Album review: GRAHAM BONNET BAND – Live In Tokyo 2017

GRAHAM BONNET BAND - Live In Tokyo 2017

Frontiers [Release date 12.07.19]

Vocalist Graham Bonnet has been busy of late, both solo and with his early 80s band the resurrected Alcatrazz. Studio, live and archive, and each one essential listening. With bands like The Marbles, Rainbow, MSG, Alcatrazz and Imperlitteri to add to his solo career, he’s never stopped working.

My introduction to Bonnet was his 1981 solo hit ‘Night Games’ and its performance on Top Of The Pops, with Gillan on the same bill. That was from his first solo album ‘Line-Up’, featuring Micky Moody, Jon Lord and Cozy Powell, amongst others. I’ve been a fan of Graham Bonnet ever since, his appearance on Rainbow’s 1979 classic ‘Down To Earth’ LP a bonus. And this album proves that Bonnet’s voice is as powerful as ever.

The live set kicks off with Rainbow’s ‘Eyes Of The World’ (a track I’ve seen Bonnet perform with comrade Don Airey) – and there is simply not a better track by Bonnet. Full Stop. A longer and very VERY powerful epic, it was by far the best track of Rainbow’s more commercial period. And to hear it live again now is a spine tingling moment.

‘California Air’ has a more commercial feel; it’s solid, and Bonnet has a solid band here. A nice bit of shred mid song.

Then it’s to the ‘Line Up’ LP, and again a commercial track but ‘SOS’ is always a good listen, and ‘Night Games’ is a pure class classic of a rock/pop song. Between this and the opener, the money is well worth your money alone. The Imperlitteri track ‘Stand In Line’ is next up, showing a more metal side to Graham’s career. MSG’s ‘Dancer’ and ‘Assault Attack’ get an airing too – showcasing the singer’s versatility and strength of catalogue.

Additional Rainbow tracks include ‘Since You Been Gone’, ‘All Night Long’ and ‘Lost In Hollywood,’ the latter a blistering take that really sets the crowd going.

Bonnet introduces many of the tracks, there a few words, but he’s not one to converse with the crowd, like the likes of Dickinson do. But the music is just fantastic.

The DVD, with bonuses, shows the gig nicely. Bonnet still moves around the stage smartly dressed. For a gentleman of 69 as he was then, performing like this and with that power in voice, hats off and glass raised. Seriously.

The video I may return to once or twice, but the live audio is classic and will get many a spin here. Could do with being a bit longer, but a fine set all the same. ****1/2

Review by Joe Geesin

Gig review (August 2018) and interview

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