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REVIEWS

 

Bad Company offers a good time

Judith Salkin - The Desert Sun- July 18, 2010

Bad Company performs Friday at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. The English rock super group was founded in 1973. Some of their hits are “Can't Get Enough” 1974 and “Bad Company.“ (Photos by Wade Byars, The Desert Sun)

Paul Rodgers performs with Bad Company in concert at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino.

One thing we need in the desert to dispel the heat is a good concert or two to distract our sun-fried brains. Friday night's concert by Bad Company in the Special Events Center at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio was the perfect antidote to the 100-plus temps outside.

Founding bandmates Paul Rodgers, Mick Ralphs and Simon Kirke, along with guitarist Howard Leese (who previously worked with Heart) and Lynn Sorenson on bass and piano, gave the audience of nearly 3,000 a good 70 minutes of heavy-hitting rock on what has turned out to be the third leg of a reunion tour that started as a one-night stand at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in 2008.

The band brought out the majority of its hits, from the opening number of “Can't Get Enough of Your Love” (which seemed to be the sentiment of the audience) to the closing strains of their self-titled named first hit, “Bad Company.”

During the past 40 years, Rodgers and Co., haven't lost any of the passion for the music that they had in the early years. Every one of the 15 songs was delivered as though they were introducing it the first time, and the pacing of the songs gave both the band and the fans the chance to build to energy-packed final tunes.

The band also made good use of the LED screens at the back of the stage, which added a theatrical effect to “Burning Sky,” along with a smoke machine and “Bad Company,” with scenes that looked like they were cut from Thomas Edison's “Great Train Robbery.”

The set list included“Feel Like Makin' Love,” “Run With the Pack,” “Gone, Gone, Gone,” “Movin' On,” “Young Blood” “Ready For Love” and “Super Star.” Missing were “Rock Steady” and “Sweet Lil' Sister,” although the screaming, dancing fans didn't seem to miss them.

Two nice breaks in speed were the second song of the night, “Honey Child,” and “Seagull,” with just Rodgers and Ralphs on stage playing dual acoustic guitars.

It was short and sweet and a great night of music.


Bad Company rocks with gusto at Pacific

George A. Paul - Orange County Register - July 18, 2010

While waiting in line Saturday night to watch Bad Company during the 2010 Pacific Amphitheatre Concert Series, one silver-haired gentleman wearing a tie-dyed shirt exclaimed, "I've waited 30 years to see this band!"
Surely he meant the latest incarnation -- the closest fans can get now to the original.

As with many classic rock acts that came to prominence in the '70s, you need a scorecard to keep track of all the lineup changes. For Bad Company, the short version goes like this: vocalist Paul Rodgers, guitarist Mick Ralphs, bassist Boz Burrell and drummer Simon Kirke formed in 1973, after noteworthy stints in Free (Rodgers and Kirke), Mott the Hoople (Ralphs) and King Crimson (Burrell). The supergroup, the first signed to Led Zeppelin's Swan Song Records, achieved massive success -- all but one of its '70s releases went platinum, the '74 self-titled debut eventually selling 5 million copies -- but it broke up in '82.

A few years later, Ralphs and Kirke revived the name and steered toward a more pop/rock direction. Three additional hit albums and several radio chart placements ensued, while many musicians came and went.

The full founding quartet recorded four new songs for an anthology collection and toured behind it in 1999 -- then Burrell and Ralphs exited, while Rodgers and Kirke continued until 2002. (Merchants of Cool, a live disc from that tour, featured music from the Grove of Anaheim.) Rodgers subsequently joined Queen for a well-received world tour, resulting in 2008's The Cosmos Rocks studio album, though that didn't make much of an impact.

Surviving members of Bad Company (Burrell passed away in 2006) made a short East Coast concert jaunt last summer. This past April the band's sold-out gig at London's Wembley Arena was filmed for an upcoming live DVD; a new Greatest Hits -- due out domestically sometime in the future -- landed the band in the U.K. Top 10 for the first time in decades.

But their impact continues to be felt here, including in local ways: Prior to show time in Costa Mesa, fans could donate money for a signed memorabilia raffle to benefit the Kids Rock Free music education program at Fender Center in Corona. Rodgers is an active supporter of the facility, having appeared and performed there on several different occasions.

Over the course of a 90-minute, 16-song set, Bad Company tastefully kicked out the jams before a packed venue of enthusiastic concert-goers. Ralphs, 66, walked onstage and looked happy to be back in Orange County after a long absence. He immediately motioned for everyone to stand as the guys opened with "Can't Get Enough."

Rodgers, clad in a lime green shirt and black vest, twirled the microphone stand in the air and sang with gusto. Former Heart guitarist Howard Leese, who has played in Rodgers' solo band since the late '90s, did tandem riffs alongside Ralphs.

For "Run with the Pack," Rodgers stood to play a black piano and added the first of several soulful vocal tags at the end. With the stage shrouded in smoke and lightning projected on the video screens, an ominous-sounding "Burnin' Sky" was an early highlight. Lynn Sorenson, another mainstay from Rodgers' solo band, excelled here with sinewy bass lines, while the singer delivered gritty wails at the song's conclusion.

Lightening the mood, the band's hit cover of the Coasters' "Young Blood" was simple fun, while the gorgeous ballad "Seagull" found Rodgers and Ralphs alone at the front of the stage on acoustic guitars.

Some harder-edged rock came via "Gone Gone Gone" (from 1979's Desolation Angels). Then Rodgers was back at the piano for the tranquil "Electricland," which the frontman said was inspired by Paris. He had no problem with the sustained vocal notes. Leese's 12-string guitar work on the extended intro to "Simple Man" shimmered; Rodgers infused the contemplative song with bluesy vocalizations.

The subtle folk accents on "Feel Like Makin' Love" were freshened up and elevated live, thanks to Leese's mandolin work and Rodgers' harmonica solo. Audience members loudly sang along at Rodgers' prodding, but did so even more boisterously during the poignant casualty tale "Shooting Star." Despite its non-hit status, that track's reception is equal to that of "Rock and Roll Fantasy" and "Movin' On."

For the encores, Bad Company offered up a laid-back "Ready for Love," with dreamier guitar effects that verged on the psychedelic, plus more of Rodgers' bluesy inflections. Both he and Ralphs playfully leaned on each other a few times, proving the old camaraderie remained intact.

Fittingly, images of flames and horsemen were projected on the screens as the band performed its fiery namesake tune. They pulled out all the stops. To quote another popular selection, Bad Company simply rocked steady on this evening.


Plenty of love at Bad Company concert

Jane Stevenson - Toronto Sun - Aug 5, 2010

RAMA, Ont. - Bad Company turned out to be very good company on Wednesday night as the British classic rock act, featuring three original members, played a sold-out show at Casino Rama.

Singer Paul Rodgers, whose stellar pipes were last heard fronting Queen at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto four years ago, drummer Simon Kirke and guitarist Mick Ralphs, have been joined by guitarist Howard Leese (Heart) and bassist Lynn Sorensen on their latest trek.

Opening with the classic, Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, the compact and muscular Rodgers - in a yellow shirt, black studded vest, and skin tight black pants - confidently led the group in front of a sleek-looking video backdrop that initially had the band's name (shortened to Bad Co.) in red and black lights.

A healthy crowd immediately gathered at the front of the stage.

"It's nice to see you," said Rodgers, 60, who had stripped down to a white tank top by the fourth song to show off his impressive physique which he helped keep in shape with constant mic stand lifts.

"How's everyone in Ontario tonight? Wow, what a beautiful crowd, so great to see everybody."

Turns out Rodgers has Canada to thank for Mrs. Rodgers - former Miss Canada, exercise physiologist and artist Cynthia Kereluk - who he married in the Okanagan in 2007.

"It's fantastic to be back in Canada, I gotta say," said Rodgers later as the 80-minute show came to a close. "I gotta thank Canada for my lovely wife, thank you."

Considered to be one of the first "supergroups" of the '70s, Bad Company was formed by former Free members Rodgers and Kirke with Mott The Hoople's Ralphs and former King Crimson bassist Boz Burell, who died of a heart attack at aged 60 in 2006.

On the current outing, the 66-year-old Ralphs and Leese nicely shared lead guitar duties while the 61-year-old Kirke pounded his drum kit like a man half his age.

But it was Rodgers who was the total charmer, and a versatile musician as he played piano on Run With The Pack, Electricland, and Bad Company, harmonica on Oh Atlanta - "On my way, back to Ontario," he inserted into the song - and handled acoustic guitar opposite Ralphs on the contemplative rock ballad Seagull.

"Incredible voice," said Ralphs of Rodgers after the two of them shared the stage alone.

Sadly, Leese's mandolin introduction to Feel Like Makin' Love was marred by a bad connection as it popped in and out but the song was still a standout as was Shooting Star, which saw Rodgers encouraging a crowd singalong while up on Kirke's drum riser.

Other highlights included Rock N' Roll Fantasy, with both guitarists and the bassist at the front of stage, Bad Company, during which black and white cowboy footage was shown on the video screen, and Ready For Love and Rock Steady, classic rock gems, one and all.

RATING: 3.5 out of 5

SET LIST:

Can't Get Enough Of Your Love
Honey Child
Run With The Pack
Burnin' Sky
Oh Atlanta
Seagull
Gone, Gone, Gone
Electricland
Feel Like Makin' Love
Shooting Star
Rock N' Roll Fantasy
Movin' On

ENCORE:

Bad Company
Ready For Love

SECOND ENCORE:

Rock Steady


Bad Company's never out of date

Brett Milano - Boston Herald - July 28, 2010

During its ’70s heyday, Bad Company was something of a supergroup. The band’s members all came from well-established bands (Free, Mott the Hoople, King Crimson). They even had Led Zeppelin’s endorsement, as the first band signed to Zep’s Swan Song label.

These days Bad Company looks like the last of a dying breed: an English hard-rock band steeped in American soul. After many lineup changes, they’re back with three-quarters of the original (singer Paul Rodgers, guitarist Mick Ralphs and drummer Simon Kirke; founding bassist Boz Burrell died in 2006) and a set full of vintage songs (“Electricland” from 1983 was the newest one played at the Bank of America Pavilion on Tuesday). Only Ralphs’ fire has dimmed a bit: The band now has a second guitarist, original Heart member Howard Leese, who never got introduced, though he took at least half the solos.

The band’s main attraction, then and now, is lead singer Rodgers - a gritty soul shouter in the mold of Otis Redding and Tom Jones. At age 60, Rodgers still has his full vocal power, and is more inclined to improvise around his original parts. Fresh from fronting an ill-fated Queen reunion, he seems far more at home in Bad Company, with its macho, good-time vibe. Though the obvious hits were all in the set - the most obvious of all, “Can’t Get Enough,” was the opener and “Bad Company” the finale - there was room for deep-catalog tracks. Most telling was “Gone, Gone, Gone,” in which Rodgers comes up with an instant cure for the lost-girlfriend blues: “I better get the boys together and do some drinking fast.” That’s Bad Company’s worldview in a nutshell; some things never go out of date.

Boston band Township was an inspired choice to open. They do irony-free classic rock with memorable tunes, big, chunky riffs and the occasional prog workout. The band’s excitement at playing an arena was totally infectious


Bad Co. proves place in rock history

Scott McLennan - Boston Globe - July 28, 2010

Bad Company hit the Bank of America Pavilion yesterday not so much with a concert but rather a pitch-perfect classic-rock tent revival.

Standard-bearers of 1970s rock, Bad Company unfurled all the expected hits, plus a few choice deep-album cuts, before a packed crowd of devotees that knew every nuance of "Feel Like Makin' Love'' and cheered the exultation of "Seagull'' without a hint of irony.

Things could have felt terribly dated but for the pure conviction of singer Paul Rodgers, guitarist Mick Ralphs, and drummer Simon Kirke, the original members of Bad Company, joined by bassist Lynn Sorensen and guitarist Howard Leese. Founding bassist Boz Burrell died in 2006, but took part in the 1999 incarnation of the band's reunion, which continues in spurts.

Rodgers possesses possibly the strongest voice of rock's golden-age singers (talking to you, Jagger and Daltrey), and that power spurs a sense of awe within anyone who can appreciate the band's output of hit albums through the 1970s. If this was never your thing, so be it, but if a rousing sing-along to "Shooting Star'' sounds like a good night out, well then Bad Company still delivers.

Bad Company launched its crisply paced show with "Can't Get Enough,'' a bit of bluesy yearning that serves not only as a signature hit but also a template for the band's work: narrative lyrics, chunky guitar hooks, disciplined grooves.

Sure, all of the big numbers made the set list, but sensing that it was playing to the converted, Bad Company chipped in nifty obscurities like "Oh, Atlanta'' and "Gone, Gone, Gone,'' gifts to folks who own the albums as well as enjoy hearing a Bad Company tune pop up on the radio.

Touring with Leese (a regular in Rodgers's solo band), Bad Company boasts a fuller sound. But there were no signs of taking it easy among the founders, as Rodgers played harmonica and piano and Ralphs gussied up his riffs with spirited zeal.

Boston's Township proved a perfect opener for the veterans. The crowd may not have known Township's songs, but could certainly pick up its gritty vibe.

© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company.

Bad Company at Wembley Arena

David Sinclair - April 13, 2010

Bad Company is the latest group to return to celebrate all its yesterdays and find a huge crowd still waiting to do it with them. A good 30 years since their heyday, the singer Paul Rodgers, guitarist Mick Ralphs and drummer Simon Kirke have once again been touring the biggest indoor venues in Britain, together with the bass player Lynn Sorensen replacing Boz Burrell, who died in 2006, and an additional guitarist, Howard Leese.

In recent years Rodgers has been putting himself about as a bit of a solo act and as the replacement frontman of Queen, while Ralphs played a pivotal role in the reunion of Mott the Hoople before Christmas. There is not much that such men do not know about the heritage rock industry and, observing the golden rule of such shows, they gave the audience exactly the songs they wanted to hear, rendered in exactly the way they remembered them.

The biggest gamble of the night was to start — rather than finish — with their best-known hit, Can’t Get Enough, a song that immediately took you back to an era when flared jeans and power-chord machismo were the norm. Rodgers’s voice remains a finely-honed instrument, while his ability to hurl a microphone stand high in the air and catch it right on cue was similarly undiminished. If his lyrics made DCI Gene Hunt seem like a paragon of political correctness, then it was all part of the sepia-tinted time shift.

Working their way through hits including Feel Like Makin’ Love, Shooting Star and Rock’n’Roll Fantasy they played with an unerring sense of melody and economy that today’s hard rock bands rarely seem able to emulate. The encores produced a muscular Ready for Love followed by an epic version of their signature song Bad Company, on which Rodgers was still crooning about the six-gun in his hand while industrial quantities of dry ice cascaded on to the stage.

The Joe Perry Project, led by the Aerosmith guitarist, had opened the show with a motley collection of numbers, several of them from a new album, Have Guitar Will Travel. Perry took lead vocals on the trad-rock stomp of Slingshot, but the band fared better when he made way for Hagen Grohe, the man actually hired as the featured singer. There were some odd choices of cover versions but all was forgiven as Perry piled into the opening riff of Aerosmith’s Walk This Way, a song that can still set stages on fire after all these years.


Bad Company’s reunion of year is a perfect pleaser

Debbie Bennett - April 2, 2010

A seventies rock supergroup were reunited for the start of an exclusive eight-date UK arena tour.

Bad Company performed on stage together at the LG Arena in Birmingham for the first time in 30 years, in what is sure to be the rock reunion of 2010.

The three original members of vocal maestro Paul Rodgers, formerly of Free, Mick Ralphs on guitar , plus drummer Simon Kirke wowed the crowd with Bad Company classics and a few surprises thrown in. The only original band member missing was bassist Boz Burrell who died in 2006.

Opening the set with Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Rodgers immediately had the near sell-out LG on their feet from the start, with the singer moving on to the piano for Rock Steady and Run With The Pack.

A beautiful 12-string duet with guitarist Mick Ralphs for Seagull was simply breathtaking.

In the last five years Rodgers has successfully toured twice with Queen, a partnership which divided Queen, Free and Bad Company fans alike, yet gave crowds hits from all three bands.

If Rodgers was merely testing the water with his own material, then the Bad Company reunion proved the temperature was just right.


Bad Company at Jones Beach NY

Sven Knudsen - June 29, 2009

How good is a band that can open with its most recognizable song 'Cant Get Enough' and hold that level of intensity all night long?

Tonight Bad Company blew everyone away and reminded all of us what it is that makes them such a good band.
With a reportage most bands would envy they cooked from one classic to another and not just the expectable classics like 'Feel like making Love' 'Rock Steady' 'Bad Company' and the like, with the original guitarist Mick Ralphs back with Rodgers they threw in some unexpected pearler's like 'Electric Land' (Desolation Angels) and 'Young Blood' (Run with the Pack), Rodgers voice was faultless throughout, in fact his range and power has increased over the years, he is truly a wonder of nature.

Absolute highlights of the evening were 'Simple Man' and 'Seagull'

Bad Company are one of the bands from by-gone era of creativity and feel that still have got what it takes to wow an audience.


Bad Company Delivers Gem in VA Beach

Jeff Maisey, Veer Magazine - June 25, 2009

Strength and honor.

Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers, baring a striking resemblance to Russell Crowe as the lead character in the movie “Gladiator,” arrived at the Verizon Wireless Virginia Beach Amphitheater on Wednesday and handily conquered the hearts and minds of over 10,000 cheering fans.

Exactly 35 years to the day, Bad Company’s self-titled debut album was released and topped the charts in America and Europe. The original surviving lineup – Paul Rodgers (vocal/piano/guitar), Mick Ralphs (guitar) and Simon Kirke (drums) – reunited this summer for a mere 10 dates, including this June 24 concert in Virginia Beach.

The band arguably never sounded better.

Throughout the set, Rodgers gave a commanding performance. He constantly paced the stage as if he was on a workout routine, spinning the microphone stand at times and pumping his biceps with enthusiasm. Most impressive was the strength of his voice as he passionately hit note after note with pure conviction, especially on “Simple Man” and “Rock Steady.”

Bad Company wasted no time in delivering the many hits still heard on classic rock FM radio stations. They opened with “Can’t Get Enough,” which seemed to develop as a theme. Fans sang along to “Shooting Star,” “Ready for Love” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy” and they hungered insatiably for the next song to be performed.

Rodgers and company dug deep for an outstanding version of “Electricland,” a real surprise and gem for longtime fans.  Equally fantastic were “Running with the Pack,” “Feel Like Makin’ Love” and “Burnin’ Sky.”

Rodgers and Ralphs broke out their acoustic guitars for a moving version of “Seagull” as Navy warplanes roared in the background on routine nighttime training maneuvers.

For the closing encore, a misty dry ice fog hovered across the stage with Rodgers positioned behind the grand piano. The first notes were instantly recognized as the triumphant “Bad Company” anthem. Like every song played, this track was full of punch on the accents and heavy on the power chords.

The Doobie Brothers  served as a complimentary opening act. With original members Tom Johnson (vocals/guitar) and Patrick Simmons (guitar/vocals) leading the way, the Doobies puffed out such classics as “China Grove,” “Jesus Is Just Alright” and “Take Me in Your Arms.” The crowd favorite was “Black Water.”

The most impressive element of the Doobie’s show was the spot-on vocal harmonies and blistering guitar work.


Preview/Interview:

Rock and Roll Fantasy: Bad Company's brief summer tour

Jeff Maisey, Veer Magazine - June 14, 2009

Hampton Roads can count its luck shooting stars. 

Bad Company, the legendary ’70s-era classic rock band, is reuniting with its surviving original lineup of Paul Rodgers (singer), Mick Ralphs (guitar) and Simon Kirke (drums) for a short 10-day tour that will include a stop June 24 at the Verizon Wireless Virginia Beach Amphitheater.

Critics considered Bad Co. a supergroup of sorts at the time of their 1974 self-titled debut. Rodgers and Kirke were members of Free (“All Right Now”), Ralphs hailed from Mott the Hoople (“All The Young Dudes”), and then bassist Boz Burrell came from King Crimson (“21st Century Schizoid Man”) fame.

 From the very beginning, Bad Company found immediate success. They were the first band signed to Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song record label and received heavy radio play with such songs as “Movin’ On,” Can’t Get Enough,” “Good Loving Gone Bad,” “Ready for Love” and “Shooting Star.”  

Beyond his occasional duties with Bad Co. these days, Rodgers has been performing worldwide with Queen and he’s ventured out on solo tours in support of his “Live in Glasgow” DVD.

In advance of Bad Company’s show, we had an opportunity to pose these questions to the personable Paul Rodgers.  

Bad Company will reunite and perform just 10 shows this summer. Why so few?

I didn’t want to do too many shows. I’ve just come off the Queen tour. We were out in Eastern Europe and Russia for about four months. I just wanted to keep it small and exclusive. 

Are you happy to finally be performing with Mick Ralphs again?

For me personally, it’ll be nice to play a whole set of my songs, and Mick’s, of course. For the last four years I’ve been on the road with Queen, and I was really playing their songs and they were playing mine.  

Bad Company fans will be treated to the greatest hits when you perform in Virginia Beach, but will you also play deep cuts such as “Deal with the Preacher,” “Silver, Blue and Gold” and “Seagull”?

I think for certain we’re going to play those golden songs like “Feel Like Making Love” and “Shooting Star” and “Rock Steady.” If I was going to see Bad Company I think I’d want to hear those songs. But, yeah, it will be nice to dig in a little bit deeper. There is a lot of material. I would also like to throw in a new song just to let people know that I’m moving forward as well.  

And you always have, Paul. Certainly on your solo stuff you let your bluesy roots shine through. I imagine, like many British musicians who came out of the ‘60s, you were inspired by American blues artists. Is that correct?

Yeah, we were definitely inspired by blues. Jimi Hendrix was inspired by blues, and Queen, Led Zeppelin. There was a great deal of it. And I still love the blues. Those blues guys – Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker – epitomized real rock ‘n’ roll for us.  

Bad Company was considered somewhat of a supegroup when it formed. Did you feel pressure to succeed when recording the debut album?

I’ve never put bands together with the idea of with the idea of forming a super band. When I formed Free with Paul Kossoff it was really because he got up on stage with me and jammed with my band, which was called the Brown Sugar Blues Band, and I came off the stage and said, ‘Man, we have got to form a band.’ And that became Free. Bad Company was formed when I met Mick Ralphs and we started writing songs together and exchanging ideas. It was really who was around that was good and could work with what we were doing, not shall we form a super group. Chemistry is the right word. 

The 1970s was a prolific period for your songwriting. What was life like as a member of Bad Company?

Well, it was a wild and crazy time, I have to say. We stepped right into Led Zeppelin’s management and the whole thing. It was the case of private planes and limousines on the tarmac and being whisked from show to show. It was a very heady experience.What has kept me sane through all those crazy years – because you can lose touch with reality just a little bit – has been the music itself.

I always come back to that and focusing on and remembering what’s important. It’s easy to lose yourself in the image of how you are perceived. You have to see yourself as down-to-earth and very real. “Feel Like Making Love” and “Shooting Star” are things everybody can relate to. 

Which classic Bad Company album do you consider the band’s best work?

Well, there are two albums I like more.The first album I like because it was very organic in nature. We didn’t have a concept of who we were. We just had a bunch of good musicians and great songs – I think they were great songs, if I can say that. There was a wide range of songs all the way from “Seagull” to “Rock Steady.” The idea was just to get the music down and get out there and play it. Whereas with Run with the Pack, I like that because it was quite polished actually and it was very well produced. The track “Run with the Pack” itself was the first time I used full orchestra strings on a track. It was polished but still really edgy. There were a lot of good songs on there; six or seven that we can still do very strongly on stage. 

I’ve always wondered about the photo of the band inside the album. Looks as though it was a late night of drinking for you guys?

Oh, yeah. Well it was actually one of those sessions that went on and on. The photographers said, “Just one more session.” And we were actually fading away.Those were the days, I suppose.  But I really don’t drink alcohol anymore to be honest with you. I like clean living and I’m a very health oriented person. I feel the only way I can give 100 percent on stage is to be mentally, physically and everything in shape.  I work out three times a day – stretching in the morning, cardio in the mid-day and weights in the evening.

 

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