Released: 2007, Frontiers Records/Zink Music
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Don Dokken was asked if he wanted to make a remix of the band’s debut album BREAKING THE CHAINS in order to re-release it for its 25-year anniversary. Dokken entered the deep vaults where he keeps his treasures and found a couple of old 2-inche tapes that were in faded boxes. The tapes were marked with “Dokken live”, so Dokken rang up drummer Mick Brown and together they listened through the tapes and found out that it was recorded when the band was trying to get signed in America. There were also a few un-released tracks on the tapes.
And just as the title says, this is a single live album Dokken taped back in 1981, long before the band became megastars. However, it doesn’t say where the show took place or if it’s a single recording or a mix of several shows. Perhaps those are small details, but it does take away a little of the live feeling for me. It’s a hungry Dokken that you hear on the album. They deliver energy and vitality in such a dedicated way you can almost taste it. They really show that they are ready to take on the world.
I have always been a fan of Dokken’s American melodic hard rock, and on this album I have 10 tracks to enjoy. All of the songs are taken from the debut album except for the three previously-unreleased tracks. Don Dokken is in a great mood and he makes jokes with the audience and invites them to sing along with the song “Nightrider”. George Lynch is already a great star on guitar with his energetic playing style. When you listen through the album, you get struck by how strong it still is today; it really has stood the test of time. The three unreleased songs are called “Going Down”, “Hit and Run” and “You’re a Liar”. All of them could easily have fit into any Dokken album. The ordinary show closes with “Breaking the Chains” before the band comes back to do an encore, which is “You’re a Liar”.
The album is produced by Dokken himself. When you realize that the source was an old tape he dusted off, you can tell he’s done magic with the production. The sound-picture is so sharp, it almost sounds like it could have been recorded today.
FROM CONCEPTION – LIVE 1981 is a given purchase for every Dokken fan. Dokken says “I hope our fans will enjoy adding this to their Dokken collection; it’s definitely a blast from the past.” That sums up this album; while waiting for the new album, this live album is a brilliant substitute.