DOKKEN: Return to the East (Live 2016)

Even though the reunited (and doesn’t it feel so good) Dokken  that being Don Dokken/George Lynch/Mick Brown &Jeff Pilson recorded this live album back in 2016. It finally hit the street this past Friday April 20th on which I had it on preorder for about two months as I love me the Dokken!

Yeah I’m being serious not being a smart ass as you see back in my High Schooling  Days of the early to mid 1980’s Dokken along with Ratt and too a certain extent Motley Crue put out a string of good hard rock albums that today I can still listen to.

Ok.  After Crue’s Shout at the Devil I kinda have a hard time buying into Nikki Sixx’s  silliness of high jinks but that’s another post for another time.

Dokken though were a different Beast(no pun). So close to superstardom and because Don and George could not get along Dokken unraveled at the tail end of the 80’s amongst egos and dope.

They all never recovered  career wise…

Too bad…

But when some promoters came sniffing around with pockets full of dough in 2016 the guys who disliked each other fell in love again  and viola play some shows and record em and put em out!

So here comes Return to the East. The  way overdue followup to 1988’s Beast From The East double live set that was basically the farewell of the original  Dokken from many years ago….

If you recall from Beast in the East the final track on Side Four was the power ballad  studio track Walk Away which of course they all did and here we are 30 years later and Dokken leads off 2018’s Return of the East with a new studio track It’s Another Day. 

It’s Another Day sounds like vintage Dokken. A mid tempo like rock track that harkens back to the mid 80’s version of Dokken. Lynch drops down a real good unlike  Lynch solo and man oh man nice surprise move there  Mr Scary!

Believe me Folks when I tell ya this is not a toss away track! Nope! It’s an excellent Dokken Rock track and its wicked to see that they just didn’t throw a song together for the sake of throwing a song together! I liked this track 2 months ago when the preorder dropped this track onto my iPod and I still like it now!

Now onto the Live Show….

Kiss of Death leads the charge with Lynch and I will say that throughout this album Lynch is BOSS! George plays the songs how he wants to play em and why not he co wrote the music and if wants to shred like there’s no tomorrow let him If he wants to take the gas off the  guitar pedal let him. Lynch is the Master!

This album is a smorgsaboard of the Dokken  hit parade from back in the 80’s. Nothing from the 90’s or any other period of Dokken material here of the  various rotation of Guitar/Bass Players which Don has employed when him and Lynch went Pissy Pants on each other are featured. Just Dapper Don and Curious George at there finest!

My all time fave Dokken Tune The Hunter is finally given it proper live due with the original four playing on it! Love the pace of this tune! Great opening line of “Clouds Roll By As I Look To The Sky” Hahaha..

Unchain The Night/When Heaven Comes Down/Breaking The Chains/Into The Fire/a welcome addition of finally hearing Dream Warriors/Tooth and Nail/Alone Again/It’s Not Love (with a Cool Fuzzy Bass solo from Pilson)/In My Dreams( When I mentioned that Lynch is BOSS watch  George’s solo on the video I posted below!)

Wowzers that’s a slick decent track list eh?! All the hits delivered plus two acoustic tracks in Heaven Sent and Will The Sun Rise round out the album.

Now as I already stated Lynch is the Man on this album. But how about a shout out for Bassist/Backing Vocalist Jeff Pilson whose Bass tone on this album is fantastic and Jeff keeps it simple when George is off and running on his solos but his Bass lines are incredibly catchy! Good for you Mr Pilson as 30 years ago you were buried under an avalanche of Guitar Heroics and Hairspray but no longer will that be the case.

Drummer Dude Mick Brown knows his place in Dokken! Show up! Play the Drums! Handle the Backing Vocals! And Kids …don’t drive Golf Carts backstage all snapped up!

Don Dokken well what am I gonna say about him in 2018! The man has had to reinvent a whole new way to sing. His voice is no where strong as it was like it was back in the day so to speak.  Don  and David Lee Roth have both destroyed their vocal range from whatever it was that they  did which  is there deal and I’m not judging! At least they are still doing it! These songs though resonate with me on a whole other level as Dokken were one of the better L.A Bands to bust out back in 1984! So for that Don gets a pass even though he’s more of a Metal Crooner than a Metal Singer at this point!

Once you wrap your listening ears around Don’s Deal. Everything is ok in DokkenVille!

The production is good …Dunno if that’s the actual crowd but who cares. The mix is little raw on the Guitars while the Bass and Drums are mixed with clarity. Cool sound actually …

My one gripe is the running order of this album. This is not the actual way it went down and I don’t get why. I do like the fact that they put the new studio track as the first song instead of tucking it at the back-end and it being buried. All live songs fade in and fade out. The one head scratcher for me is after Track 9 which is Tooth & Nail (Speaking of the track Tooth & Nail that has to be Lynch’s version of Eruption especially when does that crazy frenzied picking when the music stops before it ramps up again…)which as soon as it ends goes into a few seconds of The Hunter which goes into a quick fade out. Sloppy comes to mind as you can listen to the full track of The Hunter back at Song 3.

Why the powers that  would be would allow this is puzzling. I could see this kind of laziness back in the Coked out 80’s but its 2018 these guys are Grandfathers or some em are I’m sure for! Haha!

They should have released the tracks in order of how the show went down…

My only Gripe!

Actually this is like the 80’s for me when I used to tape music for Tbone and I would cut off a live tune if I was to include that kinda stuff on cassette  tapes. Maybe there’s a Method to Dokken’s Madness?!

Who knows ..

Still though I’m not letting that ruin this one for me as here we are four months into 2018 and Live Albums are dictating my listening taste so far this year! John Corabi’s beyond stellar Live 94 is a must listen. L.A Guns with Made In Milan has also blown me away as Traci Guns is a Beast on Guitar. Not to be outdone KIller Dwarfs Live ..No Guff as well is so good as they are just plain old-fashioned Hard Rock Tunes. Whitesnake with the live Purple Tour release is’s there…

Dokken though! The Original that is ..WELCOME BACK. But only this lineup and if Don packs it in just keep it in-house and get Pilson to sing the songs…

Just Saying!


12 thoughts on “DOKKEN: Return to the East (Live 2016)”

  1. Great write-up, Deke… this sounds pretty great. Also good to see that HMO is in agreement.

    Also, “buried under an avalanche of Guitar Heroics and Hairspray”… love that line. Haha!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have been listening to this one as well. I am loving it, but that was my gripe as well, the fading in & out… WTF?? It has taken me awhile to accept that Don has to sing the songs the way he does. I was taken aback at first, but am digging the slight change in the song presentation. It is still cool overall!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep sometimes the wheel has to be reinvented John and this time its Don who had to figure it out..
      Too bad the youtube videos of iPhone recordings don’t help his cause any.
      But some Original Dokken is better than no Dokken…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Totally agree on the silly sequence of the songs. I was like WTF.
    Lynch is still unbelievable on it and he’s even better with age while Pilson is the unsung hero of this band.
    But the album doesn’t cut it for me. And I think it has a lot to do with the vocals, which I understand Don doesn’t have the same chops and he’s reinventing each song to suit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah Don’s vocals are an acquired taste at this point!
      I’m giving this album a pass as these are songs that I first discovered back in the 80’s….
      It took a few listens to wrap my noggin around Don’s deal now…


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