Whitesnake - Live... in the Heart of the City
On November 3, 1980, "Whitesnake" released their first live album - "Live ... in the Heart of the City".
In our humble opinion, this is one of the greatest live albums of all time, which deserves a place of honor alongside albums like "Made In Japan" by "Deep Purple", "Live And Dangerous" by "Thin Lizzy", "Tokyo Tapes" of "Scorpions", "If You Want Blood You've Got It" by "AC/DC", "Unleashed In The East" of "Judas Priest", "Strangers in the Night" by "UFO" and more.
As we have mentioned before, the decade of the 70s abounded with great live albums. Many artists released live albums at the time, stretching the limits of their abilities and performing on stage in what we call a "test of courage." Every artist or band that considers themselves good performers at that time, tried to pass the test, while being aware that they are being judged by their ability to play their material live as well as the studio albums and even with added value.
Although this album was released in 1980, it undoubtedly belongs in its spirit and essence to that crazy decade of the 70s, especially when half of it was recorded in 1978.
Why only half? Because it's a double live album made up of two different tours of the band. The first vinyl record was recorded at the "Hammersmith Odeon" on June 23-24, 1980, during a tour that accompanied the excellent album "Ready An' Willing" which was released only three weeks before the performances took place. The second vinyl was also recorded on "Hammersmith", but during a performance held on November 23, 1978, about a month after the release of the album "Trouble". The band's lineup on both shows is the same, except for drummer Dave Dowle who played on the show from 1978 and was replaced by Ian Paice in 1980. For some reason, Dave Dowle did not get credit for the original album cover, but this was corrected in the later releases of the album.
The second vinyl recorded in 1978 was released that year only in Japan and was called "Live at Hammersmith". Two-year layer justice has been done with the band's fans around the world as it has become an integral part of the internationally reviewed album.
Before David Coverdale conquered America and the whole world with the album "Whitesnake (1987)", he was leading the band's classic lineup, which played blues-based hard rock, and this album was undoubtedly one of their great moments. An energetic and sweeping display that includes live and special performances of the band's best songs from their first three albums, along with songs from the Coverdale era in Deep Purple and a cover version of the song "Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City" which was none from Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland.
The album opens up with "Come on" from the mini-album "Snakebite'". An amazing way to open the show especially when Coverdale roars and excites the audience: "Are You Ready? ... Come On" and even before the first guitar riff is being played the audience gets up on its feet and applause.
The tempo is increased with "Sweet Talker" from "Ready An' Willing", to the beat of Ian Paice. The band sounds at its peak, Bernie Marsden's riff, and Micky Moody's slide guitar that takes the lead with an amazing solo after a solo by John Lord.
We go slower to align with the bluesy masterpiece “Walking in the Shadow of the Blues” taken from the "Lovehunter". Bernie Marsden who co-wrote the song with Coverdale takes the lead in the guitar solo to the beat of Neil Murray's beating bass. It's one of the band's greatest songs with an amazing vocal performance by Coverdale which explains very well why it stars in the band's setlists even four decades later
From there we move on to “Lovehunter” which stretches for approximately 11 minutes with a long Micky Moody solo flirting with the enthusiastic crowd that returns with their insane energies.
The other side of the vinyl opens with a tremendous rendition of the song "Aint 'No Love in the Heart of the City", which also gave this album its name. This is without a doubt the highlight of the album and one of the band's greatest moments of all time. Neil Murray's groovy bass and Paice's sensitive and powerful drumming hold the bluesy rhythm of the song and allow Micky Moody's tremendous talent to break out. But the real power of this song comes from the band's seventh member - the "audience" who gives a tremendous performance here and sweeps the band and Coverdale after them.
We have not yet calmed down from the melting blues of the previous song and Coverdale already informs us that he has a big surprise for us, as he presents the huge hit "Fool For Your Loving" with the iconic phrase: "Here's a Song for You" .. This song was written by Coverdale Originally for B.B. King, but he realized that he must not give up on such a great song which became the band's first hit, on both sides of the ocean, and the performance of an even more rhythmic and sweeping performance than that of the album.
We continue with "Ain't Gonna Cry No More", another song from "Ready An' Willing" that dominates the setlists during this tour. A dynamic song that opens soft and quiet with Bernie Marsden's 12-string guitar and explodes with Paice's double snare blow at 2:50. Murray gives a great job here in keeping the rhythm, Jon Lord adorns us with a keyboard solo and Moody surpasses himself with the iconic slide solo.
From here we move on to another iconic and memorable sentence that excites the audience with the rhetorical question: Are You Ready an’ Willing? And the audience makes sure to answer in the affirmative and show Coverdale that he's really interested. This is the second hit and single from the album "Ready An' Willing" which features a catchy bluesy riff and allows Coverdale to improvise around it as he engages the audience in a sort of singing duel.
The song that ends the first vinyl and the show that was recorded in 1980 - "Take Me With You" is taken from the album "Trouble". The band picks up the tempo and accelerates as in the last sprint towards the finish line, with each of its members getting a short solo section.
The second show located on sides 3 and 4 of the vinyl album features 6 tracks of which two were also included in the first show, the same opening song "Come on" and the song that inspired the name of the album "Aint 'No Love in the Heart of the City". This show also features two songs by the mother band "Deep Purple", the first "Might Just Take Your Life" in which Bernie Marsden sings the vocal parts that Glenn Hughes originally sang, and "Mistreated" which gets a crazy version here that stretches over 11 minutes. The track "Lie Down" sounds even more bouncy and rock 'n' roll here than the original performance, and "Trouble" gets Jon Lord's devoted Treatment who was not part of the band at the time of its original studio release.