WHITESNAKE – Unzipped – Acoustic Adventures (Deluxe Edition / 5CD+DVD)

WHITESNAKE – Unzipped – Acoustic Adventures (Deluxe Edition / 5CD+DVD)

The mighty Whitesnake hardly need any introduction at all. They are undoubtedly one of the greatest rock bands to have ever walked the earth and their back catalogue is as inspiring as it is riveting. With David Coverdale at the helm, Whitesnake have remained relevant and a musical force to be reckoned with ever since its inception back in the late 70s. While many associate these guys with hard bluesy rock and classic rock, they are way more diverse and dynamic than what they are often given credit for. That is perfectly exemplified by this majestic and utterly amazing box set containing 5 CDs, a DVD disc, a neat little book, and other goodies such as a poster and lyric sheets. What more could a fan possibly ask for? "Unzipped" is (as its title suggests) an acoustic offering, which is to say that what we get here are all the acoustic love songs by the Snake. And you know what? They are stunning pieces filled with heart, passion, and soul. Obviously, some cuts are more exciting to immerse oneself in than others, but that is hardly surprising given that we are dealing with such a huge amount of tracks culled from various sessions.

Disc 1 features some amazing material from the "Into the Light"/"Good to Be Bad"/"Forevermore" eras and moving tracks such as "Fare Thee Well", "’Till the End of Time", and the previously unreleased "All the Time in the World" are state of the art affairs. If "’Till the End of Time" does not move you to tears then there is simply no hope for you. Crisp, clear, and honest music – just the way we like it.

Disc 2 is the renowned "Starkers in Tokyo" live offering and it sounds as pristine and atmospheric as ever. It is an underrated highlight in the Whitesnake/David Coverdale discography and contains acoustic renditions of classics such as "Give Me All Your Love Tonight", "Soldier of Fortune", "Sailing Ships", and "Here I Go Again" among others. The interplay between Vandenberg’s charismatic playing and Coverdale’s fantastic voice never fails to make the hair on my arms stand up.

The third disc is "Snakeskin Boots – Starkers in Europe" and includes "Too Many Tears", "Slow & Easy", "Dog", and others lifted from live performances in Warsaw, Stockholm, Cologne, and Paris. The talented Doug Aldrich and Coverdale are on top form here and the tunes have a warm and intimate vibe to them that is incredibly appealing. The fiery "Dog" from the Stockholm concert and "Slow & Easy" from Cologne are the standouts here. Gentle yet emotionally intense and powerful is perhaps the best way to summarize this stellar disc.

Disc 4 is "More Starkers…" and is filled with rehearsals, soundcheck versions, and jams from 2005-2012. Entertaining stuff for sure and I especially enjoy the promo tour 2005 rehearsals as well as the "Starkers in New York 2008" gig, but it is perhaps not the most compelling one compared to the other four CDs.

The fifth disc is probably one of the most interesting ones in the sense that there is an astounding 25 demo versions and rough sketches on it, all of which are previously unreleased. Gems such as "It Would Be Nice" and "River Song (Early Version)" appear on this one and were a great surprise to yours truly. The disc is appropriately titled "Up Close and Personal" and its tracks do indeed come across as intimate. Listening to them feels as if Coverdale is sitting right in front of you working out ideas on the acoustic guitar or piano – it is THAT up close and personal! Granted, some of these ideas do not have a whole lot of depth or substance to them as such, but they are nonetheless fun to listen to.

Finally, there is the DVD entitled "Unzipped…The Videos", which contains the "Starkers in Tokyo" and "Starkers in New York" live sets as well as some "Snakeskin Boots" video bootlegs and bonus features. It nicely captures the vibe and atmosphere of the shows and the backstage footage is a lot of fun to watch. It is also quite moving to see just how appreciative the audiences are and how immersed Coverdale, Vandenberg, and Aldrich are in the music; the level of focus and discipline they bring to the table is awe-inspiring. The "Starkers in New York (2008)" show is mighty entertaining and the same goes for the cool interview feature with Coverdale and Vandenberg.

From a fan’s perspective, "Unzipped" is a must-have in that it contains a vast amount of highly captivating material of which some has never been released before, but apart from that, it also shows a different side to Whitesnake. I cannot thank Rhino Records and Mr. Coverdale enough for putting this marvelous collection together. It is truly a treat for us fans and if you are unsure what to wish for this Christmas, "Unzipped" is the answer. It is a beautiful package and a most worthy addition to the Whitesnake canon.