It was the hottest and most humid night of the entire summer and I was standing along the Fox River in South Elgin, Illinois on July 17 at a place called Vasa Park. Normally Vasa Park’s 25 acre wooded property is home to small festivals, however, this night was different. This night I had my two cameras in my hand, a ticket to the greatest classic rock music event this location has ever seen, with the greatest anticipation I have ever felt.
This epic music event was the Whitesnake “The Purple Tour” concert, featuring David Coverdale on vocals and my favorite guitarist, Joel Hoekstra, who joined the band last year. Opening for Whitesnake was Foghat. Unfortunately, The Answer, who was to kick off the evening, were unable to attend.
This was my first time seeing both bands and they did not disappoint. Before Foghat took the stage, I went to the photo pit and was looking forward to seeing the band whose songs have followed me my entire life. Foghat’s founding drummer, Roger Earl, rocked his kit with Craig MacGregor on bass. Bryan Bassett was on guitar and bringing words to their excellent musicianship was vocalist and guitarist, Charlie Huhn. The band didn’t miss a beat even though the weather was so miserably wet. They began the night with “Fool For The City” and ended with “Slow Ride.”
After a thirty-minute intermission, I entered the photo pit again, but this time for Whitesnake. Whitesnake’s music has been such an influential aspect of my life and I crank up the radio when their tunes come on.
In August 2014, I was thrilled to learn that my favorite guitarist, Joel Hoekstra, had joined Whitesnake as one of their guitarists. I have followed Hoekstra’s musical career for almost a decade. I saw him first with Night Ranger in Great Lakes, Illinois, then saw him kick ass in Rock Of Ages on Broadway and have witnessed his skills several times with Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Nonetheless, every single time I see him, he blows me away. He has the greatest energy I’ve ever seen come out of any musician. No matter if he’s having a terrible day, when he’s out on stage, he genuinely appears to be having the best time of his life.
As I was anxiously waiting in the photo pit for Whitesnake to begin, the house lights dimmed and I got my cameras ready to shoot. The band entered the stage and the crowd roared. They began their set with “Burn” and vocalist David Coverdale didn’t waste any time rockin’ and rolling all over the stage. He was also very vocal in letting the crowd know how humid and hot the weather was. I found it apropos that Whitesnake was playing on a very swampy night as snakes are found in the swamp (haha).
Guitarist Reb Beach played some slick licks and made his guitar playing seem effortless. He and Hoekstra would often meet at center stage to jam together to get the audience even more excited for their performances. Gracing the bass was Michael Devin who was cool and collected and has a head full of long hair for killer head banging to accompany his impeccable skills. Sitting high on his drum riser was Tommy Aldridge who is an animal. I have a huge respect for drummers as they are the time keepers for bands. Aldridge never slowed down. After drumming in the disgusting weather, his energy is insurmountable. He also nailed his drum solo with ease. On stage left was Whitesnake’s touring keyboardist, Michele Luppi, all the way from Italy. Luppi tickled those ivories to add extra intensity into Whitesnake’s already solid tunes.
Whitesnake definitely whipped up a great show and you made my music freak-self incredibly happy.
View Whitesnake and Foghat’s set lists along with my photos of both bands below.
Whitesnake’s Set List
Slide It In
Love Ain’t No Stranger
Gve Me All Your Love
You Keep On Movin’
You Fool No More
Is This Love
Here I Go Again
Still Of The Night
Foghat’s Set List
Fool For The City
8 Days On The Road
I Just Want To Make Love To You