Published on August 5th, 2017 | by Justin G.
Dokken: Beast From the East (Rock Candy)
I almost never buy live albums. I certainly don’t buy them twice. But but I was a HUGE Dokken fan back in the day and can clearly remember saving up to buy their 1988 live album Beast From the East…on cassette. I picked it up again on CD two decades later, mainly for nostalgic reasons. I thought that would be enough, but when the Rock Candy label, which did such a brilliant job on their reissues of the Dokken studio albums, announced they were reissuing Beast From the East, I knew I had to have it.
The live set on Beast From the East was recorded in front of a very large, very enthusiastic Japanese audience and later hyper-engineered in the studio to remove any imperfections. The result is a bit too perfect (almost sterile, but in 1988 that’s not something most people would have cared about), but even now it makes for a killer “best of Dokken” collection. The band blazes through the best of the best from their studio albums, serving up all of the hits you’d expect, and their performance (touched up or otherwise) is really strong. Whatever tensions were running through the band at the time, they seemed to have great chemistry on stage. In addition to the 16 live songs that spanned this double album, Beast From the East also featured one new studio song called “Walk Away.” It’s a ballad that was left over from the Back for the Attack sessions, and is a really strong Dokken song that’s arguably as good as anything on that album.
As I said, I don’t usually go for live albums, so I can’t really tell you how this album measures up to other live albums from the era. I can say as a Dokken fan that I still get a real kick out of hearing Beast From the East. If you’re a fan of the old school Dokken albums, it’s not to be missed. If nothing else, it’s worth it for “Walk Away” and what has to be the definitive version of “Mr. Scary.”
Reissue Notes: Rock Candy’s reissue of Beast From the East features a new digital remastering that is perhaps more subtle than their other Dokken upgrades. It’s clearer and has obviously been cleaned up so you can pick up more details, but they don’t overdo it on sheer volume. They also spread the material across two CDs, so we get the full Beast From the East set. There’s also a very informative, very candid interview with bassist Jeff Pilson in the liner notes, which sheds a lot of light on where the band was when this set was released and the breakup that followed. All told, it’s the kind of reissue that makes you happy – even thankful – to be buying an album for the second (or third) time.
Summary: A rare "must have" live album - reissued