Sweden Rock Festival 2011 – part II

My love for Whitesnake is tremendous. I heard David Coverdale the first time with Deep Purple on the “Stormbringer” and “Burn” albums. But he had already embarked on a successful career with Whitesnake by then. His amazing voice would put me sound asleep every night in my early teenage years with albums like “Lovehunter”. I can still hear the crackling sound of those vinyl records spinning next to my bed : ) A very soothing touch of the past!

Another memory I have from years later, in 1988, is when me and my friend Mimmi walked in to “Tower Records” a giant record store in L.A. and bought a picture disc of David Coverdale, if anybody recalls those? The store was pretty much empty and we made our purchase when the clerk said that Mr. Coverdale was actually in the store. We were like, YEAH RIGHT! So he pointed to way back where a small, tiny, blond man was scrolling through the records. We decided to check this out, just to make sure… and there he was! Way too skinny with a bad hairsprayed bimbo-bleech resembling Robert Plant on a bad hair day, to the point beyond recognition. He looked up and gave us a smile from ear to ear and stated a british “Hello ladies”! Being exactly the gentlemen that rumors state throughout our whole conversation. Enjoyable day in good ol’ Hollywood this was.

This was 23 years ago. After 1987 I have been very torn apart when it comes to Whitesnake. Because the simple fact that I am a big fan of the vintage Whitesnake sound where David sang like a lion. The heavy blues vibes and interplay between Micky Moody and Bernie Marsden was plain great. I miss that!

Aaaanyway… The Whitesnake concert was… Ok. I want to write that it was fabulous, but unfortunately it wasn’t. David Coverdale’s voice sounded strained, he can’t hit some of the high notes anymore, and a God forsaken unnecessary 30 minute long solo spot from Doug Aldrich, Reb Beach and Brian took a lot of the edge from this gig. Way too many ballads made me fall ill with the neurological sleep disorder narcolepsy. My only thought then was… BUT WHY? Highlight of the Whitesnake concert was Bernie Marsden’s appearance on stage which was the first time since 1982 with the band. So that was that, that!

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SAXON! Another band still going strong. Biff looks cool. Like a blond wizard from the movie “Lord of the Rings”. Better than those terrible silver spandex tights he always used to wear in the 80’s.  Just like Ozzy, the years have treated him well. Voice sounds the same and he has managed to keep in good shape. They made lots of rockers happy with songs like “And the band played on”, “Denim and Leather”, “747 Strangers in the night” and “Princess of the Night”.

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More of “New Wave of British Heavy Metal” (NWOBHM). The heavy Metal lads from Birmingham have served us with twin lead guitar style, operatic vocals, leather and studs since 1969. Guitar player Glen Tipton was present without his twin-colleague K.K Downing, and that is a bummer specially since this is alleged to be their farewell tour. The new guy Ritchie Faulkner did a good job though, but still, it is never quite as nostalgic as when band has its original members. No rule without exception, of course.

I’m thinking that there was a time when Judas Priest was the hardest thing on this planet. Make no mistake, they are still “Metal Gods” but today one is more indoctrinated to more toleration when it comes to the hardness of Heavy Metal. The Judas Priest gig was clinical perfect. Very traditionally and with a nice atmosphere. Good…very good.

This is the statement from K.K Downing for leaving:

“Dear friends! It is with much regret that I will not be with you this summer. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your concerns about my health. Please rest assured that I am O.K. There has been an ongoing breakdown in working relationship between myself, elements of the band, and the band’s management for some time. Therefore I have decided to step down rather than to tour with negative sentiments as I feel that this would be a deception to you, our cherished fans. However I would urge you to please support the Priest as I have no doubt that it will be a show not to be missed.
All my love and respect.”

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More groovy moments! THIN LIZZY. I pay no attention to mean reviews and complaints about them “only” being a simple cover band. I am completely sure that Phil Lynott is happily watching from up there and is content with what his old colleagues are doing here. It sounded very authentic and the sound and respect for the three Lizzy members (Gorham, Downey and Wharton) and the rest of the guys filling in, stand high. Great show!

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Press conference with the band Down, featuring ex-Pantera singer Phil Anselmo among others.

God’s disciples Stryper also did a good show. The band sounded great and still amazes with awesome background vocals. Singer has not aged one bit and his brother and drummer, Robert Sweet, still carries his “Heather Locklear” hairdo and Barbie Ken teeth. We are swept back to the 80’s. Yellow/black stripes all over the stage and bibles to pass out to get at least some rockers to indemnify their mischiefs with the devil, next minute they indulge us with a cover song from the “Prince of darkness” himself, Ozzy’s “Over The Mountain”, he he he he, Controversy, controversy.

I only saw the three first songs of Mr Big. Then I had to run to the press tent and upload photos for a newspaper. So unfortunately I missed most of the show. But what I heard sounded good, very good. High pro musicians don’t do it any other way. The band hit us with classic songs like “Addicted To That Rush” and “Green Tinted Sixties Mind”. The return of this 90’s rock band was anticipated by many people. And what I heard they did not leave anybody disappointed. Good job!

Teletubby & Princess Leia

But what was up with Paul Gilbert’s gigantic hearing protection? He looked like a Teletubby or Leia of Star Wars. Why can’t he just wear normal earplugs like the rest of us? Jeepers creepers!!  he was sooo boring to look at. I do appreciate bands that give us a little more of the visual performance. Good thing they are such wonderful musicians and one is at least content to watch their fingers burning on the fretboard.

Paul Gilbert – A God on guitar with Teletubby look.

Eric Martin – Lead singer with broken arm  •••  Billy Sheehan – Master of the bass (here’s how he does it)

U.S classic Rock pioneers Kansas was exiting to see. A lot of rock, jazz and classical virtuous interactions going on with this band. The band made it huge 1976 with the album “Leftoverture”. Songs like “Carry On Wayward Son” and “Dust in the Wind” are still huge hits and beloved by millions of people. When I saw them in L.A. back in 1987, they had Steve Morse on guitar, and that was one of the best concerts I’ve attended. This concert was great and appreciated as well.


Classic members Steve Walsh and Rich Williams

David Ragsdale on violin and Billy Greer on bass.

This year’s Sweden Rock Festival in Sölvesborg was, like I’ve said before, the best in many years. The line-up, weather, vibes, organisation… everything was fantastic! Approx 33 000 rockers can’t be wrong. I among them had a blast!

I hope you enjoyed my live photos. Next post will be mingle pics!

3 Responses to “Sweden Rock Festival 2011 – part II”

  1. Hi Tallee. Great interesting writing here :) I know you’ve got loooooots of stories waiting to be told so keep ’em coming :D

    Take care Mats


  2. Billy Greer of Kansas is playing the custom bass I made for him. Thanks for the awesome shot!



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