Billy Sheehan, Mike Portnoy, and Richie Kotzen (a.k.a. The Winery Dogs) released their self-titled debut last summer. The rock super group’s album proved to be one of the best rock records of 2013 at least in the view of this critic. Now the trio has followed up the success of its debut full-length with a re-issue of that album that includes a bonus live disc boasting a ten-song live performance by the band. That recording, Unleashed in Japan 2013, combines songs from the band’s self-titled debut, and songs previously unreleased in the United States. The bonus disc itself is the central point of the re-issue’s enjoyment. The recording’s set list is another reason that audiences will enjoy the bonus concert. The show’s audio mix is the finishing touch for the whole package. That factor, the set list and the very fact that this show would be included with the original album makes the whole package one of the year’s re-issues definitely worth checking out.
The new re-issue of The Winery Dogs’ self-titled 2013 debut record is one of the few album re-issues definitely worth checking out in 2014. The primary reason for that is the album’s bonus companion live recording. The Winery Dogs obviously isn’t the first band to re-issue an album with a bonus live recording. But The Winery Dogs is a super group of sorts. Its members each have their own projects going on outside of this one. So, touring time is more than likely limited. That being the case, it makes any live recording all the more valuable especially for fans that don’t have or haven’t had the chance to experience The Winery Dogs live. The companion live recording is even more of a bonus when compared to the live recordings included as companion material by other bands on their albums. Other bands just take performances from their tours and jam them all together onto a CD or DVD (or both in some cases). The Winery Dogs didn’t do that here. This recording is an extensive concert recorded in Tokyo, Japan, July 17th 2013. That was the second ever concert held by the band. It would be interesting to see if Loud & Proud Records will follow up this audio recording with a companion DVD/Blu-ray video in the near future to compliment this piece of the whole. Regardless, having included a concert recording as extensive as this one with the band’s debut album is central to this re-issue. It gives audiences the near complete experience of what The Winery Dogs is all about.
The inclusion of the bonus live recording as part of The Winery Dogs’ new re-issue is central to the re-issue’s enjoyment. The set list chosen for the band’s concert is just as important to the package. Audiences will notice that the band only played a few of the songs from its debut record in this concert. The band included in its live companion recording one song that was previously unavailable to American audiences. The trio also included songs that its members had written and recorded with and by others. Among those songs are: Poison’s ‘Stand’, Elvin Bishop’s ‘Fooled Around and Fell In Love’, and even a piece co-written by Richie Kotzen and Richie Zito (both of whom performed and recorded with Poison) titled ‘Shine.’ The combination of the band’s own works and the these songs makes the band’s concert all the more of a full experience. The band’s balance of the songs throughout its set is the key to that enjoyment. And set alongside the concert’s audio mix, the concert becomes a complete experience for fans.
The set list chosen for the band’s concert presented here is quite well balanced, especially being a concert promoting the band’s debut album. As important as the set list is to the experience, the audio quality of the recording is especially important. That applies whether or not audiences were actually there in person at the show. The show’s audio mix is relatively clear. The vocals and music are both equally balanced. The show’s audio operator is to be commended for handling what was a clear issue with the venue’s acoustics. Even on record, audiences can tell that the concert’s venue had to have had rather high ceilings. Even despite this, the person helming the boards compensated quiet well for this, putting what is the final touch to the recording, making it a recording that any fan of these three veteran musicians will love. The recording together with the band’s original debut album make the package as a whole one of the year’s few re-issues so far worth checking out.
The band is currently touring in support of its newly re-issued album. It will perform live at the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, CT. The band’s current tour schedule also brings it to North Carolina for a pair of dates this month. A performance at Amos Southend in Charlotte, North Carolina is scheduled for next Saturday, May 10th and one to follow the next day at Ziggy’s in Winston-Salem. The band’s current tour schedule is available online at http://www.facebook.com/TheWineryDogs. Audiences can check out the band’s tour schedule there as well as keep up with the latest news from the band, too.
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