Whitesnake & Whitford-St. Holmes Concert Review, San Antonio, TX, June 6, 2016
Last night was quite a night. I had just seen Whitesnake a year ago in Austin and I’ve never seen Whitford-St. Holmes, only Whitford with Aerosmith several times. Whitesnake is doing a greatest hits tour and I do like them enough to continue seeing them when it’s convenient. When Whitford-St. Holmes was announced as the opener, it made my decision to go even easier. Especially since they added an affordable meet and greet option.
I arrived in San Antonio around 5ish, parked and found a bar to grab a drink and a bite to eat prior to the meet and greet. The tour manager called me told me when/where to meet, which was at the backstage door at 6:30PM. I got to that spot around 6:15 and there were about 7-8 people hanging out that I thought were all part of the meet and greet. Come to find out, none of them were. They were all there to try and meet Coverdale and they all knew each other. Autograph seekers. I asked if they were going to the show and got a resounding “hell no” from all of them. Apparently they all just hang out before shows to see who they can meet. One of the guys, easily 60 years old, got a call and said, “He’s about to pull up in a black SUV.” I asked if they had a spy network and was told “yes.”
As Coverdale got out of the SUV, the security guy tried to usher him in the backstage door and he said, “Give me a minute, let me take care of these people.” As he walked up, he said, “Just one item each, make it your best one and I’ve got to go.” I was last and asked him to sign The Book. “This is different,” he said. I asked for a picture, he obliged. I hit a wrong button and he saw the screen go black and thanks everyone and walked away. No photo. I was a bit bummed to not get that photo but super stoked to get him in The Book. Immediately after that, the autograph seekers all left. One dude walked up after and he was the only other person there for the meet and greet. I was a bit surprised that there weren’t more.
A few moments later the tour manager escorted us through the door and into the basement to the dressing rooms area. He stated that Brad was finishing dinner and to just hang out in the hallway until it was time. No problem. All of a sudden, there’s Coverdale walking by us and the guy next to me asked for a picture. He obliged and I mentioned that the one I tried outside failed. “Well let’s make that right, then.” The dude took a few pics of us and I said, “Thanks, Dave. It’s quite an honor to meet you.” He replied very politely with, “Please call me David, alright? It’s much better than Dave. I don’t like that name.” I apologized, thanked him again and called him Mr. Coverdale. He smiled, shook my hand and said, “Enjoy the show, gents” and walked away. Down the hall I heard one of his roadies call him “DC” and he said, “Why can’t you bloody just call me David?!” haha.
Right after that we were escorted to the Whitford-St. Holmes dressing room. Since there were only two of us, it made things nice and casual. I spoke with Derek for about 10 minutes as we discussed his time in Blood of the Sun and I asked him about the time he spent in The Michael Schenker Group in 1983. You can see some vids of him on rhythm guitar and backing vocals from that ’83 tour. He told me some great stories and asked what I had to sign so I showed him The Book. He was really into that thing and read the entire sections for Nugent and MSG. I got the impression that he and The Nuge weren’t friends nowadays based on some comments he made. I had him sign my Blood of the Sun CD and the two tickets I had, the other being for my friend, Rodney. Derek was a super guy.
Then we switched and I got to talk to Brad for about 10 minutes. Let me tell you, it was almost difficult to say anything as I was just humbled to even be next to that guy. Aerosmith runs deep in my rock and roll history thanks to my brother, Robert. I was a bit miffed that I couldn’t find my Draw the Line CD, my favorite album by them. He, too, was interested in The Book and asked how to find one. I told him about seeing them a few times in the late 80s/early 90s. He was so laid back and extremely friendly. I was really just blown away. He signed The Book and those 2 tickets and then we did some photos.
Derek made it a point to show Brad the MSG section that he was in
They both thanked us and were escorted back out. Reb Beach was standing on the sidewalk and I just shook his hand and said, “Have a great show tonight.” I got him in The Book a couple of years ago in Houston.
I walked around to the front entrance, met up with Rodney, passed off his ticket and in we went. The tour manager found me and handed me the swag bag from the meet and greet which included a copy of the latest album. It has a bonus disc of the first album on it, too. Whitford-St. Holmes came on right at 8PM and they sounded great. Unfortunately they didn’t play anything from their debut album. I was hoping to at least hear Sharpshooter. The played a partial version of Aerosmith’s Last Child with the keyboardist on vocals. That was my brother’s favorite track. Then a partial version of Nugent’s Hey Baby followed by a partial version of Train Kept A-Rollin’. They closed the show with Stranglehold.
After about a 20 minute stage change, Whitesnake came out to Bad Boys and Slide It In. They sounded as good as they sounded last year and the backing vocals helped carry Coverdale throughout the show. They played everything you’d expect them to play on a greatest hits tour. I totally could have done without the guitar and bass solos and especially Tommy Aldridge’s boring ass drum solo. Double bass, double bass, quads, quads, ohhh some triplets, more triplets. Wait, more quads! Look, ma! No sticks. Hands-only solo now! Quads with the hands! Double bass! Wake me when it’s over, please. But overall the band sounded great. It was a fun show. Coverdale is the consummate front man.
I will say that in meeting him, it was quite intense. He exudes so much personality and energy all the while remaining a gentleman.
The “covers” listed in the Whitesnake set were taped intros/outros, not anything performed live.