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For anyone with a taste in 80s style heavy metal, Dokken pretty much personifies the best musically oriented side of the glam scene, mostly because their image was the only thing glam about them. Along with other acts such as Twisted Sister and Motley Crue, they put the emphasis where it belongs, on the riffs and the attitude. This concert represents a true cock rock band at their absolute best, injecting some loud and raucous sounds into the air and filling up their songs with plenty of vocal and guitar ad libs, not to mention a crowd that is singing along with every chorus, word for word.
Throughout the early and mid 80s we’ve been treated to several top quality albums featuring the genius of guitar god George Lynch, who blends the speed picking and fret board tapping style of Eddie Van Halen with the heavy metal practice of longer winded musical storytelling. He rips out one of the most wicked guitar solos just before going into “Mr. Scary”, completely dwarfing Eddie’s shred instrumental classic “Eruption” within the first 30 seconds. On several other songs he throws in some off-the-cuff fills between Don Dokken’s verses, adding some much needed edge particularly to some of the slower songs.
Although Lynch clearly steals the show here, one should not discount the performances of the other 3 in this fold. As with every 4 piece band, a lot of pressure is put on the bassist to keep the song centered while the guitarist goes off into shred land; in this Jeff Pilson does not disappoint and succeeds in making up for the lack of a backing guitar track. Likewise Mick Brown really has his shit together, particularly on the faster songs such as “Tooth and Nail”, “Mr. Scary” and “Kiss of Death”. Don Dokken, who at this point is still in possession of his full singing range, really outdoes himself and even sounds cleaner on some of the high end screams on “Unchain the Night” and “Dream Warriors” than he did in the studio.
As to highlights, there aren’t any, the whole damn album is one huge highlight that doesn’t quit until the last track is finished. But it is noteworthy to mention the extra studio track at the end of the album, which is sort of a nostalgic “The road not taken” song that displays how much more great music we might have gotten out of this band if they had been able to get along with each other. “Walk Away” is a vintage Dokken ballad in the same vain as “Will the Sun Rise?” and “Alone Again”. It’s loaded with amazing guitar work, has a quality vocal performance, and a hypnotically catchy clean guitar riff during the verses rivaled only by the even more hook oriented chorus.
This is a live album that should be in the collection of any fan of Dokken or anyone who likes shred and 80s metal. If you like Dokken and only have enough money to get one CD, get this one rather than one of the studio albums, this is the real stuff. You have all the greatest songs in their purest form, without all the sappy music that occupied some of the tracks on the studio albums, not to mention being free of the musical vomit that occupied their music from the reunion in the mid-90s up until now.