WHITESNAKE has been forced to cancel its concerts in Milan, Italy (June 28) and Vienna, Austria (June 30) due to an infection of the sinus and trachea suffered by the band's frontman, David Coverdale.
On Monday (June 27),Coverdale released the following statement via the official WHITESNAKE web site and social media: "Dear WHITESNAKE fans around the world:
"We have been rocking our way across the globe on the first part of our Farewell Tour giving all we've got to you, the fans.
"The rigors of the road are the same for all of us and we have been trying to keep everyone healthy and safe.
"Unfortunately we have been hit recently with a couple of situations that we have been dealing with, the best we can..
"First our beloved band leader Reb Beach went down temporarily and he missed a couple of shows while he mended (and is much better now, by the way).
"Then the rock of our band, the Legendary Tommy Aldridge went down and we unfortunately were not able to play the Rock Imperium Festival in Cartagena this past Saturday (very regrettable and all apologies to our Spanish fans and friends).
"Tommy was bad enough at the time to have missed the first show ever in his career – The GOOD news is that he is feeling better and is anxious to get back out there to perform for all of you.
"Unfortunately I have now been hit hard as well. I started feeling a bit under the weather two days ago, and was just diagnosed with an infection of the sinus & trachea. The doctor recommends 5 days of no singing and bed rest.
"Sadly, that means that we are not going to be able to do the upcoming shows in Milan, Vienna and a decision on Zagreb [July 2] is about to be made.
"I'm very sorry to all the fans who had planned to come see our Farewell Tour in each of those cities – it's my intention to get better as soon as possible and be able to pick up with the remaining shows of the European Farewell Tour. You are all in our hearts!!"
WHITESNAKE launched its farewell tour on May 10 at Dublin, Ireland's 3Arena. The band's 14-song set, which was part of a European tour with special guests EUROPE and co-headliners FOREIGNER, marked WHITESNAKE's inaugural performance with the group's two latest two additions, keyboardist, guitarist and backing vocalist Dino Jelusick, and Irish bassist Tanya O'Callaghan.
WHITESNAKE kicked off the concert with "Bad Boys" / "Children Of The Night" and played a set which drew heavily from the "Trouble" (1978),"Ready An' Willing" (1980),"Saints & Sinners" (1982),"Slide It In" (1984),"Whitesnake" (1987) and "Flesh & Blood" (2019) albums. WHITESNAKE also performed its staple cover of "Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City", a 1974 R&B song written by Michael Price and Dan Walsh, and first recorded by Bobby "Blue" Bland for the "Dreamer" album.
Coverdale, who turned 70 in September, recently opened up about his plans to retire from touring after the band's next batch of concerts around the world, telling the "Appetite For Distortion" podcast: "I planned to retire on the 2020 tour when I was 69. I thought that was the perfect age for the singer of WHITESNAKE to call it a day. But sadly, it was not to be, as we know; other events were in store. So now the t-shirt designs don't resonate as well for 70. But it's mind-blowing to me that I'm preparing my farewell tour. And it is — make no mistake, this is the farewell tour. I'm 70. It's a very physically challenging thing for me to do at the best of times. But it's very important for me to achieve completion and to express my appreciation and gratitude to all the people — the millions of people over the years — who've supported me for five decades, fifty years. It blows my mind — it really does."
"A lot of my peers and contemporaries are on their 20th retirement tour. I don't intend to plan that," he clarified. "I must explain, though — it's me, just David Coverdale, who's retiring from touring at that level. WHITESNAKE will still make projects. I've been writing music all through COVID. I wrote some beautiful new ideas. I have ideas in case Jimmy [Page] wants to do anything — write on FaceTime, which is an alien concept to him. But all songs that we can utilize for a WHITESNAKE project. But the music of WHITESNAKE will continue. That's most important that people know. I'm just stopping touring at this level — that's it."
According to Coverdale, there could very well be new music from WHITESNAKE in the years following his retirement from the road.
"I've got a bunch of ideas for WHITESNAKE, so we may have another project there — I don't know — without the pressure of having to go on tour," he said. "We have such a solid fanbase, I think fans are gonna buy the record with or without a tour. This is just emotionally for me to be able to go out there and do stuff. And also, you've gotta remember, we've started this legacy series of box sets, similar to the 25th anniversary. We have, I think, the 35th anniversary of 'Slide It In'; the 30th anniversary of the WHITESNAKE '87 album; we have a very special project planned to accompany the tour; we have another box set planned for this time next year. And then in 2023, we have the 30th anniversary of COVERDALE/PAGE, and the 50th anniversary of me joining DEEP PURPLE. Mind-blowing. So it's not like I'm retiring. [Laughs]
"Thankfully, physically and vocally, I still have the goods," he continued. "As my wife reminds me, I was actually touring up to spring in 2020, before lockdown. And I was 68 years old, and I'm still kicking ass. Of course, having an amazing band and an incredible and enthusiastic audience gives you that energizing aspect. It's just the traveling is challenging for me. But music is oxygen to me. I'm not gonna go fishing or take up crochet; I'm gonna definitely be doing projects. I'm lucky enough to have my own studio. It's the best of a bunch of worlds. And I have to thank people in person around the world for helping me to be in this position that I am in my life at this time. I don't wanna do it through a video [on] social media: 'Sorry we can't get out there, but thank you for 50 years.' That would be heartbreaking for me."
Coverdale had both his knees replaced with titanium in 2017 after suffering from degenerative arthritis. He later explained that he was in so much pain with arthritis in his knees that it hampered his ability to perform live.
Prior to the pandemic, WHITESNAKE had been touring in support of its latest album, "Flesh & Blood", which was released in May 2019 via Frontiers Music Srl.