Words and Photos by: Eric Pefley
Friday night was quite the triple bill at the smoking hot White River Amphitheater as temperatures soared above 90 degrees. The heat did not keep a near-capacity crowd from coming out and enjoying one great night of music. We had the pleasure of seeing Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening, Whitesnake and Foreigner! It was going to be quite a night indeed!
The night started with Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening hitting the stage. Jason of course is the son of legendary Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham. The night would be full of Led Zeppelin classics. It was great to hear songs like Immigration Song, Good Times Bad Times and Whole Lotta Love. The absolute highlight of the evening was hearing Stairway To Heaven performed live. It was definitely a treat to hear such an iconic song in a concert setting. I had seen Page & Plant tour together before, but it has been a long time, so it was cool to hear all these great songs again.
Next up was Whitesnake. I have seen Whitesnake many times over the years, but it has been a while since I have caught them live. They were one of my favorite bands during the 80s American heavy metal explosion. David Coverdale had such an incredible range in his voice back then. He has lost a little of that, but still puts on a high energy show with some seriously powerful vocals. His band was also very talented and sounded great all night.
Whitesnake hit the stage crushing through Bad Boys, Give Me All Your Love and Love Ain’t No Stranger. It was a powerful opening trio of songs that just kept getting better as the night went along. The crowd was into it right from the beginning. Not to be outdone by the first three songs, we were then treated to metal classics Slow An’ Easy, Cryin’ In The Rain and the perfect 80s metal ballad Is This Love. You forget how many great songs Whitesnake has in their very impressive arsenal of music. The final three songs of the night blew us all away. They hammered out Slide It In, the massive hit Here I Go Again and finally delivering the knockout punch with Still Of The Night. Two bands in, and with the hot temperatures we had been thoroughly rocked.
Alas, there was more to come. Foreigner with their endless string of hit songs and Mick Jones, back on guitar where he belongs, after battling some health issues. Lou Graham is long gone, but Kelly Hansen on lead vocals is a treat for the ears, as he is such an amazing vocalist. Foreigner also came out swinging with a massive string of hit songs. They served up Long, Long Way From Home, Double Vison and Head Games. The crowd was really fired up by Head Games and sang along with every verse. I was amazed at the stamina the crowd was showing in the heat, as they just kept rockin’ along.
As the show continued, Hansen did a great job of interacting with the crowd and keeping them involved in the show. He is truly a dynamic front man. During the middle part of the set, more hits came full speed ahead with Cold As Ice, Waiting For A Girl Like You and Urgent. Waiting For a Girl Like You was a nice change of pace and we know Foreigner can do ballads with the best rock bands out there. They had a very impressive stage set up and quite a light show to go with it.
We were coming to the home stretch for the evening, and the final three songs would almost finish the crowd off for good on this smoldering night. We were hit with Jukebox Hero which was done a little differently than usual with some interesting changes of pace during the song. Don’t get me wrong though, it was still great. After that, the encore took us home with another amazing ballad I Want To Know What Love Is and the final song of the night Hot Blooded. I Want To Know What Love Is was done with a local high school choir and really brought a special element to this classic ballad.
What a night it had been! Getting so much quality music and the amazing array of hits we got to hear in one night was quite spectacular. All three bands really brought it, and even though they commented on how hot it was, they left it all out on the stage. I can easily recommend this tour if it is coming to a city near you. It is one of those nights that most people recognized every song that was played, and that does not happen very often.
Purchase tickets for the tour HERE.
Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience: