Starkers in Tokyo

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Whitesnake's grip on the U.S. record-buying public may have lessened considerably by the late '90s, but in other parts of the world (especially Japan), David Coverdale and company still reigned supreme. Keeping in step with the unplugged craze of the decade, Coverdale and longtime guitarist Adrian Vandenberg united for such a performance in the land of the rising sun, resulting in the release of 1998's Starkers in Tokyo. Anyone wondering if Coverdale can still cut it vocally all these years later will be pleasantly surprised -- the bloke can still sing splendidly, as the duo perform selections from throughout the singer's career. Expectedly, the ballads sound the best in this stripped-down setting ("Is This Love," and especially the overlooked Deep Purple nugget "Soldier of Fortune"), as do made over renditions of "Love Ain't No Stranger" and "The Deeper the Love." While the majority of the numbers work quite well, some are best suited for a full band (and especially with a ripping guitar accompaniment) -- as evidenced here by "Here I Go Again." If you're looking for new, bare-bone takes of Whitesnake classics, hunt down an import copy of Starkers in Tokyo.

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