Review: Journey, Whitesnake and Thunder LG Arena, Birmingham

Rock fans at the LG Arena were treated to a triple bill of classic rockers last night – Journey, Whitesnake and Thunder.

Packing in three bands meant Thunder kicked off proceedings at the ridiculously early time of 6.45pm but they still had a decent-sized crowd for singer Danny Bowes to whip up. Bowes is one of rock’s most entertaining frontmen and soon had the place buzzing . . . despite his ‘dad dancing.'

Luke Morley and Ben Matthews provided the guitar heroics as Thunder powered through tracks like Dirty Love, The Devil Made me Do It and a magnificent Love Walked In before Bowes led the crowd through a big singalong of I Love You More Than Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Next up was another of the great frontmen of rock, the self-styled Lord David of Coverdale. No-one is going to argue that the 61-year-old still has the voice of his youth but Coverdale, sounding grittier these, days is a master at controlling and conducting an audience. And reports of the demise of his voice really are greatly exaggerated.

Ably assisted by guitarists Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach, this was a set packed with hits from heavy rock classics like Give Me All Your Love, Fool For Your Loving and Here I Go Again to the mega ballad Is This Love.

There was a touching moment as Coverdale dedicated Gambler to the fallen members of Whitesnake, Jon Lord, Cozy Powell and Cannock’s Mel Galley. The band stormed through set closer Still Of the Night, truly throwing down the gauntlet to melodic rockers Journey.

Singer Arnel Pineda may not have the stage presence of Bowes or Coverdale but he makes up for it with sheer enthusiasm, racing around the stage as Journey powered through a largely rock heavy set.

Of course there were the ballads Open Arms and Faithfully, but this was Journey putting the pedal to the metal with songs like Separate Ways and Edge Of The Blade, guitarist Neal Schon spitting out the riffs and the solos.

They pulled one from the archives with La Do Da and leaned heavily on the 1981's Escape album. Because of the pull of Whitesnake it was clear that this was not a 100% Journey crowd, so the songs that got the biggest reactions were, of course, the hits rather than the album tracks and the crowd was noticeably quieter until something more familiar came along.

Of course the biggest cheer was saved for Journey's biggest hit Don't Stop Believin', the most downloaded song in musical history and a sure fire way to get a crowd singing along and to send them home happy.

Ian Harvey

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Comments for: "Review: Journey, Whitesnake and Thunder LG Arena, Birmingham "

Tony Kendrew

I think you and the rest of us were at different concerts. Thunder, yes, awsome. Whitesnake - where to start, it was like Brian Johnson from ACDC had been shot in the mouth while eating sand. Its was cringe worthy at best. But if that wasnt bad enough, the guitarists seemed to be either drunk stoned and the production was shocking. I felt sorry for Coverdale, he clearly has lost ALL his vocal ability and should pack up before he damages anyone else's memory of what was once a fantastic band.

John J

Totally agree with Tony. Was lucky enough to see the Snakes at their best in the 80's when they could play and David could sing. The guitarists whilst good in their own right are totally unsuitable for Whitesnake and could not even do Fool for your loving any justice, as Tony says best if David retires now as we were cringing through the whole set. If they tour again and are top billing people will be very very disappointed.


Whitesnake superb should have been last band on.

Stuart Cokes

Such a shame the 3 bands weren't on the other way round,as place would have been jumping if Thunder had been top of the bill. Journey are a class act,but will never grab an English crowd. Also found David Coverdale an embarrassment,and don't think it will be long before hes playing panto somewhere soon,as he as clearly lost his voice. Proven by the fact the band filled in with solos,probably a good thing as his performance made me cringe. Please do yourself and the rest of us a favour and call it a day. Great singer in his day,only saving grace,hes fortunate to have his mane which he clearly thinks is enough to turn on the ageing ladies,sorry David its the truth.

Stu Coles


Thunder - brilliant, fantastic vocals. Whitesnake - superb (although can't reach the high notes anymore), Journey - loved the songs, the music and the energy but the vocals were poor!

The bassman

Yes Thunder were good but not enough good material to headline for me personally. DC's voice is shot and he relies on the crowd and the rest of the band to help him out but he has been struggling for a long time and at least they try to put on a show. Journey's problem is that they're going down the same slippery slope as Bon Jovi and every man and his Glee loving 12 year old daughter now like them. Pineda is out of his depth and will never be anywhere near Steve Perry and the rest of the band just look like four bored session musicians going through the motions and wishing that they were somewhere else. Financially the resurgence of "Don't Stop Believing" is probably the best thing to happen to Journey but for a someone who first heard Don't Stop Believing on the Escape album in 1981, it's probably the worst.

Amanda Divall

Thunder and Journey were both fantasic,, I really enjoyed and could not sit down. Whitesnake so dissapointing I could not hear Coverdale I thought he had lost his voice or didn't' have his mic up loud enough, I sat bored all the way though their set. I would have gone home if they were on last.


Agree, thought Thunder were a great opening act and Journey were fantastic. Whitesnake were disappointing, I prefer their earlier more bluesy matrial such as Ain't No love in the Heart of the City etc. Bring back messrs Moody, Marsden & Paice!!

trevor baldwin

i was not there last night but i did see whitesnake at donington in 1990, they were a poor choice to headline then even though they had steve vai on guitar.


Great show what a shame for the audience and the bands who worked very hard!

The sound was so badly mixed and far too loud ! by mid way through the" Journey" set

people were leaving as even the ballads were distorted on the first notes played on the piano!

what's going on in B'ham? not like this at the Bad Company gig last year when the sound was excellent! went to see 6 local bands at a free festival last weekend and they put on a better clearer louder show for free than all these over paid has been bands who are still living in a 1970's time warp no improvement in the sound since the 70's despite the money and better equipment.

3 very tired bands that should call it a day and just leave us to remember how great they were in the 70's when they were fresh and young!


The Birmingham NEC LG Arena has always been a bad venue for sound! It was bad last time Journey were there too! Best venue I saw Journey at was Wolves Civic Hall in 2008 (?) when I first saw Arnel Pineda - great sound and they played all of the Escape LP except for 2 tracks!

But as I say its generally a lousy venue for sound! Putting it in a different musical perspective, we saw Barry Manilow there last year and that sounded like his band were stuck inside a cardboard box, lousy sound from the house PA!

Best sound I have ever heard at the NEC was Roy Wood in December 2011...........

As I say whatever style of music, whatever the singer or band, the sound mix always sounds crap at the LG Arena - the venue was never built or properly designed for good sound so it will always generally sound bad in there whatever the act! :(

Mike Stevenson

Sadly have to agree with the majority and tell David it's time to hang up the mic stand .... our comment about Whitesnake was "fool for ya lovin ....Bad Karaoke"....said it all .....

If you want see a long standing band doing a brilliant show you should have been there two nights before ...RUSH can still do it in style ...Their show was well worth the money

As for thunder and Journey ...Not to bad and an entertaining evening. ....7 out of 10 at the most though

Lloyd Reason

I thought all three bands delivered balanced sets, as has been comented on DC cannot sing to save his life but does have charisma in spades and this just about sees him through. Journey are on the wrong gig, they were excellent but hardly any of the crowd actually went to see them and were ridiculously unresponsive to most of their set.

The real winners were Thunder, they really had the crowd with them and appeared to enjoy the occasion more than the other bands. I have every album by all 3 bands and went expecting my beloved Journey to steal the show but Danny Bowes set the bar too high for the others to follow....David Coverdale should retire...Journey should tour with Foreigner etc....Thunder should headline.