Coming immediately after my second and last Whitesnake gig on their run of UK dates (at the Manchester Apollo) was this live event put together by the charity Music Heals. Music Heals was set up in 2010 by some friends, all of whom are Whitesnake fans and who all live in different parts of the British Isles. Already they have as patrons Whitesnake guitarist Doug Aldrich, that band's former keyboard player Timothy Drury and Liverpool singer-songwriter Stephen Langstaff.
The charity aims to help seriously-ill children through music in various ways, be it in the creation or addition of music rooms in hospitals, or the provision of instruments or other items for use in childrens' wards. The charity has worked with Claire House in Liverpool and St Oswald's Hospice in Newcastle, donating musical instruments, toys and books. Having met with many noted rock musicians and gathered various items for auction in order to raise funds, the organisation put on its first live fundraising event at Jabez Clegg bar in the heart of Manchester's university area. The event featured two live bands and a silent auction, where some items relating to Whitesnake and Status Quo were on offer. One of the items was auctioned separately and this was the chance to meet Quo themselves at any one of their upcoming UK dates. Fittingly then, the two bands playing were tributes to Whitesnake and Quo, in the form of Whitesnake UK and State of Quo.
My involvement on the night was as event photographer; I'd been asked to take shots of both bands in action and any assorted goings-on. So it was that I found myself with my big SLR digicam for once, taking pictures of a band playing songs that I'd heard only the previous night! Whitesnake UK gave a set lasting around an hour and did a fine job in warming up the early attendees. After their set the auctions began with people coming along and making written bids; some smaller items were on offer including signed CDs, DVDs, posters and even the special Whitesnake issue of Classic Rock magazine which included the complete 'Forevermore' album. The other band on were State of Quo; they had brought a few of their own followers along and when they struck up, the floor soon filled with air guitar players and boogieing punters. I was very tempted to join them, but I had a job to do! They also played for around an hour, featuring Quo material only from the 1970s - the classic stuff. Following their excellent set, the silent auctions closed and the main auction for the Status Quo meet and greet got under way, compered by State of Quo's lead singer Ian Hill. (No, not the bloke from Judas Priest!) To Ian, and everyone else's amazement, the bid reached a staggering £600.
By the time the totals were added from the night's proceedings and the eBay auctions (which included a guitar autographed by both Doug Aldrich and David Coverdale) a total of £2574 was raised. All in all it was a great night, with good music, good company, and all in aid of a very good cause. Music Heals are always looking for volunteers to spread the word and also musicians - at any level - to support them. For more information email at email@example.com or join their Facebook page.