Whitesnake – ‘Starkers in Tokyo’ – Album Review (The David Coverdale Series)

In support of Whitesnake’s ‘Restless Heart’ Tour, the band played a couple of acoustic shows.  Well, not the band really, but only David Coverdale and Adrian Vandenberg.  Their performance at the EMI Studios in Japan was recorded and ended up on this release which was recorded on July 5th, 1997 and released on September 9th of that year.  A pretty quick turnaround, but honestly, not sure there was that much to fix as it is splendid.

The setting was a very intimate one with the 2 Snake members and a small studio of fans.  It was David on vocals and Adrian on an acoustic, both sitting on chairs like they were sitting in your living room.  The songs were of course, Whitesnake classics…but more from the later years at the time. And surprisingly a Deep Purple song which David had normally been against playing (Oh how that has changed over the years).


The songs on this album you’ve heard a thousand times, but you haven’t heard them like this.  They are stripped down “to the bone” and are played in away that is new and refreshing. The opening track “Sailing Ships” feels so sad and Adrian’s playing is simply beautiful.  And can we talk about David’s vocals?  Well of course we can, it’s my site.  David sounds better than he ever has. Not just on this song, but the whole album.  Proving at the time, he was one of the best voices in rock.

They play two tracks from ‘Restless Heart’, both ballads.  First was “Too Many Tears” and later it was “Can’t Go On”.  On the studio album, I liked “Too Many Tears” better, but on here, “Can’t Go On” is the one that shines for me.  As simple as the song felt on the album, here it is even less, but feels like so much more.  It pulled out the beauty of the song and David’s delivery really resonated with me and might be one of my favorites on the disk.

I’m not going to go in to each of the classic Whitesnake songs they do as you all know and love those songs.  You will love them just as much here.  Especially when you hear how bluesy they take “Give Me All Your Love” which gets the biggest crowd reaction.  David and Adrian love the Blues and they have fun this one.


The CD ends with “Soldier of Fortune” which David wrote with Richie Blackmore back in his Deep Purple days.  It was one of the best performances I have ever heard of this song by David.  It is simply breathtaking and stunningly beautiful.  David gets better and better throughout this album and hits the high point with this one.

You’ve heard a million unplugged albums, but this one really is one of the best out there.  David and Adrian are so great together and David has never sounded better than on this release. The songs are performed in a way you hadn’t heard up to this point and it brings new life to them. David is able to pull out so much emotion that it will resonate with you for some time to come.  And Adrian…well, it’s Adrian.  He gets so much sound out of that Acoustic guitar you won’t miss the whole band.  I would give this one a 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars as I have pulled this one out time and time again over the years.

Now, you can go out and try and find a copy of this CD on ebay or Amazon, but might I recommend the version on the Whitesnake Unzipped Box Set.  It has the full version with the bonus tracks, plus the DVD of the same show.  You can’t go wrong with that version.

Up next…Whitesnake – “Is This Love” 12″ Promo Single – Bonus Review

The David Coverdale Series:

  1. Deep Purple – Burn
  2. Deep Purple – Stormbringer
  3. Deep Purple – Come Taste the Band
  4. Deep Purple – Made in Europe
  5. David Coverdale – Whitesnake
  6. Deep Purple – Last Concert in Japan
  7. David Coverdale – Northwinds
  8. David Coverdale’s Whitesnake – Snakebite
  9. Whitesnake – Trouble
  10. Whitesnake – Lovehunter
  11. Whitesnake – Ready an’ Willing
  12. Whitesnake – Live…in the Heart of the City
  13. Whitesnake – Come An’ Get it
  14. Deep Purple – Live in London
  15. Whitesnake – Saints & Sinners
  16. Whitesnake – Slide It In
  17. Whitesnake – “Give Me More Time” 12″ Single (Bonus Review)
  18. Whitesnake – ‘The Best of Whitesnake (Bonus Review – 1982 release)
  19. Whitesnake – Whitesnake (1987)
  20. Whitesnake – “Is This Love” 12″ Promo (Bonus Review)
  21. Whitesnake – Slip of the Tongue
  22. David Coverdale – “The Last Note of Freedom” – Single Review
  23. Coverdale/Page – Coverdale/Page
  24. Coverdale/Page – “Take Me For A Little While 12” Single (Bonus Review)
  25. David Coverdale & Whitesnake – Restless Heart
  26. Whitesnake – Starkers in Tokyo
  27. David Coverdale – Into the Night
  28. Whitesnake – Live…In the Still of the Night (DVD)
  29. Whitesnake – Live…In the Shadow of the Blues
  30. Whitesnake – Good To Be Bad
  31. Whitesnake – Forevermore
  32. Whitesnake – Live at Donington 1990: Monsters of Rock
  33. Whitesnake – The Purple Album
  34. Whitesnake – The Purple Tour (Live)
  35. Whitesnake – Flesh & Blood
  36. Whitesnake – The Rock Album
  37. Whitesnake – The Albums Ranked Worst to First
  38. David Coverdale – The Albums Ranked Worst to First

Other David Coverdale Albums reviewed – (Box Sets and Bootlegs):

  1. Whitesnake – 1987 (30th Anniversary Edition) – Box Set
  2. Whitesnake – Slide It In (35th Anniversary Edition) – Box Set
  3. Whitesnake – Unzipped – Box Set
  4. Whitesnake – Slip of the Tongue (30th Anniversary Edition) – Box Set
  5. Whitesnake (Snake) – Still of the Night Live in Battle Creek, Mich. July 26, 1987 (Bootleg)

32 thoughts on “Whitesnake – ‘Starkers in Tokyo’ – Album Review (The David Coverdale Series)

    1. It is pretty basic just a guitar and David, but there was something about it that I found magical. Maybe it was when it was released and what was going on with my life at the time, but it resonated and stuck with me.


      1. I was kind of the opposite. I appreciate it more now than I did then. When it came out I just thought it was a waste of time. More cause of Adrian really. Just busking it on the guitar. Just seemed lazy to me. No energy in it.


  1. Great writeup John.

    I remember seeing this cover in the shops at the time in our local HMV back in yesteryear. I was so burnt out and still am on full acoustic sets. Having said that I still like KISS MTV Unplugged. I thought that was a decent one. Probably as it has drums. lol.

    The Unzipped Box set would be the way 2 go but I dunno maybe down the road.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was as well, but I loved this one. And that Kiss one is great, but I think it was great for more than the acoustic. Having Peter and Ace show up made that one special. I love the Pearl Jam MTV Unplugged that was just released on vinyl last RSD.
      When thing calm down, the Unzipped is a good one to grab. It is an overload of unplugged, but in small doses it is great.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Importantly the version on the box set is remixed and superior in every way. I will probably never play the original CD again except to review. $40 that cost when new. ..


  3. I downloaded this album during the Napster days and I love it.

    Whitesnake songs or songs involving Coverdale translate well to the acoustic guitar and it’s pretty obvious why they do after hearing all the demos and evolution mixes he’s released recently.

    All of the songs started off on acoustic guitar.


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