The Winery Dogs, ‘Dog Years: Live in Santiago & Beyond 2013-2016′ – DVD/Album Review
With this week's announcement of the formation of the band Sons of Apollo that includes two of the Winery Dogs' three members (drummer Mike Portnoy and bassist Billy Sheehan), it might be a while before we hear any new music from the Dogs.
Sons of Apollo will be releasing an album this fall and plan on touring extensively in 2018, and the Winery Dogs vocalist/guitarist Richie Kotzen is focusing on his solo career. That means Dog Years: Live in Santiago & Beyond 2013-2016 will have to tide over fans of the Winery Dogs for a while.
There are a couple of different editions available. One includes a DVD of a concert filmed in Chile in May of 2016 along with an EP of five previously unreleased studio tracks. The special edition has a Blu-ray, DVD, EP and a 2CD edition of the concert audio.
South America is a great place to film a DVD because of the passion of the fans. The crowd at the packed Teatro Cariola in Santiago is appreciative and loud, energizing the band. The setlist of the 100 minute show is equally divided between their 2013 self-titled debut and 2015's Hot Streak.
When it comes to musicianship, it doesn't get much better than the Winery Dogs. Sheehan is a virtuoso and Portnoy is a monster behind the kit. Both get a few extra minutes in the spotlight with extended solos. Kotzen can shred when needed, and is outstanding at any tempo. He was in Poison and Mr. Big back in the day and has released more than 20 solo albums that span genres including rock, jazz and fusion. He's also an excellent vocalist with a bluesy style and a pretty strong set of pipes.
In addition to the concert, the DVD also includes eight music videos, including “I'm No Angel,” “'Desire,” “Elevate” and “Hot Streak.” As for the EP, the previously unreleased songs don't seem to be throwaways. Opener “Criminal” has a funky bottom end and lengthy solo from Kotzen finishing out the song, while “The Game” is packed with proggy moments.
The acoustic ballad “Solid Ground” may not have fit the flow on a studio album, but bridges things nicely on a short EP. “Love Is Alive” is a cover of the 1975 Gary Wright song, and adding a harder edge while keeping the prog flavor works well. The EP closes with another cover, the David Bowie classic “Moonage Daydream.”
Hopefully, the Winery Dogs will eventually regroup and record again, but Dog Years: Live in Santiago & Beyond 2013-2016 is a nice treat for fans in the meantime. The live show captures their skill and passion, it's a quality setlist, and fans will appreciate the unreleased tracks.
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