It also helped that the three openers got the fans pumped up for the main event. Cortez opened the show while the crowd was still entering the building and their metal music gave them a reason to yell. Blackout came out next and the local fan favorites put on their always-rocking show. Singer Stan German and guitarist Bobby Michaels played off each other well during their six-song set and kept the crowd engaged. Bobby told the meaning behind some of the songs he wrote and played strong riffs to accompany Stan's solid vocals.
Redline Drive preceded the headliners and delivered a set of fresh rock and roll. Vocalist Scott Kimes has evolved into a formidable singer and entertainer and created new fans. Up-and-coming guitarist Milo Mount sat in with the band as their fill in bassist and is a talent to watch for in the future.
With no introduction, the band members walked onstage to a throng of cameras, then Don Dokken walked out and began "Just Got Lucky." The crowd's decibel level rose several points as guitarist Jon Levin launched into the first of many solos during the night. The well-known opener let everyone know they were in for a night of classic rock and roll.
Fans sang along to "Into The Fire" as the headbangers kept in time to the hard beat laid down by drummer BJ Zampa. As Levin fingered the strings, Don D. went to the side of the stage to drink fluids to battle the allergies caused by the Texas weather. To his credit, he never let the show drag because of it. Don then spoke about going to Comic Con and seeing Freddy Krueger, which let the fans know it was time for "Dream Warriors" from A Nightmare On Elm Street: Dream Warriors. In the audience, the dancers danced and the singers sang along to turn the night into a party that would continue as long as the venue was open.
The first single released from the first of their 11 studio albums was "Breaking The Chains." The beat caused the fans to do the one-finger-pointing dance while spilling beer on the floor. The hard-rocking "Kiss Of Death" featured Zampa pounding on the kit and the fans jumping along with Levin who was shredding a throbbing beat.
Bassist Chris McCarvill added immensely to the solid rhythm section in "The Hunter" from Under Lock And Key, the second of their three platinum albums. The song that stayed on the charts for nine weeks received a big hand from the knowledgeable fans. Levin stroked a hard intro to "Don't Close Your Eyes," a rocking ballad that featured the the whole band showing how tight they have become.
Even hampered by allergies, Don D. was at ease on stage from his many years of touring and engaging the fans. "Alone Again" showed this as the enthralled crowd swayed back and forth to the slow rocker and sang along with the last original member of Dokken. The power rock of Levin's fast picking individual notes and extended jam in "Too High To Fly" was also highlighted by a snippet of "The End" by The Doors in the middle of the song. The short portion fit perfectly into the song and pleasantly surprised the fans who listened intently to the words that were different from what they expected to hear.
After many years, DD said he decided it was time to write some new material and one of the songs was "It's Another Day." The hard beat sounded like vintage Dokken and included a mid-song jam that was well-received by the fans. Cameras came out again to the distinctive first notes of "It's Not Love" as Don interacted with the crowd during a thumping bass solo. The middle of the song segued into "All Right Now" by Free and it turned into a singalong that lasted several minutes.
Don talked about sitting on a beach drinking tequila after a lengthy tour and the words to "In My Dreams" just came to him. Audience members either recorded the rocking song or danced while flashing the Rock & Roll Forever hand sign to show their appreciation of the hit song that was recorded by Dokken's most famous lineup of Don Dokken, George Lynch, Jeff Pilson and Mick Brown. There was time for one more and DD said it needed to be a fast, kick-ass song. He nailed it as they finished the night with "Tooth And Nail" containing furiously fast fretting from Levin. It was a terrific finish to a night of great music that took the fans back in time and let them relive the days when they could rock all night long.
The hard-core fans loved the 13 songs that the extremely tight band played over an hour-and-a-half. It turned a casual Sunday night into a great concert night. Special thanks to the staff at Gas Monkey Live for taking care of everyone.