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Somewhere between Dokken’s split in the late 80s and their reformation in the mid 90s, Don and company got this idea into their heads that playing their classic songs acoustically was a way to go in spicing things up. This would often result in a very toned down vocal performance, and often a brand new approach to arranging the song. “Yesterday And Today” is essentially a best of collection of various live performances of songs, many of them acoustic, from various points in the band’s career from the point that they reformed with the original lineup, through when they picked up Reb Beach to replace George Lynch during the “Erase The Slate” tour, all of them pretty solid performances.
Although the songs are pretty well mixed up in ordering, the album is divided into half mid 90s material during the “Dysfunctional” era, and the other half being Reb Beach’s tenure with the band soon after. The latter of these groups features Beach cutting heads with the band in some of Dokken’s more classic numbers like “Tooth And Nail” and “Breaking The Chains”, and essentially attempts to out-Lynch Mr. Lynch at his own game with ultra-elaborate solos, a flamboyant guitar tone and a whole lot of sleaze running through each screaming fill he throws in. They also make time for the two obligatory “Erase The Slate” songs that continue to pop up on their live albums and best of compilations, played with the same obnoxiously over the top guitar character that Reb displayed since his days with Winger, while the rest of the band comes off as fairly reserved by comparison.
The acoustic material that was done with George Lynch is interesting from the standpoint that Lynch does plug in for the guitar solos and Dokken actually picks up a guitar for the first time since 1983. The arrangements are mostly done by the numbers, as “In My Dreams” and “Into The Fire” retain their signature character and melodies with few embellishments. The only area where things become disappointing is the remake of “Alone Again” where Dokken simply goes with an accompanying piano for a good portion of the song, essentially turning it into a fairly lame attempt at recapturing what Guns And Roses did on the “Use Your Illusion Pt. 1&2” albums, and altering the vocal lines so that they barely resemble the original version.
As far as live releases go, this is one of those releases that you can either take or leave, depending on how much money you have in your budget. Those who are really devoted to the band will naturally fork over the cash to pick up both “Live From The Sun” and “Live In Japan 95” and essentially get all of these songs plus about a dozen more performed in roughly the same fashion. But those just looking for a sampling of what the band did live after “Beast From The East” could probably find this release useful, but not for more than $9.