M3 (Live)

at Rock Bottom, Oslo, Norway, November 13, 2003

M3 is former Whitesnake guitarists Bernie Marsden, Mickey Moody and former Whitesnake / Black Sabbath bassist Neil Murray. Along come drummer Jimmy Copley and Mark Stanway on keyboard. M3 plays pre-1984 Whitesnake songs only, and quite sensational ex-Sabbath singer Tony Martin does the vocal duties David Coverdale once did.

The two main forces are Moody and Marsden, the guitarists of the original Whitesnake lineup. Neil Murray, for those who don’t know, did an awfully great job as a bass player on all the classic Whitesnake album, including the 1987 release to which Marsden and Moody didn’t make it due to their lack of looks equivalent to singer David Coverdale’s let’s-be-a-sight-for-sore-eyes-ambitions.

David Coverdale is still picking his Whitesnake members from the way they look. Bernie Marsden and Micky Moody pick the guys they need to take care of those old ‘Snake songs Coverdale and his line-up no longer do live, those songs which the band made before the huge commercial success of the 1987-album. Those bluesy rock songs… Those with those incredible melodies… Those soulful played ones… The really good ones…

Let’s keep in mind; it is Mickey Moody and Bernie Marsden who, along with Coverdale, in the first place wrote most of the great great songs for the first Whitesnake albums, from 78 till the very early 80’s. Therefore M3 are personal about keeping these songs alive from stages around Europe, and on the 13th of November they arrived Norway. Even though they call themselves M3, the arranger at this small scene of Oslo, Rock Bottom, has put the name Whitesnake on the posters, in the newspaper adds, and even on the tickets. On the poster, you won’t believe this, they’ve put a picture of Marco Mendoza!, who is NOT playing in M3, but rides along with Coverdale as the bass gun on the recent version of the Whitesnake line-up…

However, no young gun appeared on the Rock Bottom stage this evening. This was the old gentlesnakes’ night only, and Bernie Marsden was the captain. While Mickey Moody didn’t look too cheerful, and while Tony Martin spends most of his time concentrating on remembering the lyrics and twisting his Sabbath-voice into a more bluesy landscape, Marsden is the one with the charm, the wit, the most hearty solos, the charisma. He is up front, communicating with the audience, singing when Martin literally is out of line, and playing the old classics with great sensitivity.

As you can see from the track list below, M3 played nothing but “standards”, mostly from Trouble, Love Hunter, Ready An’ Willing, Come An’ Get it and Saints & Sinners. Last May I travelled to London to see Whitesnake headline at the Monsters of Rock. Coverdale today sings mostly songs from the mid 80’s to the end of the 80’s period, and you can’t help yourself from wondering why Coverdale has turned his back away from his first albums, hardly looking back. Seeing M3 in a basement in Oslo gave me much more as an old Whitesnake fan than seeing David Coverdale and his long haired boy band-looking unit at Wembley Arena.

Tony Martin is no David Coverdale, but what can you ask for? Martin has a great voice, though he looks a bit misplaced on the stage, dressed in a black sweater with black netting sleeves, and some tattoo-like flames along the side of his head. But I guess… once a Sabbath-singer, always a Sabbath-singer. ( Err… )

M3 started out with “Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues”, and rocked and bluesed themselves through six of the most creative and successful years of the careers of Marsden and Moody. Mickey, famous for his slide guitar play, unfortunately played a more anonymous role in the shadow of a sparkling Marsden, but, as the others once left the stage for him to slide an intro to “Slow An’ Easy” ( dedicated to Cozy Powell ) he gave a whole lot more of himself.

After “Slow An’ Easy” they played “Young Blood”, the opening track on Saints & Sinners. Marsden gives everything to his harmony vocal parts, singing I got what you need! from the top of his lounges. Cool! Weird, but cool.

Everyone who has listened, LISTENED, to Whitesnake’s Live….In The Heart Of The City album has to admit that Neil Murray does unique things with the bass lines, playing like melodies on his own, lifting all the tracks high up in the air. I am sad to report that the bass sound never came out load enough this late Oslo evening for me to tell how Murray is doing his stuff live in 2003. A shame.

M3 gave people what they came for. ( Hopefully no one really believed that Whitesnake actually were playing… ) Bernie Marsden played his ass off on the “Crying In The Rain”-solo, Mickey Moody mobilized everything he got of presence on “Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City”. “Fool For You Loving” was performed with an intensity nothing short of your highest expectations.

They closed the show with “Here I Go Again”. Some might be missing numbers like “Till The Day I Die”, “The Time Is Right For Love” or “Lie Down”. But you really couldn’t ask for more. You can only be happy about these men actually playing some of these songs. Deep Purple, Ronnie James Dio, Ozzy, Glenn Hughes and Joe Lynn Turner are still covering so many of the other eras of rock history. I am so happy Marsden & co is doing early Whitesnake classics at all. May they all live forever.


Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues
Don’t Break My Heart Again
Hit An’ Run
Lonely Days, Lonely Nights
Ready An’ Willing
Slow An’ Easy
Young Blood
Ain’t Gonna Cry No More
Crying In The Rain
Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City
Fool For Your Loving
Here I Go Again


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