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The Company of Snakes.

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Three original members of legendary heavy rock supergroup, Whitesnake, have reformed as The Company of Snakes for an Evening of Whitesnake music. Guitarists Micky Moody & Bernie Marsden and bass player Neil Murray are set to rekindle the magic of one the most successful heavy rock bands of all time as they perform a set of Whitesnake anthems from Fool For Your Loving to Here I Go Again. (The former track was originally written for BB King).The Snakes will be joined by Don Airey, keyboard ace with the Whitesnake line-up of the late 1980's and a former player with Rainbow, Ozzy Osbourne and Gary Moore. Robert Hart (Bad Company) and John Lingwood (Earth Band) complete the lineup. Whitesnake was founded back in 1978 by David Coverdale, Bernie Marsden and Micky Moody with the intention of developing a band in the British rock and Blues tradition. Indeed, the original concept of Whitesnake was more in tune with rhythm 'n' blues than heavy metal, the band being greatly influenced by the likes of Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. They recorded their first two albums, Trouble and Love Hunter, with Marsden singing lead vocals (on Coverdale's insistence). The classic incarnation of Whitesnake took shape in 1980, boasting a formidable line-up of Moody, Marsden, Murray and Coverdale, complemented by keyboard maestro, Jon Lord, and crack drummer, Ian Paice, both from Deep Purple.

Bernie Marsden

Robert Hart

Bernie Marsden CDs Available
Whitesnake CDs Available

With the song writing team of Coverdale, Marsden and Moody, this best known of all Whitesnake line-ups released three albums between 1980 and 1982: Ready An' Willing, Live in The Heart Of The City and Saints An' Sinners. Included among the songs recorded during this period were the classics, Fool For Your Loving and Here I Go Again. A revised version of the latter track became an international smash hit five years later. Taken from the multi million selling album 1987, this Bernie Marsden-penned song has now sold close to twenty million copies!
Together, Micky Moody and Bernie Marsden provided the unmistakable classic Whitesnake soundtrack, the pair's fusion of instinctive Blues cleverly integrated with powerful rock chords, melodic solos and harmony vocals representing distinctive trademarks on the first six Whitesnake albums. Following the break up of the original Whitesnake, Micky and Bernie maintained their song writing and performing partnership with the Moody / Marsden Band, their recordings including a part acoustic / part electric collection and a tribute album to Peter Green called Green In Blues. Joining Bernie Marsden and Micky Moody in The Company of Snakes is fellow former Whitesnake colleague and one of rock's most celebrated bass players, Neil Murray.
In addition to his tenure with the original Whitesnake line-up, Neil has performed with a host of top names that have included Black Sabbath, the Brian May Band and Gary Moore, to name but three. Following a three year break from Whitesnake, he rejoined the band in 1985 in time to play the massive Rock in Rio festival with Queen and Iron Maiden in front of 300,000 people. He was also a member of the Whitesnake line-up that, two years later, would record the opus 1987, destined to become one of the biggest selling albums of the rock era.During their show, The Company of Snakes will perform all the Whitesnake classics, along with others by Rainbow & Bad Company, as well as some new rock songs written by The Snakes themselves. Awesome! Whitesnake fans of old will again witness the duelling guitars of Marsden & Moody and the thundering bass guitar of Neil Murray, while Don Airey's keyboards and singer, Robert Hart's vocals, will add an additional dimension to the night's proceedings.


A long anticipated concert, this one, and it lived up to all expectations. As we arrived in the car park at the Stables, strains of Since You've Been Gone could be heard from the auditorium, and as the sound check was also easily audible from the foyer / bar area, we knew one or two of the songs to expect well in advance.
The Stables is a weird venue - normally more of a jazz club, it probably was once a stable - long and thin with the stage along the side rather than at one end. The effect of this is that a majority of the audience is at the sides of the stage rather than in front. Normally it's all seated, but this was a 'dance floor' gig, so most of the seats had been removed. With speakers stacked in each corner of the stage, itself only about 12 inches above the floor, the audience formed 3 distinct groups - one either side and one in front. As Bernie Marsden remarked during the evening, "it's like playing 3 concerts at once".
We got a good position right at the front of the 'stage left' audience. This was the Don Airey / Bernie Marsden side of the stage. A small area was cordoned off at this side where a roadie was positioned, but also where the rest of the band went for a sit-down during the solo spots. It was rather a weird feeling to have such legends so close. The rest of the band was in view apart from the drummer, completely hidden from us in the far corner - no great loss as I didn't really know who he was anyway!
The band consisted of the famous four of Bernie Marsden, Micky Moody, Neil Murray and Don Airey, plus the 'ex Bad Co' vocalist Robert Hart, and the annonymous drummer.
The band made their way through the audience to get on stage, and opened with Sweet Talker. This was followed by Walkin' In The Shadow Of The Blues and Trouble. The playing was excellent, with the guitarists the obvious stars. They were obviously enjoying themselves as well.
The vocalist was OK - I'd heard he was a Coverdale soundalike, but can't really agree with that. He did sound a bit like Paul Rodgers though, probably why he was picked for the Bad Company job. He hadn't learned the songs yet, and had to rely on a notebook strategically placed at the front of the stage. He didn't make reading from it too obvious, though I'm told he didn't take his eyes off it during Since You've Been Gone.
I wasn't sure if he'd been the vocalist when I'd seen Bad Co mid-80s, but some reading up since has indicated he'd only been in that band during the 90s. Exactly what connection he had with the three Bad Company numbers played (Movin' On, Feel Like Makin' Love, Can't Get Enough) I don't know, but it was good to hear them played live.
Most of the set was Whitesnake material, others I remember were Fool For Your Lovin', Ready'n'Willing, Here I Go Again, Don't Break My Heart Again, and Is This Love. One of the 'later era' Whitesnake songs was dedicated to Cozy Powell.
Other highlights: the Micky Moody slide guitar solo, parts of which haven't changed since the Whitesnake days; Ain't Gonna Cry No More, performed acoustically (as originally written apparently) by Marsden & Moody with Don Airey accompanying on keyboards; Airey's keyboard solo - based around some familiar classical themes with one or two clues to his many other jobs, such as the the introductions to Ozzy's Mr Crowley, and to Rainbow's Eyes Of The World. I thought (well, hoped really) he was going to break into a bit of Collosseum II stuff at one stage, but it was not to be unfortunately.
Early on in the evening, two young girls (6 or 7 years old maybe) appeared in the audience in front of Bernie Marsden, one of whom resembled him so much, it must have been his daughter. They managed to annoy him a bit by drinking from his glass of water which was positioned down by a monitor. When a refill was brought in it was placed well out of reach! They were also having a giggle at one or two of the 'wrinklies' freaking out around them which added a surreal feel to proceedings.
The time basically flew by, and soon the set was 'over'. As the band couldn't leave the stage without wading through the audience, they stayed on and led the applause & calls for the encore, which duly arrived! The concert ended with the usual singalong to Ain't No Love. .. encore, encore, encore !

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