Veteran hard rocker Don Dokken played to the sensibilities of the packed Bayou Wednesday night, threatening at one point to beat up white rapper Vanilla Ice if ever their paths should cross, and promising, to great cheers, to turn Iraq into one big parking lot if he were president for a week. His music was less intimidating than his patter, sticking to well-worn rock formulas; big drums, big hook-filled choruses, big twin guitar solos.
Dokken's singing was clear and melodic, despite his claim of bronchitis, and was the best thing about the performance. Guitarists Billy White and John Norum had a similar tone and frantic style that worked well when they were playing prearranged parallel lines, but when they traded off solos they were too eager to impress with technique to be concerned with improving the songs. Drummer Mikkey Dee, formerly with King Diamond, was powerful and perfect for the material, except on his inevitable solo, where he proved that he could play his kick drums really fast to no great purpose.
The songs were strong, if conventionally structured, with "Give It Up" being the best example of Don Dokken's recent output. It was a serious rant against society's ills, war in particular, with harmonies holding up the bridges and chorus without sounding smarmy as they did on "In My Dreams." That song, and others, such as "Stay," showed the downside of his writing, which sometimes leans toward the worst aspects of pop-metal.