Dokken returned to the Buffalo area Friday evening for the time since their 2003 appearance at the now defunct Continental. Joining vocalist and band’s namesake Don Dokken were guitarist Jon Levin, bassist Sean McNabb and the man who has played with almost everyone on drums, Jimmy DeGrasso. The band played a ninety minute set that featured what one would expect to hear along with a surprise or two.
Starting things off with “Just Got Lucky” from their platinum selling release Tooth And Nail, merging right into “The Hunter” Don sounded good to start off the show. It is no secret that Don has had issues with his voice and that he had surgery on it a few years back. Some of the songs were tuned down so Don could attempt to tackle them as he can no longer hit all the high notes quite like he used to. Don told stories as he introduced several of the songs such as “Breaking The Chains” which he explained was written while he was in Germany as he was just about down and out.
Guitarist Levin whose playing was influenced by ex-Dokken guitarist George Lynch, did a fine job emulating his hero on such tracks as “Into The Fire” and “It’s Not Love”. Levin‘s finest moment of the evening came during “Kiss Of Death”, the leadoff track from the Back For The Attack album as he delivered a blistering solo.
Sean McNabb appears to have stopped the revolving door at the bass position as he has now been in the band for three years. McNabb also had a long stint doing the same for Great White during what many call the best live version of that band. McNabb also had a chance to take a turn in the spotlight
Drummer Jimmy DeGrasso was on board for this tour with “Wild” Mick Brown unavailable. DeGrasso cut his teeth playing in Y&T, White Lion, Suicidal Tendencies and Alice Cooper. He also has done a lot of session work and is always in demand. DeGrasso while steady held his own, but without Brown there you could tell there was something missing.
The band never left the stage for any customary encores as they Don announced they were going to play something heavy as they tore into the speedy “Tooth And Nail”. “Dream Warriors” a song the band had ignored until recently was the biggest surprise of the evening. Dokken has its latest album Broken Bones coming out in a few days so it was surprising the band did not offer up a cut or two to help promote it. “When Heaven Comes Down” and “In My Dreams” closed out the show.
It remains to be seen if the aforementioned Lynch and former bassist Jeff Pilson will ever reunite and tour with the band again. While it was not the same Dokken from years past, it was still good to see Don performing and seemingly enjoying it. Don always seems to find very good musicians to work with and the guys he has now are no exceptions.
Just Got Lucky
Kiss of Death
Into the Fire
Breaking the Chains
Too High To Fly
It’s Not Love
Tooth and Nail
When Heaven Comes Down
In My Dreams
Special Thanks to Ross Catalino for allowing us to review the show.