Two classic rock acts, Whitford/St. Holmes and Whitesnake, hit the Hard Rock Live stage Saturday night for an evening full of fist pumping and headbanging.

Whitford/St. Holmes were the first act of the evening.  Brad Whitford of Aerosmith and Derek St. Holmes, formerly of Ted Nugent, are currently out supporting their newly released Reunion CD.   After waiting 35 years between records, Whitford and St. Holmes decided to collaborate again after they both moved to Nashville a year or so ago.

The results are outstanding.

The duo, along with three other band members: Chopper Anderson (bass), Buck Johnson (keys), and Brent Fritz (drums) nonchalantly walked on stage and quickly got the audience’s attention as they tore into “Shapes” from their new album.

The band continued to play four more rockin’ tunes from Reunion.  “Rock All Day” and “Hell Is On Fire” saw each guitarist trade tasty solos.  St. Holmes even played some slide guitar.  “Shake It” and my personal favorite: “Gotta Keep On Movin’” got the crowd groovin’ to the catchy riffs.

Whitford announced to the crowd that they were going to play some things from “our day jobs.”  With that, they launched into Aerosmith’s “Last Child” that saw Johnson take over on vocals.

Next was the familiar riff of Ted Nugent’s “Hey Baby” which segued into “Train Kept A Rollin’.”

The final number was a great version of Nugent’s “Stranglehold.”  To be able to hear the original singer play this song live, along with another great guitarist, was thrilling to say the least.

The headliners, Whitesnake then took the stage with the sounds of The Who’s “My Generation” that was being pumped through the house speakers.

David Coverdale is a true rock star in every sense of the word.  The look, the stage presence, and the command of the audience that he has, is second to none.

Oh yeah, the man can still sing even though he said he was battling a “summer cold.”

Whitesnake is on their “Greatest Hits” tour and indeed, every song was a hit or a fan favorite.

Dressed in designer jeans and a custom made Whitesnake button-down long sleeved shirt, Coverdale opened with “Bad Boys” from their 1987 multi-platinum self titled album.

“Slide it In” and “Love Ain’t No Stranger” kept Coverdale on the prowl as he paced the stage back and forth, keeping the audience engaged.

Two songs from Slip of the Tongue: the acoustic ballad “Sailing Ships” and “Judgement Day” were played in the middle of the set.

During different points in the show, each band member got to take a solo.  Dueling guitarists, Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra were the first to take the spotlight to showcase their six-string mastery.  Bassist Michal Devin laid down some funky grooves and long time Whitesnake drummer, Tommy Aldridge took his turn later in the show to pound the skins; literally he pounded them with his fists!

On the last song of the set, Coverdale asked the crowd to help him sing “Here I Go Again.”  As he belted out “I don’t know where I’m going,” the near capacity audience responded “but I sure know where I’ve been” and a sing-a-long ensued for the rest of the song.

I’m sure some in the audience had visions of Tawny Kitaen dancing on the hood of a car.

After a brief exit, the band returned to play an extended version of the song that reintroduced the band back in ’87, “In the Still of the Night.”

It was a great night of classic rock from both bands and so far, it was one of the best shows of the year.