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Before they recorded their follow-up, 1989's Slip of the Tongue, Coverdale again assembled a completely new version of the band, featuring guitar virtuoso Steve Vai. Although the record went platinum, it was a considerable disappointment after the across-the-board success of Whitesnake. Coverdale put Whitesnake on hiatus after that album. In 1993, he released a collaboration with former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page that was surprisingly lackluster. The following year, Whitesnake issued a greatest-hits album in the U.S. and Canada -- focusing solely on material from their final three albums (as well as containing a few unreleased tracks).
1997 saw Coverdale resurrect Whitesnake (guitarist Adrian Vandenberg was the only remaining member of the group's latter lineup), issuing Restless Heart the same year. Surprisingly, the album wasn't even issued in the United States. On the ensuing tour, Coverdale and Vandenberg performed an "unplugged" show in Japan that was recorded and issued the following year under the title Starkers in Tokyo. By the late '90s, however, Coverdale once again put Whitesnake on hold, as he concentrated on recording his first solo album in nearly 22 years. Coverdale's Into the Light was issued in September 2000, featuring journeyman guitarist Earl Slick.