It took me three minutes to realize I actually had "Don Dokken" before my eyes. Don appeared this weekend in Salt Lake City with a new band he recently formed, and he appeared incognito - with shades, coat and hat. At first I thought another band was opening for the group, but when he started to sing the first few verses of "Crash and Burn," I knew it was him.
I have to admit I went into this concert thinking Don Dokken, formerly with the hard-rock band "Dokken" wouldn't be any good. I was pleasantly surprised.The concert offered the same thrills "Dokken" offered when Don was with them. And although battling bronchitis, Don's voice was great.
Visiting Salt Lake City as part of his first national headline club tour, Dokken energized his fans with a new kind of sound contained in potential songs from his latest album "Up From The Ashes," released in August.
The name of the album is appropriate. It's taken from an Egyptian legend, in which the phoenic, a beautiful bird crashed into the ground and died, then rose from the ashes even bigger, stronger and more beautiful.
The similarities between the legend and Dokken are many. First the breakup of "Dokken" after the much publicized, ongoing tension between himself and guitarist George Lynch left him in a world of despair which is reflected in the album's music.
But the formation of this new band has revitalized the singer, giving him new hope and the courage to continue. The band, which includes guitarist Billy White, drummer Mikkey Dee, John Norum and Peter Baltes, has the potential to become just as good as "Dokken" once was.
The old "Dokken" harmonies appear to be gone, and the new songs are different in style and content. The lyrics seem more socially involved and the sound is more serious and mature, reflecting the singer's changes throughout the past year, from drug addiction to a clean life with focused energy.
Don himself took time to reflect on the ongoing struggle he's been experiencing during his concert. He told concertgoers to "hold on" to their hopes and dreams. The advise was personal and sad.
The band seems to have used this inspiration for much of their music. The songs, in this case, are describing personal situations that Don experienced while in the previous band.
Although the "Dokken" sound is definitely a thing of the past, the new band's music still has the heaviness and the softer melodies to attract more hard-rock fans.
In this case, it seems "Dokken" suffered a serious loss, and the new band, under the singer's full name "Don Dokken" gained. Don is a talented musician, able to turn any song into anything he wants it to be.