Graham Bonnet Band – Live In Tokyo 2017
Frontiers Music s.r.l
Release Date: 12/07/2019
Running Time: 72:15
Review by ‘Dark Juan’
Good evening, my flock of the disaffected, the vain, wall eyed and insane. Tonight you are going to witness a man totally lose his shit about a woman. Possibly..!
It is well known I am not a fan of live albums, because the live experience requires a visual component. Thankfully, Graham had this covered for me and has kindly provided me with the footage that goes along with this record, so I hereby offer my thanks and salutations to this mighty and puissant stalwart of metal. The man is a fucking legend…
So, yeah, this is a live recording of Graham and the guys (and gal. Oh, Beth-Ami, be mine. Even your name is perfect. My twisted, shrivelled black heart beats only for you, my proud beauty… sigh) playing some of the more unusual and rare tunes from his days with Alcatrazz, MSG, Impellitteri and Rainbow as well as his stuff with the Graham Bonnet Band. And fuck me crossways, this is good…
I’d even go as far as to say this is fucking classic. This is how metal should sound in the live setting. Alright it’s as Trad Metal as it gets, but nothing touches Trad Metal for riffs and hooks and anthemic choruses. Metal’s most famous accountant’s haircut has assembled a band of uncommonly high talent and it shows through in every single sublime guitar lick from Conrado Pesinato (complete with array of highly amusing guitar solo faces), in Mark Benquchea’s ultra-metronomic drumming (complete with array of highly amusing focused drummer faces) and the legendary Jimmy Waldo hitting the keys like a man possessed (I really don’t want to talk about his face). At the front of it all there’s the Skeggy Boy. A man in command of himself, and his audience! A living legend at the fucking greatest, mightiest height of his powers! A man that makes Corey Taylor look like an amateurish fucking chancer who shouts a lot! A man who demands your attention and your loyalty, and does it so effortlessly you don’t even notice yourself falling to your knees and offering supplication in the form of opening your own veins and spilling your lifeblood at his impeccably shod feet…
And then there is the fragrant, beautiful, heart stopping Beth-Ami Heavenstone. A woman so perfect my heart breaks every time I even look at her. Dark Juan lost his soul to her years ago, but she never even noticed such is the level of her perfection. An angel on Earth with a bass guitar and a smile that makes this hellpriest nearly believe in God. A woman of such magnificence, she makes every other woman within 500 yards of her utterly insignificant. I am not worthy of her attention… No one is, so how did that Lincolnshire howler do it? The absolute bastard! I’ll find out. I will fucking find out and then I’ll bottle it and go and find her…
Sorry, I might have slightly digressed. Yes, the record. Oh my fucking god, the record. This is the best live album I have ever heard. There is not a dropped note in the entire performance and Graham is absolutely at the peak of his powers, effortlessly soaring through his vocal range and reminding us all just what a mighty influence he has been for decades. He looks and sounds like he is enjoying the fuck out of what he is doing and that is infectious. Even I, a notoriously hard and critical man to please with music, have been caterwauling along with every single chorus of every single song. Hodgson Fartpants (one of Dark Juan’s Hellhounds. So named because I could make a fortune out of renting him to dodgy Middle Eastern regimes for chemical warfare purposes…) immediately showed his displeasure with my off key shrieking by fucking off upstairs and going to sleep on my pillows. Plus, the man is a genius level songwriter. Not so much for content, but for the ease with which he crafts such exquisite choruses. You only have to hear Night Games or Samurai once to understand what I’m talking about. And another thing while I am frothing with such incredible enthusiasm… the backing vocals! The harmonies! Oh, the motherfucking harmonies. They hit you at the base of your spine.
And the utterly desirable and simply jawdropping Beth-Ami Heavenstone (have I told you how amazing she is yet? No? How remiss of me) has a gutwrenchingly sweet alto that reduced me to a quivering mass of pathetically lovestruck goo within seconds of her singing the backing vocal to the chorus of S.O.S. There are some voices that give you goosebumps. She has one, on top of all her other sublime qualities. WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO MAKE YOU NOTICE YOUR MOST ARDENT ADMIRER, BETH-AMI? TELL ME, TELL ME, I IMPLORE! NOTICE ME, SENPAI, NOTICE ME!
I don’t know about you, but I’m going to need to take a cold shower in Antarctica after this one, boys and girls.
…As we wrench ourselves back into the business of actually being useful to you readers and telling you about the record, then. The production and sound quality are far beyond adequate. Every instrument and cymbal is easily heard and the lead vocal, although to the fore of the mix, is not overpowering the rest of the music. The backing vocals are similarly high in the mix but again are not blanketing the instruments. The song choices for this gig are equally inspired. Everything from the ultra-classic Since You’ve Been Gone through to MSG’s Dancer through to the absolute highlight of the record – an extraordinarily sleazy, sexual, filthily orgasmic rendition of All Night Long! The record ends, somewhat bizarrely, with an alternate lyric studio version of The Crying Chair, which, although interesting and a damned fine rock and roll record, jars somewhat with the fucking awesome night we have just had listening to Graham fucking Bonnet live. Yes, I know I am swearing a lot. No, I don’t care. I am expressing joy. Fuck you. It seems like it was almost bunged on there as an afterthought, you know? Kind of like that last sentence!
Ladies, gentlemen and people of all other genders (I’m nothing if not inclusive. I hate everyone equally) we have on our hands here a perfect storm of a live album – superbly played by the musicians, sublime lead vocals from a living metal legend, well produced, well mixed, with inspired song choices, the biggest ever choruses in metal, and Beth-Ami Heavenstone. Have I told you how much she turns me into a quivering schoolboy every time I set eyes on her? How my heart does little flip flops as I gaze at her magnificent bass playing prowess? How I wish those long, elegant fingers were touching me and her cool gaze and tinkling laugh were for my eyes and ears only? No? We could be here for some time, then….
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System is cross-eyed with desire right now and actually really needs to take a shower in liquid nitrogen, but has struggled manfully on to award the Graham Bonnet Band 10/10 for an utterly fucking brilliant live record. It really should be like 150/10. It is the finest live album I have ever heard. And Graham Bonnet is a musical hero of mine. And Beth-Ami, I adore you.
01. Eyes Of The World
02. California Air
04. Night Games
05. Stand In Line
06. Into The Night
07. Love’s No Friend
10. Desert Song
12. Since You’ve Been Gone
13. Assault Attack
14. All Night Long
15. Lost In Hollywood
16. The Crying Chair (Intended Lyric Version)
Graham Bonnet – Vocals
Conrado Pesinato – Guitar
Beth-Ami Heavenstone – Bass (You’re going to be hearing quite a lot about her. Sorry, not sorry.)
Jimmy Waldo – Keyboards
Mark Benquchea – Drums
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.