Live At Donington 1990
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Live At Donington 1990
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|Audio CD, Box set, February 1, 2017||
Vinyl, August 23, 2011
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Three disc (two CDs + DVD) edition. Live archive release from David Coverdale and his 'Snake mates. On August 18th, 1990 Whitesnake headlined at the premier UK festival, the legendary Monsters Of Rock at Castle Donington, now known as Download. An incendiary musical chapter of the band that featured Steve Vai and Adrian Vandenberg on guitars, bassist Rudy Sarzo, drummer Tommy Aldridge and Coverdale; a high octane performance, firing on all cylinders...and Whitesnake in all its fiery musical splendor. Now, over 20 years later, you can experience being in the middle of the crowd for the complete sensory experience. This is a raw, emotional, head-banging show, that allows even the most discerning fan to relive the magic of that hot summer night over 20 years ago.
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I purchased the CD/DVD combo, and while the performance and audio quality are excellent, I'm not a huge fan of the video. My problem is not with the video quality itself, since it's about what I expected given when it was shot and because it was not filmed for an official release. The video does, however, look much better on my smaller 37" TV than it does on my 52" TV. One thing that I do not like about the video is that it's comprised mostly of individual close-ups, with very few shots showing more than one band member at a time. I'm guessing that this is because they had to use the video feeds that were displayed on the big screens during the actual concert, which are usually all close-up shots. Some other annoying things about the video are that the video often changes from color to black & white, and there are several cheesy slo-mo effects used througout the video.
Even though I don't care much for the DVD, the CDs alone get 5 stars and make this is an excellent purchase for the price. This concert will be getting a lot of play time in my CD player and on my iPod.
Let's start with the good. The packaging, liner notes, and pictures for are superb. Coverdale goes into detail about the concert, the creation of the CD, the fact that "no expenses were spared" for the DVD portion and that the concert sound was given a thorough treatment in the studio. Transmitted by the BBC for radio broadcast, I would describe the sound on the CD's as better that I expected, given its age and source. Slightly bass heavy at times, there's no doubt that a moderate amount of compression was used either in the studio clean-up or was present during the original taping during the radio broadcast (or both). Nevertheless, as other reviewers have noted, everything comes through pretty clearly. Aldridge's drums sound great, Vandenberg and Vai's guitar's are at times split between left and right channels (and you can tell who's who almost immediately); Coverdale's vocals are slightly recessed, but it's not a problem - it just sounds more like a concert where you're back aways.
Clearly a good night, the band plays with tremendous energy and speed. The crowd's fired up and, with a little imagination, you can easily put yourself there about half-way back on the ground.
DVD footage is, as others have noted, not the best in terms of concert viewing. This might something good for a party where no one is watching the TV constantly, but is perhaps talking, listening and occasionally viewing as they pass by on their way to get another beverage.
Overall, a classic live album from Whitesnake from one of their career high points.