Ratt and Dokken (view the full slideshow.)
May 9, 2013
The '80s paid a visit to the Celebrity Theatre Thursday night, when hair metal rockers Dokken and Ratt hit the Valley for a night full of Aquanet-infused anthems. Dokken might be one of the most underrated '80s bands still standing; their first four releases, including the gritty Tooth and Nail, have long been overlooked. In reality, original guitarist George Lynch could hold his own against most of the other players in the genre, and musically Dokken didn't have as much fluff as some of their contemporaries.
Unfortunately, the original lineup is all but gone -- the show really should have been billed Don Dokken and Ratt, since the singer is the only original member left. Don would probably fire back that guitarist Jon Levin has been in the band for the past 10 years, but it's still not the same watching him play Lynch's solos. Meanwhile, drummer Mick Brown has been in and out of the band for years; while he still plays with them occasionally, he spends most of his time on the road with Ted Nugent.
Details aside, one thing remains the same: Dokken still rhymes with rockin'. So how much rockin' went down last night?
From opening track "Just Got Lucky," two things were clear: The group of musicians that Don has playing with him are spot on, blasting through Dokken staples with ease, and Don himself isn't what he used to be. Tracks like "Kiss of Death" and "Into the Fire" saw him struggling to hit the notes, and he leaned heavily on backing vocals from Levin and bassist Sean McNabb during every chorus.
That's the bad news. The good news is that the faithful in the half-filled theater really didn't seem to mind; while Don may not have the pipes he used to, he was still great at connecting with fans, reminiscing and telling stories about the band's heyday between songs.
Stephen Pearcy of Ratt once told MTV that the band didn't see the rest of their genre as competition -- that their real peers were bands like Led Zeppelin and The Beatles.
We all know that was crazy talk, in hindsight, coming from a band whose enduring catchphrase is Ratt and Roll. All pretentiousness aside, Pearcy and the band not only brought the party from the '80s with them last night, they also sounded incredible -- which didn't help Don Dokken's case.
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The band comprised all its original members, save for the deceased Robbin Crosby, who has since been replaced by Quiet Riot guitarist Carlos Cavazo. Warren DeMartini's lead guitar tone made you feel like you were on the Sunset Strip, and their setlist gave fans exactly what they wanted -- hits like "Way Cool Jr.", "Lay It Down", "You're in Love," and set closer "Round and Round."
More: View the full slideshow.