Heart of Steel: Concert Reviews

Dokken: Long Way Home Tour
The Tivoli, Helsingborg, Sweden - May 22, 2002

Review & Photos by Anders Sandvall

Don DokkenDokken preformed an excellent performance during the Sweden Rock Festival in SŲlvesborg, Sweden last summer and now they are back in Europe again. They bring the new strong record LONG WAY HOME for which they are touring in support of.  The tour began in England and now itís time for Scandinavia and they kicked off in Sweden. Yesterday it was time for the first concert in Helsingborg in the southern part of Sweden. I met the band in the morning and talked to everyone and especially with Mr. Dokken during his signing of my records. The reason why they havenít been in Europe besides last summer for 11 years is that the band-members didnít like Europe. But he wanted to come. He didnít know how long they could keep the Swedish guitar hero John Norum. The rumors said that once again the band "Europe" would reform...AGAIN. John is the only one who knows. Mr. Dokken appreciated meeting the Scandinavian fans last year. He told me that they would mostly play oldies and two new songs from the new record LONG WAY HOME. This was for two reasons. The new record is so new and thus not yet well known. As well, most people come to hear the old songs from the 80's. Barry Sparks, the new bassist, is too "clever" to play in his band. Everyone in the band behaved nice and walked around in Helsingborg looking at the sea and the boutiques.

Wild Mick BrownThere were plenty of people and the concert was sold out. We had to wait for the band in one and a half hour. The line-up was almost the same as last summer despite the bassist.

Don Dokken - lead vocals
Wild Mick Brown - drums
John Norum - guitar
Barry Sparks - bass (former member of the Y. Malmsteen and MSG)

This concert was  better than the one I witnessed last summer. The atmosphere this time was more intimate. The feeling was more energetic and we all had the feeling that they enjoyed being back - especially Don. Dokken. They started the show with the old classic "Kiss of Death." Then they gave us the classics as a fine necklace: "Hunter", "Into the Fire", and "Tooth and Nail." We heard two new tracks - "Sunless Days" and "Little Girl." We even got "Itís Not Love" (extra long with a really impressive bass solo and John gave us a qualified solo on guitar and there after Don Dokken invited us to sing along with him as he always does). They also invited us to sing along in the song "In My Dreams." The whole band seemed to have fun. Everyone moved around. Don Dokken still has a strong voice, he sounds like a god (I donít find him dull on stage. Many find him so for some reason). I am very impressed over Barry on bass who is really skilful and his bass-solo made me speechless!! John played his fingers almost to the point of bleeding. He is a real guitar hero and his playing was much better this time than last summer He is really, really good! Mick handled the drums with such a force that they broke! The sound quality was very good, and everybody in the band was heard.

Don was in a very good mood and made fun with the audience all through the gig. He talked between the songs and he imitated Ozzy and felt sorry for him because of the MTV show about Ozzy and his family - although Don has big respect for Ozzy and likes him a lot. He also made fun with Mick who spoiled his drums all the time. Don had promised him one beer for one song and Mick wanted to make a good job and play at least 45 songs. Barry was so keen on his solo so he didnít want to stop. Don told him to, but changed his mind and let him go on for a while and then John showed us his skill. I enjoyed the show enormously and love these 80's metal heroes. I just stood there and was very happy to hear the old songs live again during one hour and fifteen minutes. It was magic! They are welcome back soon and Dokken is still going strong. A concert in world class style! Dokken's brand of metal is somthing needed in this era when not as many bands play this style. This was one of the better concerts I've been to this year as far as I am concerned.

John NorumThe only minus was the show time - too short for a band with their extensive back catalogue of songs. Only one encore...Very STINGY!!!!!

Thanks to Dokkenís manager during the show. Thanks to my friend Pekka who was keeping the track of the playlist.

Set list
Kiss of Death
The Hunter
Sunless Days
Into the Fire
Maddest Hatter
Breaking The Chains
Little Girl
Alone Again
Itís Not Love (bass and guitar solo)
Tooth and Nail
In My Dreams
Erase The Slate (encore)

Don Dokken  John Norum

Barry Sparks

Just after this review was written and ready to go live we got this news item (early June 2002) :

John Norum has left Dokken half way through the band's European tour in support of the new album. His departure is being attributed to an amp falling on him and injuring his arm, although there seems to be some skepticism that this is actually the case. Until John is able to return (if he returns?), the band has hired Alex De Rosso to fill in for him. If John is un-able to play the shows for the Summer tour in the US, Alex will continue to play. Check Alex's website at www.AlexDeRosso.com and of course visit the official Dokken website at www.dokken.net for updates to what is going on with the band! 

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