Live... In The Heart Of The City


Geffen Records, 1980

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


About the only good thing that comes out of a move is you get a chance to rediscover some lost, forgotten treasures. With the recent move of the Pierce Memorial Archives, I have had a lot of chances to "rediscover" stuff that I had forgotten I owned.

One such discovery was the catalog from the group Whitesnake. Despite what many people may think, this band was not born at the time of "Here I Go Again" and videos featuring Tawny Kitaen. Lead singer David Coverdale has spent a good portion of his career, both with Whitesnake and as the lead singer of Deep Purple, fine-tuning his blues and hard rock-approach to his music.

The problem is that their entire early catalog has been criminally ignored - for that matter, I don't think it's readily available in the States anymore. That's a shame - 'cause their 1980 release Live... In The Heart Of The Citymy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 showed how solid this band had become.

At this time, it didn't hurt that Coverdale had two former bandmates from Deep Purple sitting in - keyboardist Jon Lord and drummer Ian Paice. The two-guitar attack of Bernie Mardsen and Mickey Moody, as well as the bass work of Neil Murray, made this undoubtedly one of the strongest lineups Whitesnake ever had. (I know I'm forgetting about Slide It In, one of my favorite Whitesnake albums.)

At only seven songs, this album seems short on content, but it is long on energy. From the opening notes of "Come On," Coverdale and crew are ready to show the Hammersmith Odeon what a good time is. Thanks to the spectacular production work of Martin Birch (the live band's best friend), that performance still sounds fresh 17 years later.

The only drawback, besides the length, is the extended guitar solo by Moody on "Love Hunter." While Moody may be a good slide player, it does not translate that well into an extended solo - especially one that stretches out the length of this track to 11 minutes. Fortunately, this is the only real negative of the whole album.

If anything, Live... In The Heart Of The City serves as an excellent primer for those who are interested in exploring the pre-MTV Whitesnake. From the astounding "Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City" to their first UK hit "Fool For Your Loving" to "Take Me With You," Coverdale and his band don't let the energy fade for a second. Even "Love Hunter," which was more notable as an album for its cover art, is decent.

The question of why this one isn't longer may one day be a moot point. According to a Whitesnake fan site in Japan, this was a double album in Britain - something I'd be interested in having our readers across the seas confirming for me. Seeing that Whitesnake is again recording, there may be a chance this will see release in the States again - and if that happens, I'd like to see it put back into a double-album format. We'll even review it again... promise.

Yes, the hard rock/heavy metal scene is all but dead, and Whitesnake fell out of the public's graces almost as quickly as it entered them. But Live... In The Heart Of The City showcases a band who are not out to prove anything except how much fun this type of music could be. If you can actually get your hands on a copy, it's worth dropping the cash for.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1997 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Geffen Records, and is used for informational purposes only.