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Dokken: From Conception-Live 1981

Thanks to the folks at Rhino Records listeners that found their love of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal in the eighties will truly appreciate this one. As the music of Live 1981 From Conception by Dokken starts spinning in their CD player they are taken back in a time warp. The hardcore Dokken fan will immediately raise their eyebrows knowing that the band would not be signed until a couple of years later and not release a live album until 1988's Beast From The East. These are the facts that make such a release all the more special. In the liner notes by Don Dokken himself he states that as he searched through master tapes for music to be used on an anniversary edition of Breaking The Chains, he would come upon reels that simply said "Dokken Live". These reels would have performances of the band that were recorded before they were signed as the group searched for a record deal, and believe me friends this is one terrific find. The set performed for this concert is loaded with vintage classics from the bands earliest years as well as a number of tracks that that would never actually make it onto the bands catalog of releases. For the most part these songs are a mystery even to the bands most devout supporters. Their presence alone makes the release something that the fans will really enjoy. As they perform, the listener will find a band that is both young, hungry and really showing just how capable they are of the success that will find them not too far in the future. Six of the songs on the CD will find their way to the bands debut release Breaking The Chains and become part of this bands rich Melodic Hard Rock history. Don's voice is in its prime and of course there are few guitar players like George Lynch during this period (he even does a solo which will satisfy those shredder listeners). The capable rhythm section of Jeff Pilson and Mick Brown hold it all together and despite the live setting present a tight, album like feel to the gig. The bands established numbers are great to be heard from this early point in their creation, and even today some twenty-six years later, "Breaking The Chains" is found to be one of the great Hard Rock tunes of all time. As far as the "undiscovered" tracks are concerned, well those are really good as well and the most impressive from their number is "Liar". This powerful tune closes out the bands set and leaves the audience screaming for more. I can safely recommend this to the those who loved the band's classic lineup as well as new fans that are only discovering this glorious decade in Hard Rock history. The music's vintage and its presentation of missing tracks make this really worth the investment. It's time to once again start "Rockin' With Dokken".

Note: 2007 finds Dokken still recording and touring with their original members Don Dokken and "Wild" Mick Brown, while Jon Levin and Barry Sparks handle the guitar and bass respectively.

Track Listing
1. Paris Is Burning
2. Goin' Down
3. In The Middle
4. Young Girls
5. Hit And Run
6. Night Rider
7. Guitar Solo
8. Live To Rock (Rock To Live)
9. Breaking The Chains
10. Liar

Added: April 7th 2007
Reviewer: Ken Pierce
Related Link: Dokken Website
Hits: 2314
Language: english

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Dokken: From Conception-Live 1981
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-04-07 11:58:09
My Score:

From Conception: Live 1981 a previously unheard concert recorded before the band signed with Elektra Records amply demonstrates what set Dokken apart from the era's other so-called hair-metal bands. The four studio albums released by the original lineup sounded darker, more complex and more threatening than anything Motley Crue or Quiet Riot put out at the time. This 10-song show captured somewhere (no info regarding the date or venue are provided) portrays the band in its raw-and-hungry stage, yearning for the success and excess that followed a few short years later. Despite the moldy condition in which these tapes were found in the Dokken archives, the audio quality remains surprisingly impressive a quarter-century later. In addition to songs that eventually wound up on Dokken's debut, Breaking the Chains, From Conception also boasts three previously unreleased songs: "Goin' Down," "Liar" and "Hit and Run." They apparently were wrongfully deemed not commercial enough by Elektra execs, as all three sound a hell of a lot better today than the inane "Live to Rock (Rock to Live") which somehow found its way on to Breaking the Chains. And it's a good thing Don Dokken's stage banter improved. "Are there any rockers out there?" he bellows in the middle of "Night Rider." Duh.

Dokken: From Conception-Live 1981
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-03-13 19:36:57
My Score:

Dokken in 1981 were an untamed, unsigned band, content to play their raw brand of melodic, guitar-based hard rock to audiences worldwide in search of a record contract. That came shortly after this scorching live set was recorded, as most of the songs in this newly discovered show (which Don Dokken himself discovered in an old moldy locker) eventually wound up on their Elektra debut Breaking the Chains. In addition to From Conception being a hi-octane, raw piece of live rock music, the main selling point is the fact that three songs intended for Breaking the Chains but left off the album, are included in this set. Those tunes are "Goin' Down", "Hit and Run", and "Liar", and you'll find all three just about as good as any song that would up on the band's debut. George Lynch fans will find the guitar master litterally on fire throughout this set, rawer than you've ever heard him. Obviously he was very influenced by Eddie Van Halen early on, and it's very evident here on tracks list "Paris", "In the Middle", "Hit and Run", and his guitar solo spot. Don Dokken sounds in fine voice here, very youthful and full of fire, while Mick Brown and then new band member Jeff Pillson (who had just replaced Juan Croucier, who joined Ratt) keep the rock solid rhythm.

Most probably remember the sometimes muscular, sometimes glossy melodic pop/metal of Dokken's big hits and million selling albums, so it's all the more appealing to hear this raw and rockin' live set from the band before they became big. Guitar afficionados will get a kick out of Lynch's over-the-top histrionics here; as electrifying as he is on songs like "Night Rider" and just about every track here, this guy would only get better over the years.

Overall, From Conception-Live 1981 is a very enjoyable unearthing from the Dokken vaults.

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