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JOURNEY / WHITESNAKE / THUNDER (Live) - The Metro Arena Newcastle (UK), May 22, 2013

by: MICK BURGESS

Email: mick@ metalexpressradio.com

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Times are tough at the moment and money is short so the prospect of three Rock giants Journey, Whitesnake, and Thunder on one bill is enough to tempt open even the tightest of wallets.

Thunder, who recently reformed especially for this tour, were the perfect band to open the show.† In a set with absolutely no filler, Thunder delivered a greatest hits show that really set the ball rolling.† Lead singer Danny Bowes, with his cheeky Cockney charm, took no time at all getting the crowd to their feet with "Dirty Love" and the Bad Company-like "I Love You More Than Rock and Roll," while their big ballad, "Love Walked In," showed Bowes' voice had lost none of its edge.

Thunder

With Thunder heading back into semi-retirement after this tour, this could be the last chance to see them live until their busy schedules align and the right opportunity arises to tempt them back on stage together again, but for now at least Newcastle lapped up the energy and enthusiasm from the stage.

Whitesnake

†With a lively opening from Thunder setting the bar high, Whitesnake had to hit the ground running and "Give Me All Your Love" did just that.† For a grandfather in his `60s,†David Coverdale has certainly weathered the ravages of time better than most.† Maybe it`s the copious cups of tea he drinks or moving from Teesside to the beautiful Lake Tahoe in Sierra Nevada that has done the trick, but whatever it is he should bottle it and flog it.

Although his voice at times can`t quite reach the heights of yesteryear, Coverdale more than makes up for it with his showmanship and charisma, which he has by the spadeful. Coverdale dominates the huge stage making even those at the back feel part of the show.

A real treat for vintage Whitesnake fans came when original guitarist† Bernie Marsden made a surprise appearance during "Fool For Your Loving" and a touching tribute to fallen past members Jon Lord, Cozy Powell and Mel Galley prior to "Love Will Set You Free" brought a tinge of sadness and celebration to the night.

Whitesnake

With Whitesnake covering all eras of the band from the early days of "Ready and Willing" and "Don`t Break My Heart Again" through the MTV big hair days of "Is This Love" and the bombastic "Still Of the Night" right to the title track from their latest Forevermore opus and everything else in between, there was more than enough to keep everyone happy, although a song or two from his Deep Purple days would surely have topped things off nicely.

The last occasion Journey played at the Metro Arena, they were joined by Melodic Rock veterans Foreigner and Styx.† This time, with Thunder and Whitesnake breathing down their necks, Journey promised to showcase more of their Rock side, pledging to leave most of their ballads back home.

There is no better way to start than the stomping "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" followed in quick succession by "Chain Reaction" and "Ask The Lonely."† Journey were certainly true to their word with only mega ballad "Open Arms," a truly stunning "Faithfully" and golden oldie "Lights" showing their lighter waving side.

With Neal Schon`s guitar to the forefront along with keyboardist Jonathan Cain doubling up on guitar, Journey certainly packed a harder punch live than they do on record with a storming "Edge of the Blade" and "Escape" giving Schon plenty of scope to flex his fretboard skills. Journey easily buried their Soft Rock reputation.

Sure the biggest cheer of the night greeted "Don`t Stop Believiní," but despite it being a tad overplayed in recent years, there`s no denying its classic status.

Journey

Lead singer, Arnel Pineda`s rise from rags to riches is a Hollywood writer`s dream, and to be able to fill the legendary Steve Perry`s shoes was an unenviable task, but Pineda`s performance was utterly flawless. Powerful, melodic and pitch perfect with energy and passion in abundance.†

After almost four hours of music by three quality bands, Coverdale`s pre-show proclamation of giving the fans more bang for their buck certainly rang true and no one left the arena feeling short changed.

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