At The Carling Academy 2, Newcastle, U.K., January 28, 2008

Great White have probably had more ups and downs during their 25+ year career than most groups you can name, and the fact that they exist as a band at all is a miracle in itself, bearing in mind the tragedy that befell them 5 years ago.

Great White, however, have managed to resurrect their career, bringing back the classic line-up of Jack Russell (vocals), Mark Kendall (lead guitar), Michael Lardie (guitar, keyboards), Sean McNabb (bass), and Audie Desbrow (drums) that made such an impact during the heydays of the 1980’s and early 90’s. Old animosities have been set aside and an older and wiser Great White reassembled to bring their brand of Blues-based Hard Rock over to the UK.

greatwhite Not letting the surprise of moving to the more intimate Academy 2 dampen their enthusiasm, Great White hit the stage to “Desert Moon.” The sound at first was a little muddy and Russell seemed a little perturbed with the soundman. Midway through the slow and Bluesy “Old Rose Motel, the sound began to improve and the band started to settle into their stride.

Jack Russell lost no time in introducing the band, clearly relishing being back on stage with the definitive line-up and introducing himself as “someone named after a fucking dog,” which showed that he didn’t take himself too seriously and earned himself the biggest cheer of them all.

As a band of the 80’s, Great White had more to offer than the average band of that era with a wider range of material from the all out Rocker of “Down On Your Knees” from their very first EP to the ballad “Save All Your Love,” to the Stones-esque Rock ‘n’ Roll of “Can’t Shake It” and the fist-pumping bravado of “Mistabone.” It is perhaps on their most Blues-based numbers where Great White really separate themselves from their contemporaries. “House Of Broken Love” is one of several highlights of the show and it’s difficult to determine whether it’s Russell’s passion-soaked vocals or Kendall’s delicious, stylish guitar work that is the focal point of the song, but whatever it is, the result is a Bluesy delight.

greatwhite The uber-smooth “Face The Day” and set closer “Rock Me” add further to their Blues repertoire with the latter being a rousing finale to the show. Great White aren’t just content to rest on their laurels and churn out a set of oldies, as they also featured songs from their latest album including the title track “Back To The Rhythm.”

Not one to keep all of the limelight to himself, Russell stepped aside and handed the microphone over to Kendall for a smoking “Rooster,” McNabb for a cover of Robin Trower’s “Day Of The Eagle,” and Lardie for the slicker, smoother “Lovin’ Kind.” The fact that all three have pretty decent singing voices adds to the depth of and diversity of material that the band are capable of delivering.

Closing the show with the Aerosmith strut of “Call It Rock ‘n’ Roll” and the huge hit “Once Bitten Twice Shy” ended the show on a real high.

greatwhite Great White may have been away from the UK for way too long and they know that they will have to work hard to build their fan base up again, and Jack Russell acknowledges this. Performances such as this will help enormously and those in the crowd tonight were lucky enough to catch the band in an intimate setting as surely once word gets out that they back and in fine form, Great White will be back playing in larger venues again soon.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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