at House of Blues, June 26

When David Coverdale belts out all that humpahumpa ’bout how he wants to slide it in, go down slow & easy and give me all his love tonight, I suspect it’s really my wife/daughter/mommy/ocelot he’s after, cuz he never sends me flowers and won’t return my calls. Nonetheless he gets forgiven, and not just because he’s a fine tall figure of a 53-year-old English stud with a twinkle in his eye and a gleam in his dental work. No, the former Deep Purple howler is one of the most manful voxationalists around, capable of rocking oh so shamelessly via Whitesnake, his on-and-off project for a quarter-century, and here’s how he does it.

Rule No. 1, of course, is to stock up on shredders, and 2005’s brand of Whitesnake displays nothing but stainless-steel blades. Longtime sidekick Tommy Aldridge was on drums; I have it on good authority that the bathroom was nearly vacant during his lengthy and quite musical solo spot. Uriah Duffy fills in quite gallantly on bass and vocals these days, though he seemed a bit vexed at being omitted from the final group hug. And Coverdale spared no expense on Marshallmen, encouraging the quicksilver trickery of Reb Beach to swordfight with the greasy sausagacity of Doug Aldrich (seen his loose-cannon firepower with Dio?) from the opening rave of “Burn” to the closing jolt of “In the Still of the Night.”

Rule No. 2 — pay attention, kids — has to do with rhythm, and how to break it up, lock it down, bend and stretch it till it cries boogie and ascends to a heaven where even the devoutest Muslim will find no virgins.

Rule No. 3 is to make way for the lion; Coverdale has a rule that no other band member may venture within an elephant’s cock of his flowing locks for the first three-fourths of the set, the better that he may milk his rapport with an audience to whom his love ain’t no stranger, and who exceeded any throng I have ever beheld in their skill at chorusing along with bathetic masterpieces such as “Crying in the Rain.” Wonderfully meaningless music and a balcony full of fake tits makes for timeless entertainment indeed.

Local boy Ricky Warwick’s trio opened, proving beyond doubt that midtempo churn and middlebrow tunesmithery (best evidenced on the jaunty “Long Way Back to Nowhere”), if dead, are far from buried. Buy the drummer a drink; he’s gotta be one bored mother.

LA Weekly