Live in Tokyo 2017

Anmeldt av Jens Nepper
(Frontiers Records, 2019)

Karakter: 4/6

grahambonnet.jpgHere is yet another Graham Bonnet Band live offering, and this one, which was recorded in Tokyo back in 2017 (as its title so neatly suggests), is basically the twin brother of the Alcatrazz “Live on Parole – Tokyo 2017” release that came out last year. Quite a few live albums by the legendary vocalist have seen the light of day within the past two or three years, and the quality as well as the longevity of them most definitely vary. The great thing about this brand new one is that the set list contains inspired renditions of classics and gems from the mighty Rainbow, MSG, and Impellitteri, but on top of that we get some killer versions of lesser-known Bonnet solo cuts such as “California Air”, “Into the Night”, and “Rider” from the superb and yet ridiculously underrated “The Book” (2017) record. It warms my heart that so much of the aforementioned album is represented in the live set as that shows just how much Mr. Bonnet believes in the song material lifted from that one.

Boasting a confident and skilled line-up consisting of the great man himself on vocals, Conrado Pesinato on guitar, Beth-Ami Heavenstone on bass, Jimmy Waldo on keys and strings, and Mark Benquchea on drums, there is no faulting the musicianship and the sound is really crisp and clear here. Graham's charismatic and unmistakably cool voice is strong and booming, and “Live in Tokyo 2017” oozes class and professionalism all the way through. It is a treat to experience such sharp and hugely atmospheric versions of the epic and keyboard-heavy “Eyes of the World” and the melodically delicious yet fast-melting “Lost in Hollywood” – both of which stem from the Rainbow masterpiece that is “Down to Earth” (1979). Another glorious standout is the punchy “Night Games” – that melancholy chorus is just to die for. “Stand in Line” also benefits from a hard and compact sound as does the moody MSG classic that is “The Desert Song”.

But is it a must-have or essential? No, not really, but for those of us who enjoy (or in some cases worship) Bonnet's work with MSG and Rainbow in particular, this is a most enjoyable album that serves as a good reminder of how timeless many of these songs are and just how good they sound in a live setting. As usual, Frontiers have neither included nor made the DVD footage available to those of us who received the digital promo version, so I cannot comment on how that looks or whether it is interesting or not. Please keep in mind that this review only pertains to the actual audio tracks.



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