Dokken-Unchain The Night (DVD Review)

Dokken – Unchain The Night
Released: 1986 (Reissued in 2007)
Reviewed: Feb, 2019
Reviewer: JP
Rating: 4/5

It’s time to debut a double, digital, dose, of deadly Dokken DVD’s.   I’ve been on a bit of a Dokken kick lately after so I decided to review UNCHAIN THE NIGHT a Dokken Home video from 1986 and review a Dokken DVD from 30 years later, RETURN TO THE EAST LIVE (2016).  Feel free to enjoy both reviews in this double feature.

Some folks might scoff at Dokken these days but they really were huge in the 80’s. Major label, big budget videos, world tours, Monsters Of Rock, etc.  They were one of the first Melodic Metal bands to release a home video, up until the rise of Much Music and MTV very few bands/labels made the investment in filming and manufacturing a VHS for the home video market.

UNCHAIN THE NIGHT was originally released in 1986 and while I do still have the VHS, I am reviewing the 2007 DVD reissue on Rhino Records with the bonus material.

This is the ‘pinkest’ DVD I own!  Look at that DVD case!   Dokken released this home video which was filmed during the European and North American tours for the ‘Under Lock And Key’ tour, their third album.  With a run time of merely 45 minutes it is essentially a video compilation.  It presents the bands first seven videos and inter-spliced authentic and spontaneous film footage, as the band fooled around with hand-held video cameras, which were kind of a big deal at the time. The main portion is your classic road movie and general tomfoolery.  It might seem dated now but at the time it was pretty cutting edge. It’s charming and fun too look back on it when they still had their youthful enthusiasm and friendships intact.

The bonus section is a quite generous hour long with four more videos each with a five-minute or so introduction by Don Dokken and ‘Wild’ Mick Brown discussing the making of each and the memories they generated. Some great stories and some comments about how much money was wasted to get a shot…$20,000 in some cases for a few seconds of video footage!  It is nice to finally have these classic era videos all in one collection.

Although the videos are not in chronological sequence it is interesting to see the evolution of costumes, budget and general quality.  We go from the fairly rough, no frills video of ‘Breaking The Chains’ in 1983 to the fairly advanced video for ‘Burning Like A Flame’ in 1989 which had some computer animation and some advanced, for the time, stop-motion animation of Lynch’s’ iconic skeleton guitar.

There is also a 30-minute interview with Don and Mick just discussing life, music, and so on. The interview was recorded in 2007 Don has some quite prophetic things to say about the music industry, referring to the still recent Napster/Metallica court case and he predicted, with a degree of accuracy the demise of the CD by 2012.  It hasn’t completely happened yet but he wasn’t far off as by 2010 CD sales were declining rapidly and on-line download & streaming services were increasing massively.

This was a walk down memory lane for me, I’m ranking probably a bit higher than it needs to be, based on my  nostalgia, but for 11 videos and a hour of insightful interviews this is totally worth it for Dokken fans. Apparently this reached gold status in the US, that’s sales of 500,000 copies…not bad for a VHS!

Track listing:

  1. Into the Fire

  2.  Just Got Lucky

  3. Breaking the Chains

  4. Alone Again

  5. The Hunter

  6. In My Dreams

  7. It’s Not Love

Bonus videos

  1. Walk Away

  2. Dream Warriors

  3. Heaven Sent

  4. Burning Like A Flame


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