his infamous hand-drum solo which I couldn’t help but continuously think must’ve hurt as it was being performed.

Playing all the hits including ‘Is this Love,’ ‘Good to be Bad’ and what I now believe is their staple finisher ‘In the Still of the Night’ Whitesnake were one band not to be missed, and at 35 years old, still able to put on a fantastic show. Getting to see the Snake play live marked the seeing of almost every band I’ve wanted to and despite being on the other side of London, the trip was fully worth it. Overall rating: 9/10

Third up were, of course, Journey, the band I expected to see on stage second rather than headlining. Journey is a band I’ve listened to very little with most of it being heard on Planet Rock radio or similar and not fully by choice. I’d enjoyed what I heard, but doubt that I would’ve paid just to see them. And tonight’s experience helped to confirm that.

They were good, but could’ve been much better. In agreement with the commentary over Facebook I’ll say their instruments were a little too loud resulting in too much distortion and all blending into one. However, the singer, despite lacking volume, was entertaining and lively. Saying that, I did take a toilet break near the end of their set (something I’ve not done before) and noticed a large number of other attendees stood waiting for their partners and friends and at that I found myself joining them and leaving a little early in order to avoid the crowds and full trains.

Journey are a band definitely worth listening to studio-wise, but tonight’s performance has put me off of seeing them live again. Overall rating: 5/10

Pete Kent

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