As much as I dig ex-Yngwie Malmsteen singer Mark Boals' solo albums and the two studio discs from Ring of Fire — a supergroup of sorts comprised of Tony MacAlpine (guitars), Virgil Donati (drums), Vitalij Kuprij (keyboards) and Philip Bynoe (bass) — I must admit that Burning Live In Tokyo 2002 is a bloated concert document. A total of 21 tracks spread over 111 minutes and two CDs (including extended solos from all four musicians!) left me damn near numb. This is neoclassical-metal excess at its best — or worse, depending on your point of view.
Apart from the solos, the set list is a decent one, drawing from Boals' solo catalog and Ring of Fire's own The Oracle (for SoT's review of the album, click here); 2003's Dreamtower (for SoT's review of that one, click here) had yet to be issued at the time. Those albums would be better places for newcomers to start than this. Boals' typically gravity-defying voice sounds a tad thin here, and a muddy mix ensures that Ring of Fire's relentless intensity pummels listeners with a dull thud not apparent on the band's studio records.
Burning Live in Tokyo 2002 isn't a bad album. But as far as live records go, it could have been better.