In 1990 my school buddies and I went to see Whitesnake headline the Monsters Of Rock Festival at Castle Donington. There hadn’t been one in 1989 because of the tragedy that struck in 1988. On the year of Iron Maiden’s first headline show a support band called Guns N’ Roses had played to such a huge crowd that there was a crush in front of the stage. Two kids went down and didn’t come back up. Nobody told the other bands playing that day until after the show… So In ’89 we got Bon Jovi, Skid Row, Europe and Vixen at MK Bowl instead while Castle Donington worked out a few crowd control measures.
1990 was the ten year anniversary of the first Monsters of Rock. The promo T-Shirt of the day had the line up on the front Whitesnake, Aerosmith, Poison, Quireboys, Thunder and a birthday cake on the back. Aerosmith were packing a secret weapon in there set that would whip the legs away from Coverdale and his hired guns. Jimmy Page played Train with the Smiffs and Whitesnake filled their set with solos and big gaps between the songs. It was the first time I’d seen a headline band drop the ball. The egos on the band got between the show and the audience. It kinda sucked. It pretty much killed my love for the band stone dead. I never bothered to see them or buy a Whitesnake record again after that. Same thing happened when I saw ZZ-Top a couple of years later. Instant disinterest from that moment on.
Before all that though, I was a good little headbanger. I liked 1987, Live… In The Heart Of The City, Love Hunter and Slip Of The Tongue. Slip was particularly interesting because of the addition of a superstar six (no seven) stringer. David Lee Roth’s ex Axeman. Mr The Audience Is Listening himself Steve Vai. Donington that year was essentially the UK part of the Slip tour so it was our first time to see this line up and all they could do. As I hinted we left the show thinking ‘Is that ALL they could do?’ and raving about Thunder and Jimmy Page. But that album. That album is a polished, layered, over produced? No Super produced piece of a certain type of rock. At it’s best its a big budget high production value blockbuster vibe made song. It’s so smooth and polished it can’t offend anyone. It’s clear everyone playing is a top flight musician and that every single note is entirely intentional. At it’s best it sounds like Wings Of The Storm.
Wings Of The Storm resembles the theme tune to a video game or imported cartoon series where anime fighters do battle on pillars of rock high among the clouds while multi coloured lightning rages around them. It’s a marvelous example of everything a guy in lace up leather trousers wants from a record. It’s the sort of song that plays over the credits of a film that starred Lucy Lawless riding dragons. It’ll make sense of that ornamental skull with a sword through it you liked the look of in that shop window one time. This song is imagining a future where Grunge, Punk, Industrial and Trip-Hop never happen and we all just surround ourselves with ornamental crystals, blow dried lingerie models and tall church candles while the rain lashes the tall stained glass windows of our cathedral like bedchambers.
Now I don’t usually go in for a lot of this sort of thing. Not since 18th August 1990 anyway. But once in a while.