Rock was alive and well on Tuesday night at Ruth Eckerd Hall! Upon arrival on the patio, Gary Schutt and his band Panic Fire were getting the crowd warmed up for a night of kickass music! Schutt who is one of Tampa Bay’s best rock guitarists, has a Whitesnake connection having worked with guitarist Joel Hoekstra on his solo project – Joel Hoekstra’s 13- Dying to Live.
Inside the Ruthie, opening act The Black Moods was getting ready to take the stage. Hailing from Phoenix, this three man band is a powerhouse of rock. They are getting a lot of buzz and have opened for the Gin Blossoms, Lita Ford and Candlebox. Josh Kennedy is on vocals and guitar, Chico Diaz on drums/vocals and Jordan Hoffman on bass/vocals. Their self-titled CD was released in 2012 and their current single is “Bad News” released last month and you can check out the video on YouTube. Their setlist included originals “Someone to Save Us” and “Bella Donna”. No doubt, we will hear more about this band in the future!
Waiting for Whitesnake to make their arrival to the stage, we are treated to The Who’s ageless anthem “My Generation”, which is a perfect intro for English rocker David Coverdale. Mr. Coverdale was the vocalist in the mid 70’s for the mega rock band Deep Purple! A Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, Coverdale left Deep Purple and started the successful 80’s into the 90’s band Whitesnake. In the MTV 80’s, Mr. Coverdale & Co. became heavily rotated with such classics as “Here We Go Again” and “Is this Love”.
They brought those tunes along on the setlist but they also brought new material from their soon to be released album “Flesh & Blood”. A catchy rocker is “Shut Up and Kiss Me”. Be sure and check out the new video for the song as David used the same famous Jaguar that Tawny Kitaen rolled around on in the 1987 video. Most of the audience seemed to already know the tune and if they didn’t by the end they were singing to the chorus. Devoted diehard fans peppered the nearly sold-out show with Whitesnake t-shirts and leather.
Coverdale himself wore his team’s hoodie. Guitarist Reb Beach who also plays in Kip Winger’s band is proficient. Joel Hoekstra is a perfect rock guitarist throwing his long blonde mane around and raising his guitar in the air while playing a riff to the delight of female fans. The two guitarists duel on “Snake Dance” which is a treat for guitar aficionados in the house. Drummer Tommy Aldridge takes it to another level on his solo by losing the sticks and playing with his hands on “Get Up”. Bassist Michael Devin keeps it moving, he is the former bassist for Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience. Michele Luppi is amazing on the keyboards. Coverdale surrounds himself with a stellar band and a great light show. A simple but great rock show that is all about the music and the fans! He brought out the hits the audience was waiting for and closed it out with “Still of the Night”
The new album drops on May 10th, check out whitesnake.com for info and tour dates
Photos courtesy of Vicky Sullivan / The Sarasota Post