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Alcatrazz: Parole Denied - Tokyo 2017 (CD/DVD)

While the Graham Bonnet Band took part in their Japanese tour of their release The Book in 2017, it was arranged to also have a three-night special engagement reunion of Alcatrazz with founding members Bonnet, Jimmy Waldo (keyboards), and Gary Shea (bass), alongside GBB musicians Mark Benquechea (drums), and Conrado Pesinato (guitars). Playing a selection of Alcatrazz classics from their three studio albums (No Parole From Rock ' Roll, Disturbing the Peace, and Dangerous Games), the band and Bonnet appear to be having a great time here in front of an adoring crowd of longtime fans who of course are eating up every note of it. Guitar slinger Pesinato does a more than admirable job here tackling the diverse talents of Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, and Danny Johnson, wowing the crowd with a sizzling solo on the poignant "Suffer Me" and adding in all the six string gymnastics on rockers like "Skyfire", "God Blessed Video", and "Jet to Jet". As for Mr. Bonnet, he's in fine vocal form, still belting it out on memorable fare from the first album such as "Too Young to Die..Too Drunk to Live", "Hiroshima Mon Amour", and their hit single "Island in the Sun". As a longtime fan of the band, it's great to see and hear these songs being performed once again.

This set also contains a bonus CD with some rarities from the 1985 recording sessions for the Disturbing the Peace album, many of which sound unfinished and, well, left off the album for a reason, but "Emotion" does contain a pretty hot guitar solo from Vai, and "Losing You is Winning" is quite catchy. "Blur Boar" also rocks pretty hard with a strong vocal from Bonnet, as does "Rider", but most of these songs are very dated sounding, loaded with cliched '80s synths and just not all that remarkable, but for the Alcatrazz completists, will be well worth having.

Track Listing
Night Of The Shooting Star
Ohayo Tokyo
Too Young To Die...Too Drunk To Live
Suffer Me
God Blessed Video
Will You Be Home Tonight
Jet To Jet
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Island In The Sun

Emotion (Studio Demo)
No Imagination (Studio Demo)
Losing You Is Winning (Studio Demo)
Please Call Me (Studio Demo)
Blue Boar (Studio Demo)
Ohayo Tokyo (Studio Demo)
Set Me Free (Rehearsal / Studio Demo)
Rider (Rehearsal / Studio Demo)

Added: December 16th 2018
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Graham Bonnet Facebook Page
Hits: 1819
Language: english

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Alcatrazz: Parole Denied - Tokyo 2017 (CD/DVD)
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2018-12-16 00:45:36
My Score:

It’s been a busy old time for Alcatrazz fans, with all manner of box-sets, reissues, official bootlegs and the like surfacing and begging for pennies. Hence when the live album, augmented with demos, Parole Denied, was announced, I was a little non-plussed, but to be fair this is something a little different. Rather than a vintage performance dredged from the fan vaults and spruced up for release, this live disc (also available with a DVD I haven’t had the chance to see), is a document of a reunion between the band’s singer Graham Bonnet, keyboard player Jimmy Waldo and bassist Gary Shea, that took over three decades to come to fruition - with this show coming from Tokyo in 2017.

Standing in for ex-Alcatrazz guitarists (Yngwie Malmsteen/Steve Vai/Danny Johnson) comes Bonnet Band six-stringer Conrad Pesinato, while Mark Benqueuchea mans the kit - and between them the five-piece lock in tight as though they’d always been together. Thankfully Bonnet is also in fine form, a singer who can on occasion throw a bit of a wobbly on stage hitting the mark in fine, if by his standards, laid back style - a decision which undoubtedly works in his favour. As you’d expect, the hits are in evidence as the audience lap up an eleven song set consisting of cuts like the energetic “God Blessed Video”, “Ohayo Tokyo” and “Jet To Jet”, alongside “Hiroshima Mon Amour” and the stunning closer “Island In The Sun”. Across them all credit is due to Pesinato who does a solid job of reviving guitar lines made famous by two of the rock world’s leading lights, Malmsteen and Vai. I’m pleased to say that the live disc here easily outstretches expectations and hearing Bonnet, Waldo and Shea back together again is a real pleasure.

The second audio disc gathers together a collection of demos, 1985 given as the year of origin for the first six of those, and suggesting that we’re listening to Steve Vai go through his paces. Although the press info only commits to first of these, the slowie “Emotion”, as definitely featuring the future David Lee Roth guitarist. That said, through its very nature, this song isn’t really a huge guitar showcase but Vai is still given a little room to shine. From the other cuts from ‘85, “No Imagination” is a nice beefed up rock n’ roll adaptation, “Losing You Is Winning” is a more commercial piece of hard rock, while “Please Call Me” is one of Bonnet’s trademark observational tales of life and despair. Leaving the pair of cuts which made the Dangerous Game album, “Blue Boar” and “Ohayo Tokyo”, to show how they came into being. The final two demos are “Set Me Free” and “Rider”, where we’re not given much indication of the era of their construction, although from their sound they certainly seem to come from a different session and time.

Are these tracks must have for Alcatrazz fans? Well, probably the diehards will answer in the affirmative, but in all honesty, no one is really missing out if they don’t hear these demos. However, with the surprisingly good standard of the live material, they do make a worthy accompaniment.

Although they always nodded far too reverentially at Graham Bonnet’s time with Rainbow, Alcatrazz deserved much more recognition than they ever really received. And with that in mind it is satisfying indeed to hear the original trio at the heart of the band revisit old times in such good spirits.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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