‘Do you wanna get rocked?’ asks Joe Elliott to the packed out crowd at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle.

The answer is a very enthusiastic yes, as tonight the Geordie faithful are fortunate enough to have a triple bill of rock legends bestowed upon them, and don’t they know it. Black Star Riders who have become frequent visitors to the region in recent times opened the show, taking to the stage with all guns blazing.

Frontman Ricky Warwick commands the stage, Damon Johnson has the flare in abundance. Scott Gorham adds those trademark licks that we’ve all come to know and love, and of course, there is room for some Thin Lizzy numbers in the set with both “Are You Ready” and “Jailbreak” featuring. Although the likes of “Killer Instinct” and “Finest Hour” from the band’s latest album are met with equal adoration from the crowd. Closing their set with the classic “Whiskey in the Jar” the arena is turned into a mass singalong.

A homecoming show for David Coverdale, born and bred in nearby Saltburn-by-the-Sea. Over the years, the city has developed a strong connection with Whitesnake, including many memorable nights at the iconic Newcastle City Hall of which David reminisces during the show. A special night in the making and the band most certainly rose to the occasion.

Some personnel changes since the band’s last visit to the region, with guitarist Joel Hoekstra and keyboard player Michele Luppi replacing Doug Aldrich and Brian Ruedy respectively. Whitesnake has a long history of having world class guitarists in their ranks, and Joel most certainly fits that bill, forming one of the best guitar partnerships in rock with Reb Beech. The pair playing off each other all night long, no airs and graces, each taking their moment in the spotlight.

Whitesnake’s latest offering The Purple Album pays homage to DC’s time in the classic Deep Purple MK3 lineup. Several tracks from the album featured in the set tonight including opener “Burn”. “Gypsy” with it’s pounding bass line from Michael Devin and some nice twin guitar harmonies from Beech and Hoekstra. Of course, the set would not be complete without Coverdale’s signature track “Mistreated”.

David Coverdale mutters the immortal lines “Here’s a song for ya” as he leads the Whitesnake choir into hit after hit. The back of his shirt bearing the words “Make some f*ckin noise”, the crowd only too happy to agree. They hung on every word of the likes of “Ain’t No Love In The Heart of the City”, “Fool For Your Loving” and “Here I Go Again”. Tommy Aldridge got his moment to shine with a superb drum solo. The band brought their set to a close with the classic “Still of the Night” from their seminal album 1987. After five decades Whitesnake is still going strong.

It’s almost a year to the day since Joe Elliott’s last visit to the region for an intimate show with his band the Down ‘n’ Outz. Def Leppard showing their fondness for the city, drummer Rick Allen’s drum kit emblazoned with the Geordie phrase #HowayTheLads. Joe Elliott even managed to squeeze an impromptu solo acoustic rendition of “Fog On The Tyne” by Newcastle’s own Lindisfarne into the set, before launching into the beautiful “Two Steps Behind”.

Sheffield’s finest are back with their self-titled eleventh studio album, from which only the opener “Let’s Go” and “Dangerous” featured in their show in favor of a greatest hits set. The band sounding tight as they wheel out fan favorites from “Hysteria” including the likes of “Rocket”, “Animal” and “Love Bites”.

Joe Elliott leaves the stage, as the rest of the band launch into the instrumental “Switch 625” in memory of the late great Steve Clark, which climaxed with a monumental Rick Allen drum solo. There is such great stage chemistry between Phil Collen and Northern Ireland’s own Vivian Campbell, who according to Elliott ‘put’s the fast in Belfast’. The band brings their main set to a close with the brilliant “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, leaving the crowd wanting more. Only too happy to oblige they return to the stage to bring the night to close with “Rock Of Ages” and “Photograph”.

A dream bill for classic rock fans, which more than lived up to it’s expectations.

Def Leppard
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Black Star Riders
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About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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