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LA Guns & Dokken @ Starland Ballroom NJ (7.9.04)

I admit I was excited about this show for a couple of reasons. The first was the chance to see two great bands on the same bill; the second was the chance to be at Starland Ballroom once again. Combined with attending with some good buds, how could one go wrong with all these factors?

LA Guns hit the stage with a great set of some of their best numbers. Phil was in great vocal form and Guns Vet Steve Riley was as smooth as ever on the drums. No other originals remain and the band is instead joined by Roxx Gang's Stacey Blaze and Adam Hamilton. Phil also took some time on the guitar. Phil was clearly enjoying himself as he kept prompting the NY/NJ audience to yell "fuck yeah". He stressed how great it was to be on tour and to see everyone’s warm reception. Their set was too short if you ask me. While I enjoy drum solos, I feel Steve should not have done one and instead performed a few more tunes. I look forward to seeing a longer set from them in the future.

The L.A. Guns set went much like this: 1. Show No Mercy, 2. Sex Action, 3. Never Enough, 4. I Wanna Be Your Man, 5. Let’s Start A Revolution, 6. Rock & Roll Outlaw, 7. Moby Dick jam with drum solo, Whole Lotta Love piece, 8. Electric Gypsy, 9. Ballad Of Jayne into Rip And Tear.

Dokken soon came on and were as skilled as ever. Don sounding as good as I had expected him to. Wild Mick Brown pounding away on the drums, but he was apparently very ill so I give him credit. On bass was Barry Sparks, and on guitar John Levin (formerly of Warlock). Honestly, his guitar work made this the highlight for me. I was standing right in front of him trying to get a guitar pick. He was actually letting the audience pluck them from his guitar, but by the time I got that close he had run out. Oh well, can’t win em all right? I loved the playing by George Lynch on these original tunes, but I have to give John Levin credit for I did not miss him for a minute. Sorry George. I will say that John had all the licks and solos down, I would have enjoyed a full guitar solo from him but there would not be one this evening.

Wild Mick was a regular comedian back from behind the drums as he joked on and off with Don about their long history together and other random silliness.

While the set was full of the classics you would expect, I did feel one or two of them dragged on unnecessarily. One such tune was "Too High To Fly", it was endless and I felt myself drifting away in interest when it passed the five minute mark. Don was telling this story that I could not make out too clearly which made this feel like it was forever. Other than that I have no criticisms of the show, as they played almost every one of my favorite tunes. Try to check them out when they come around as they still rock.

I had no pictures from this, as I was not issued a photo pass or press access, the event was not all that expensive so I decided to not miss the chance to check it out. I was glad I did.

Dokken's Set: 1. Kiss Of Death, 2. Hunter, 3. Into The Fire, 4. new track not sure of the name, 5. Breaking The Chains , 6. Just Got Lucky, 7. Alone Again, 8. Heaven Comes Down, 9. Too High To Fly, 10. It's Not Love, 11. Tooth And Nail, 12. In My Dreams.

Dokken Website: www.dokken.net


Ken Pierce


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