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Ah, the 1980’s, when so many Metal bands were
performing at their peak, both musically and financially!
Looking back now from the vantage point of living
through that era, and attending a number of concerts
during that decade, I can say with a fair degree of
accuracy that with regard to the “Hair Metal/Glam Metal”
genre, Dokken is probably my favorite band. My opinion
is based upon having heard the four albums they
released between 1984 and 1988, when they were
at their peak.

Dokken’s 1983 first album, “Breaking the Chains,”
wasn’t bad, but they really hit their stride with 1984’s
“Tooth and Nail,” proving that they could crank out
hard rockers with the best of them, along with
strong power ballads, such as their megahit,
“Alone Again.” This reputation was confirmed with
their 1985 release of “Under Lock and Key,”
followed by 1987’s “Back for the Attack,” and their
1988 live album, “Beast from the East.”

Dokken is special to me, due to their combination of
pleasing vocals, catchy “hook driven” songs with
a strong, melodic component, and an ace guitarist
in George Lynch. The classic lineup of founder
Don Dokken on lead vocals and occasional rhythm
guitar, Mick Brown on drums and backing vocals,
Jeff Pilson on bass guitar, keyboards and vocals,
and George Lynch on guitar is featured on a
2003 DVD I recently watched, “Dokken: Japan Live ’95,”
released by the Sanctuary label.

As with many bands, Dokken has had its fair share of
“drama.” In this case, the two most combustible
elements were George Lynch and Don Dokken,
leading to the disbanding of the group in 1989,
only to reunite a few years later. Hence, this
concert was taped at the Koseinenkin Hall in Tokyo,
presumably while the band was promoting its then
newly-released album, “Dysfunctional.”

Fortunately, the 84-minute concert featured most of
Dokken’s hits from their 1980’s heyday. The show
was pretty good in the main, although the production
values weren’t top notch. Nevertheless, it was the
first time I’d seen the band perform, and I was glad
that I caught the classic lineup in action. In particular,
George Lynch was quite good. I’ve always liked the
sound of Don Dokken’s voice; however, it sounded
a bit strained and underpowered here. Perhaps he
has one of those voices that benefits from the
“studio treatment.” Some of the vocal harmonies
between Dokken, Pilson and Brown were a bit off, too.

It was still enjoyable on the strength of the songwriting,
and I was able to have a good time. The DVD included
a few bonus features, such as a 1999 version of
“Paris Is Burning,” featuring Reb Beach, a true shredder
on guitar, along with an acoustic version of
“Dream Warriors” of “Nightmare on Elm Street III” fame,
a trailer for a more recent Dokken concert, and
a photo gallery.

As I said before, it was not a top-notch production,
but it’s still one that Dokken fans will want to see.
The band has gone through numerous personnel
changes over the years, but in my opinion, the
classic 1980’s lineup featured here was the strongest one.