ALCATRAZZ – Live in Japan 1984 (Complete Edition)
The legendary Alcatrazz featuring the marvelous Graham Bonnet (vocals) performed in Japan back in 1984 and luckily for all of us, one of their most tremendous and powerful gigs was captured on tape at the Nakano Sunplaza in Tokyo. We are of course talking about the renowned late-January 1984 shows at the aforementioned venue and the great thing about this 2018 release is that it is the complete edition, which is to say that you get eighteen tracks spread across two discs. What more could a headbanging bastard like you ask for?
"Live in Japan 1984" captures Alcatrazz in all their rock ‘n roll glory and at the very height of their powers. Throughout the show, one constantly gets the impression that the band members are about to burst into flame due to the intensity that is on display and the hugely passionate performances by all of them. Graham Bonnet sounds so powerful that he probably did not even need a microphone back then and the interplay between Gary Shea (bass) and Jan Uvena (drums) borders on the magical at times. Jimmy Waldo handles the keyboards beautifully and provides layers and textures to the compositions while Yngwie Malmsteen’s edgy guitar playing is to die for. The thing is that Alcatrazz were all about writing and performing thrilling and compelling songs back then as opposed to merely showing off their technical skills and abilities. "Live in Japan 1984" is testament to what a fantastic line-up the 1984 version of the band was and how riveting it must have been to have watched them in action on stage. Classic cuts such as "Too Young to Die, Too Drunk to Live", "Island in the Sun", and "Suffer Me" are amazing and mix incredibly well with Rainbow anthems ala "Since You Been Gone", "All Night Long", and the face-ripping "Lost in Hollywood". The live renditions of "Desert Song", "Jet to Jet", and "Night Games" also come across as utterly strong and confident. The only real downside to this release is the rather tedious Malmsteen solo spot about halfway through, but then what live album from the 80s does not include one or more solo spots?
"Live in Japan 1984" is a riveting live offering that documents a very important time in the Alcatrazz chronicle and it ought to excite all you lovers of hard rock and heavy metal out there. If you consider yourself a fan of Alcatrazz, Graham Bonnet, Rainbow, or even Yngwie Malmsteen, this 2-disc offering is a must-have. Bonnet’s booming voice will send shivers down your spine here and the entire affair is an aggressive and fiery one.