Rockin' with Paul Rodgers
By Darcy Nybo / nightmair creative - March 16,2012
If my present-day self could have told my 16-year-old self that one day I'd be in a small theatre in the Okanagan, several decades later, watching Paul Rodgers perform, my 16-year old self would have scoffed and made a remark about us both being dead by then.
Well I'm not dead yet, and neither is Paul Rodgers, in fact he is very much alive and still knows how to bring a crowd to its feet and rock 'n' roll the night away. March 15 marked the first time Paul Rodgers performed in Canada as a Canadian citizen. The announcement brought cheers from the audience, the first of many for the evening. It was also the first concert of his 2012 tour. The evening was comprised of classic Paul Rodgers standards as well as a couple of new tunes including With Our Love, written with Perry Margouleff.
The 850+ crowd spent very little time in their seats and many were dancing up in front of the stage and in the aisles. Rodgers and his band comprised of Howard Leese (guitar, mandolin), Markus Wolfe (second guitar), Todd Ronning (bass) and Rick Fedyk (drums), brought the entire crowd to their feet with Feel Like Makin' Love.
Like a maestro conducting an orchestra, waving the mike stand at the crowd, Rodgers got his fans up on their feet and had them singing along with him. Then he would quietly and effectively let them drift back into their seats only to smile and bring out another classic. I swear the crowd (me included) sang the chorus to Shooting Star a dozen times, each time a little louder and a little more off key, before Rodgers finally let them rest their voices. The rest didn't last for long as the band broke into a flawless rendition of Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy.
As with most great concerts, it was over far too soon for the fans. Determined not to let Rodgers and the band start their tour without an encore, the fans dutifully performed chants and banged on whatever they could find to bring the band back on stage.
The last song of the evening was of course All Right Now, the rock anthem that started off the '70s. Even those who had stubbornly remained seated during the show were up clapping, singing and swaying to the music.
And then it was over – another legend here and then gone. For me, it was the best trip down memory lane I've had in a long time. Rodgers voice is as strong and clear as it was back when I was 16 and cranking up the volume on my stereo to 11. Sure the average age of the crowd was 45+ and yes there were more grey hairs than cleavage at this concert, but when your dealing with timeless classics of the likes performed by Rodgers and his band, cleavage doesn't count.
Paul Rodgers Thrills Kelowna
By Donna Mair / nightmair creative - March 24,2012
The last time (and very first time) I saw Paul Rodgers in concert was summer of 2008 and due to having a killer flu, don't remember much of the performance except how much Rodgers smiled and seemed to be genuinely loving what he was doing. I do remember the outdoor sound didn't do justice to his legendary voice, so I was anxious to see Paul perform in an indoor theater this past week.
People settled into their seats early on, and once the opening act was finished their set the change over happened very quickly. Lights go down, and without any fanfare or buildup, Rodgers and his backup band walk out onto the stage to take their places in the spotlights. The man is all smiles as he greets us by launching straight into Can't Get Enough, Honey Child and Little Bit of Love.
By the time Rodgers is into the second song, the crowd is not only on it's feet, but have left their seats and are standing up front right against the stage, or are in the aisles dancing. Security is unbelievably forgiving this night – mutual love is in the air and most of the concert goers are over 40 and well behaved – nobody is told to stand back from the stage, and there is no fence or rail to separate us from Rodgers who continues to smile as he sends out each new song.
A short break comes after the third song, and Rodgers addresses the audience – not only is this his first ever show in our town (despite the fact that he's lived in the surrounding area for years) but this is his FIRST show in Canada, as a Canadian Citizen. The man literally glows as we cheer and clap and welcome him to both our country and our city.
Ready for Love is a crowd pleasing favorite and then a wicked bass solo starts out Mr Big before Feel Like Making Love rolls around, and has the crowd singing the chorus quite loudly. Rodger's face lights up again and we know without a doubt he's not only enjoying himself up there, but enjoying our vocally positive feedback.
Coming Home is a brand new Paul Rodgers song, and it's stellar… billed as 'the voice' for years, we are privy to the power and allure of Rodger's voice in this song… out of the blue the hair on the back of my neck stood up as he opened up and just let loose. We all felt it and you could have heard a pin drop as the song continued to the conclusion where it received much applause and whistles.
Seagull, Burning Sky, With Our Love (another new song), and Shooting Star closed out a somewhat softer 'mini set' within the main set list, and my vantage point further up the venue afforded me the opportunity of seeing the occasional smoke cloud wafting up into the air from the far left side… but it was all good.
Rock and Roll Fantasy had people back on their feet and because we had spontaneously sung the chorus for Feel Like Making Love, Rodgers pulled his ear piece out and encouraged us to sing the chorus of R + R Fantasy – we didn't disappoint! The entire venue sang it acapella to it's conclusion.
As the band lit into Bad Company, the crowd was still on it's feet and the front of the stage was suddenly filled with many more people than had left those particular seats – including myself. The feeling of camaraderie with others in the crowd is such that you'll be hard pressed to find at most other rock shows. A testament to the power of Rodger's personality and songs. Moving On was the last song, but we all knew it wasn't really the last song! A short break off the stage and the band and Rodgers are all back, singing Shadow, and All Right Now which we all knew had to be sung or we wouldn't allow Rodgers to leave! The band takes a bow with Rodgers in the middle, all of them smiling and waving and then they're gone again, but…. between the whistles, the people up front drumming hands on the stage, people in seats pounding feet into the floor – we made so much noise they 'had' to come back.
Wishing Well, and The Hunter close out a tremendous evening. I have a huge appreciation for Paul's talent and his personality while performing the man loves what he does and it shows. If you get a chance to see him live, don't miss it for anything.
Rodgers & Rock to Racehorses Rescue
By Phil Hewitt / Chichester Observer- December 6, 2011
Deborah Bonham admitted she really couldn’t quite believe it when she introduced him. Even now, it doesn’t quite ring true.
But yes, it really did happen. Paul Rodgers, the man who gave us Free and Bad Company, played Chichester on Saturday night. And - no surprise in this - he brought the house down.
With all the skills of his years in the business, Rodgers delivered a stunning set which underlined exactly why he’s arguably the greatest rock and blues singer we’ve ever produced.
Others come close, but while others of his vintage have faded just a touch, Rodgers has continued to grow. And on Saturday night, he once again married consummate artistry with the joy of performance to produce a session which will be remembered for years to come.
Classics including Walk In My Shadow, Ride On A Pony, Fire And Water and My Brother Jake were among the delights in a Free-heavy set. Wishing Well was sublime, and All Right Now was one of those spine-tingling moments which suggest that no other live entertainment can ever truly come close music at its very best.
Just impressive was the fact that backing him was the Deborah Bonham Band who’d earlier backed Deborah through her own superb set - just one of the many elements in a four-hour slice of musical heaven in aid of Deborah’s beloved racehorse sanctuary (of which Paul and his wife Cynthia are partrons) (http://www.racehorsesanctuary.org/ The band Room 4 that opened the show are part of the charities Rocking Horse Children's program, that works with young musicians, inner city kids and autistic children.
Opening the night was Chichester Music Academy youngsters Room 4 with an assured version of Teenage Kicks - a great performance given that none of them are teenagers yet.
Closing the night were terrific, contrasting sets from Paul Rodgers’s daughter Jasmine and son Steve. In between times, auction and raffle contributed generously to the cause.
Everyone played their part, but all would concede that it was Rodgers who took it to the highest level. And what bliss it was to catch him up close and personal in a setting far more intimate than he’d usually play.
Those of us privileged enough to have been at The Venue on Saturday will grow increasingly smug with passing time. We were there, and that’s all that mattered. It’s All Right Now and for a very long time to come.
"The atmosphere was absolutley electric from start to finish. I'm still feeling the buzz. A huge thanks to the fans, Deborah Bonham and band, Room 4, Steve and Jasmine Rodgers and the racehorses at the sanctuary and rocking horse children's charity thank you too. Let's do it again!" - Paul Rodgers
Paul Rodgers: The Iconic Voice of Bad Company, Free and The Firm Is Still a Marvel
Brad Tolinksi - Guitar World - September 2011
Singers have it rough. Because their bodies are their instruments, they always have to take care of themselves.
If a guitarist parties too hard and gets a cold or a hangover, it's no problem because their Les Paul and Marshall stack will always sound fine. If the same thing happens to a vocalist, it can result in the cancelled show.
Perhaps that's why there are so few great and consistent lead singers. You almost have to be a freak of nature, void of typical human frailty, to maintain and persevere.
After seeing classic rock legend Paul Rodgers sing a brilliant set Saturday in New Jersey, I can happily declare the ageless vocalist a total and absolute freak - and I mean that in the best way possible. Authorities such as Jimmy Page, Rod Stewart and Brian May have hailed Rodgers one of the great ones, and his effortless run through his many hits with Bad Company, Free and The Firm showed why.
At the age of 60-plus, all the notes of his rich baritone were completely intact, and soulful rockers like "All Right Now," "Bad Company" and "Burnin' Sky" were delivered with the same confidence and intensity as they were in the Seventies.
While watching the show, I casually commented to a record exec standing next to me that it was very difficult for me to think of any young singer in recent memory that was in such total command of his voice. The exec just ruefully nodded and said, "I've been looking, I've been looking. If I could find one, I'd sign them in a second."
Then it hit me. Perhaps the last time I'd seen any vocalist so relaxed and in control was decades ago. When I was young and growing up in Detroit, I'd go to the county fairs and see the great Motown groups. I was always struck by how guys like Smokey Robinson and Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops had absolute command over their voices. There was not a chance they would let the audience see them sweat or strain, much less hit a bum mote. Paul Rodgers has that quality, and it is rare, indeed.
From what I understand, Paul doesn't tour all that much these days, so if you get the opportunity to see him, go check him out. He's so good, it's freaky!
Paul Rodgers packs in the hits at Pacific
By ROBERT KINSLER / FOR THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER - July 28, 2011
Time has been kind to Paul Rodgers. While many of his contemporaries have lost most (or all) of their voices, ultimately becoming parodies of their youthful rock-star selves, Rodgers' talents and looks have hardly changed since I first caught him fronting the Firm in the mid-'80s. I went to that show specifically to catch Jimmy Page, who performed several solos while seated and played terribly - but I came away awed by Rodgers' talents as a singer and frontman.
At Pacific Amphitheatre Wednesday night, the 61-year-old Brit, who fronted Free and Bad Company in the '70s as well as a resurrected Queen this past decade, celebrated his long career with a heavy-on-hits 15-song set before an enthusiastic crowd.
Paul Rodgers sings back-to-back crowd-pleasing songs during his performance at Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa Wednesday night.
Those on hand who love hard-hitting classic rock were in the right place to be sure. Hardly any Free or Bad Company staples were excluded, and the headliner and his solid four-man band rocked hard while never letting any individual song's dynamics or groove slip away.
Rodgers, 61, has maintained a voice aptly suited to material that blends British blues and hard rock, and he proved that over and over again Wednesday. His ensemble leaped out of the gate with a charging "Can't Get Enough," immediately getting the crowd on their feet. The next selection, blues-rock gem "Honey Child," may not have been as well-known, yet its forceful delivery, which kept the audience standing, matched the performance on the outstanding Bad Company: Live at Wembley set issued earlier this year. There were shifts in mood and approach throughout the 90-minute concert. For "Seagull," Rodgers started alone on acoustic guitar, then lead guitarist Howard Leese came out, also on acoustic, and added some nice lead lines for additional texture. Finally, the rest of the band emerged and the song continued to build to a vibrant finish.
His instrumental work while standing at the piano ("Bad Company") or offering up a quick harmonica solo ("Feel Like Makin' Love") provided deeper layers to admittedly familiar material. He also had no trouble getting the audience to become an essential player in the proceedings, as the last verse and chorus in "Shooting Star" were sung completely a capella by Rodgers, bolstered by the crowd and his band mates. Rodgers rewarded fans with a strong encore, offering up the Free classic "All Right Now" (Leese's solo killed) and the seldom-heard "Walk in My Shadow," a Free song (the first ever penned by Rodgers) that showcased the singer's lifelong love affair with the rich junction where rock and blues meet.
Setlist: Paul Rodgers at Pacific Amphitheatre, July 27, 2011
Main set: Can't Get Enough / Honey Child / Run with the Pack / Ready for Love / Mr. Big / Feel Like Makin' Love / Bad Company / Seagull / Burnin' Sky / Fire and Water / Shooting Star / Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy / Movin' On
Encore: All Right Now / Walk in My Shadow
Good Company and I Can't Get Enough
Neal Butterworth- Daily Echo - April 26, 2011
Live Review: Paul Rodgers - Manchester Apollo, 24/04/2011
Martin Hutchinson- The Bolton News - April 26, 2011
THE voice of blues rock was in fine form as he entertained a sell-out crowd at the Apollo with an amazing overview of his illustrious career.
Beginning with Walk In My Shadow, a song he write back in 1968, his set contained all the hits he is most famous for.
Over three-quarters of his set was made up of tracks from his Free and Bad Company years, with a slight emphasis on his earlier work with Free.
Wishing Well and Mr Big were well-received before he launched into the first of the Bad Company songs – Feel Like Makin' Love, which had the crowd joining in enthusiastically.
Then we had a new song entitled Take Love before we returned to his Free output.
Paul has often been described as having one of the best voices in music – ever, and this facet of his musical expertise was never in doubt as his soulful voice soared to the heavens and conveyed emotion as only he can.
Let's not forget either that he wrote or co-wrote the vast majority of these songs, and also treated us to some harmonica and piano playing.
His guitar playing is also superb, as he performed the sublime Seagull, one of the legendary numbers from Bad Company.
His backing band was pretty special, with Howard Leese (Heart) playing excellent guitar and whose mandolin playing on the aforementioned Feel Like Makin Love was a wonder to behold.
Bassist Todd Ronning was an equal member of a rhythm section that was completed by drummer Jason Bonham, whose solo on Fire &Water held the whole audience spellbound.
Back to the voice, and Paul was clearly enjoying himself on stage, with a permanent grin on his face, he seemed genuinely amazed and humbled at the way the crowd joined in.
"It was an amazing crowd tonight." He told me afterwards. "They were really up for it."
My Brother Jake and Shooting Star were both ecstatically cheered, but of course it all led up to the all-time classic All Right Now, and again the audience joined in with gusto and took the roof off.
As with all the best concerts, it was over all too soon, but I and the rest of the crowd, had been thoroughly entertained.
It was an honour and privilege to have been present at a masterclass of rock singing, as given by one of the very best.
Live Review: Paul Rodgers
David Dunn - GetToTheFront.com - April 18, 2011
These days it seems that the word "legendary" is so frequently used the term has been devalued almost to the point of worthlessness, but in the case of Paul Rodgers the description is not only deserved it barely begins to do his career justice. From bluesy rockers Free through sold out world tours with supergroups Bad Company (several times) and The Firm to a successful solo career and even the unenviable task of filling Freddie Mercury's shoes in Queen, Rodgers has had over forty years at the top selling over 90 million records. "Legendary" doesn't really cut it, does it?
No, Rodgers is genuine rock royalty, selling out tours wherever he plays, most recently with the Bad Company reunion tour which filled arenas across the UK last year. Last week, in the more intimate surroundings of Blackpool Opera House, Rodgers kicked off his latest solo tour. On Monday night the tour arrived in Newcastle, some forty miles from Rodgers' hometown of Middlesbrough. Such were ticket sales for the show that the gig was quickly rescheduled from the smaller City Hall to the more capacious Metro Radio Arena, shortly after going on sale last November.
Opening number "Walk In My Shadow" offered the first clue as to what the evening held in store as he dipped immediately back in time to 1968 and Free's debut album "Tons Of Sobs" before following this up with a crunching version of "Wishing Well" surprising everyone so early in the set and which had those down the front up and out of their seats. Casually dressed in black and white t-shirt and waistcoat – well, this was Newcastle – Rodgers defied every one of his sixty-one years looking as spritely and trim as someone half his age and with his famous voice still in tip-top shape. It could have been easy to overlook the talent on stage – long-time guitarist Howard Leese (ex-Heart), bassist Todd Ronning (bass), and Jason Bonham on drums – but Rodgers has keen to ensure this was not the case allowing each band member their turn in the spotlight. By the time Bonham's mighty solo drew the third number "Fire And Water" to a climax the audience were in no doubt that the evening was going to focus primarily on Free's blues-rich rock.
Leese's mandolin intro signalled the first Bad Company song of the evening, a singalong version of "Feel Like Makin' Love", before Markus Wolfe joined the band to provide additional guitar on a new song "Mr Midnight" which Rodgers promised would be on the next album. To everyone's delight more Free classics followed including a beautiful version of "Be My Friend" which was highlighted by Leese's exquisite guitar solo and a thumping take on "Mr Big" that drew a great reception from the crowd. Rodgers took to the piano for "Running With The Pack" and "Bad Company" before returning to the Free material and "The Stealer".
For a cover of the Temptations' "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" Rodgers was joined by guitarist Colin Bradley – a member of his first band and who was "responsible for introducing him to the 12 bar blues." More classics followed, "Seagull" in mid-set, "My Brother Jake" (at the second attempt after Rodgers laughingly called a halt to the first try after an endearing forgotten-words-and-wrong-key episode), and further Bad Company tracks "Shooting Star", "Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy" and the set closing "Can't Get Enough Of Your Love" where the audience were only too pleased to bellow the chorus back to the delighted singer. An all Free encore of "Ride On Pony", an extended "Alright Now" and "The Hunter" brought the evening to a memorable close.
As the crowd filed out you might, if you searched hard and long enough, eventually have found someone who would have liked to hear more new material, but Rodgers has a magnificent back catalogue and for this reviewer it was thrilling, in particular, to hear such a heavily Free-based set. The tour continues in Glasgow (tonight), Manchester (21st), Nottingham (22nd), Bournemouth (24th), Southend (25th), London (27th) and Birmingham (28th) and if you can catch any of these shows I heartily recommend you do so. Sadly the Newcastle show was not recorded although the opening night gig in Blackpool, together with the upcoming concerts in Manchester and Birmingham concerts are being recorded by Concert Live [http://www.concertlive.co.uk/product.php?id=116&ac=Apr2011] with the triple CD sets being available via mail order or to collect at the venue after the show – a nice touch, that more artists should consider. As concert souvenirs go a quality live recording beats a t-shirt hands down every time.
The evening's support was provided by Joe Elliot's Down 'N' Outz. Initially formed to support Mott The Hoople at their Hammersmith Odeon reunion shows in 2009, the Down 'N' Outz are a side project clearly very close to Def Leppard frontman Elliot's – a life long Mott and Ian Hunter fan – heart. Backed by assorted Quireboys, the set comprised of a collection of less celebrated songs by Mott, Ian Hunter and British Lions such as "Storm", "Shouting & Pointing", "Whizz Kid" and "Overnight Angels" played at an ear-splitting volume. While the project is highly noble it would have been nice to hear the band's take on at least one, or possibly two, of Mott's more well known tracks during their 45 minute set. As it was, I suspect only hard core fans got complete fulfilment from their mix of more obscure songs.
Paul Rodgers & Down N Outz
Simon Rushworth - RushOnRock.com - April 19, 2011
@ Newcastle Metro Radio Arena, April 18 2011
As the wild eyed devotees filed from their seats in the wake of yet another flawless (let's not mention the intro to My Brother Jake!) Paul Rodgers show it's likely every single member of a rock steady audience would have gladly paid for the pleasure again the following night.
And the night after that. And the night after that.
In fact the more you witness Rodgers in his element, strutting across a grand stage surrounded by the cream of the blues rock community, the more you dream of the next time this legendary performer rolls into town. Better and better with age, Middlesbrough's finest cannot defy his advancing years forever but on this sparkling evidence there's little to suggest he won't be packing out big venues for many years to come.
For Rodgers it's all about a putting a fresh twist on a familiar evening's entertainment and drafting in Joe Elliott's Down N Outz isn't a bad place to start. A pure party band, infused by glam's gloriously over the top traditions, they're the perfect aperitif to the delicious main dish.
Elliott clearly enjoys his busman's holiday and in many respects the Down N Outz are the very antithesis of Def Leppard. If there is a clear undercurrent of professionalism then their rough and ready set is all about living for the moment and letting the music breathe. Minor US hit Overnight Angels and Whizz Kid, from Down N Outz forthcoming album, were genuine highlights with Keith Weir, on keys, reinforcing his reputation as one of the finest honky tonk tinklers in the business.
Job done, Joe and the boys retreated into the shadows with the promise of much more to come from this Leppard/Quireboys collaboration. Just how much more, and how soon, remains to be seen with full-time band commitments back on the agenda for the busy summer period.
And so to Rodgers. First on and last off, the former Free frontman owned the Newcastle stage from start to finish. And yet one of the highlights of the night had nothing to do with one of the greatest singers the UK has ever produced.
If the massed ranks were busily discussing the standout song or the most crisp vocal then talk swiftly turned to Jason Bonham and there's no doubt the experienced sticks man adds a sonic boom to every signature Rodgers tune. Maintaining an understated yet powerful rhythm, his effortless timing perfectly complemented the big hits and the crowd favourites.
As regular Rodgers watchers will testify, it's hard to look beyond Seagull for the most magical moment of a starry night. With the spotlight trained on his acoustic guitar, the main man drew in every last man and woman with yet another wonderful rendition of an emotive classic.
That Rodgers fluffed his lines on My Brother Jake proved that even the seemingly infallible have their weaknesses. Far from spoiling things it brought out a broad smile in the dazed singer – down on the floor they were rolling in the aisles.
Those are the moments which make live music special but there are plenty of those moments at a Paul Rodgers gig. In tandem with old buddy Howard Leese – so cool, calm and classy – everyone's focus of attention delivered a typically engaging set brimful of emotion and genuine affection for his loyal fans.
When the Voice Of Rock does, finally, call it a day the world of music will be missing one of its most vibrant sparks. Thankfully this electric and eclectic show suggested we are simply witnessing the beginning of the end.
Paul Rodgers, Sheffield City Hall
Bill Aukland- Sheffield Star - April 11, 2011
Bad Company's Live In Tulsa
Jeb Wright- classicrockrevisited.com - October 7, 2010
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
October 7, 2010
Can’t Get Enough | Honey Child | Run With The Pack | Young Blood | Burnin’ Sky | Oh Atlanta | Seagull | Gone, Gone, Gone | Electricland | Feel Like Makin’ Love | Shooting Star | Rock n Roll Fantasy | Moving On
Bad Company | Simple Man
Deal With The Preacher
Bad Company ended their North American tour at The Joint, inside the newly renovated Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The band performed like a well-oiled machine and rocked the capacity crowd with a mixture of Bad Co’s greatest hits and favorite album cuts.
Led by vocalist Paul Rodgers, the band was flawless on their execution the entire evening. Rodgers, most famous for his amazing vocals, was so good that people were in awe of his skills after the concert, openly talking about how great he sounded as they crowded around the merchandise booth to snatch up the remaining 2010 tour t-shirts. Rodgers, also a multi-instrumentalist, performed on piano, guitar and harmonica and was the focal point and emcee for the entire evening.
Guitarist Mick Ralphs was all smiles as he jammed out on classic Bad Company songs and shared lead guitar duties with former original Heart guitarist Howard Leese. The best musical moments of the night were when the two six-stringers hammered out the classic lead guitar harmony sections contained in many of Bad Company’s most popular songs, including opening number “Can’t Get Enough.” Drummer Simon Kirke and bass player Lynn Sorenson kept the groove tight, allowing Rodgers and Company to push the energy over the top.
Bad Company has always been a great live band and tonight was no exception. The set list was stellar. “Honey Child,” “Young Blood,” “Oh Altanta,” “Gone, Gone, Gone” and “Electricland” were met with massive approval by the band’s diehard fans while “Seagull,” “Burnin’ Sky,” “Feel Like Makin’ Love” and “Shooting Star,” easily the group’s most recognizable songs, saw the crowd singing along to every note.
Ending the main set with “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” “Shooting Star,” “Rock n Roll Fantasy” and “Movin’ On” performed all in a row is too much musical bliss for people to handle without expecting them to foam at the mouth, go into a frenzy and demand more music. And demand they did. The Tulsa crowd was not going home and the band knew it.
Rodgers reentered the stage and took his place in front of a grand piano and began the ode that started it all, the band’s namesake song, “Bad Company.” The second song in the encore was “Simple Man,” not a classic but an often-overlooked masterpiece, nonetheless. The band, once again, took a bow and left the stage. The crowd, however, would not let the evening be over as cheers of “one more song” echoed throughout The Joint. Bad Co emerged once again, this time performing “Deal With The Preacher” from the classic album Straight Shooter. Once the song was over, however, Bad Company retired to the shadows for good, officially bringing the 2010 North American Tour to an end.
Bad Company, Rodgers, Ralphs and Kirke, remain a musical force to be reckoned with. Other than a quick tour of Japan no one can say for sure what the future holds for this version of the band. Did Tulsa, Oklahoma witness the three original members playing together in the United States for the final time? As fans, we can only hope that they will continue making our rock n roll fantasy come true but in reality only time will tell. For now, though, we are left with the memory of one of the best rock n’ roll shows one could ask for.
Bad Company's Rodgers brings vintage passion
Josh Miller - OnMilwaukee.com - October 4, 2010
When you're in Bad Company, as the band's infamous self-titled song suggests, you're in it for life. For Paul Rodgers, it's legendary singer/songwriter, and the rest of the band, that's a good thing.
Through the '70s Bad Company fired away, releasing chart topping albums full of rock and roll anthems like "Can't Get Enough" and "Feel Like Makin' Love," as Rodgers -- along with guitarist Mick Raphs, bassist Boz Burrell and drummer Simon Kirke -- skyrocketed to the heights of fame.
Though Rodgers parted ways with Bad Company and found solo succes, there was always a bit of passion and interest in his famed band which catapulted into reunion tours between 1998-2002 and most recently into short tours featuring most of the original members (Burrell died in 2006 of a heart attack).
Bad Company rumbles their short U.S. reunion tour into town next week for a two-night stay at the Northern Lights Theater Monday with a playlist full of hits, rock and roll fantasies and sheer passion.
For Rodgers, with his soulful, bluesy and straight-ahead rock and roll vocals, it's this passion that's helped driven him to success. When Rodgers began his journey into the far reaches of the music world from his hometown of Middlesbrough, England, over 40 years ago, it was the start of long and fervent rock and roll fantasy - one that helped spawn a number of critically successful bands (several which helped term the word super group) besides Bad Company including Free, The Firm and Queen + Paul Rodgers, and earned him the nickname of "The Voice" from his peers.
OnMilwaukee.com caught up with Rodgers to talk about his band's reunion, 40-plus year career in music, and staying humble enjoying the small moments of success.
OnMilwaukee.com: With all that you've accomplished it would seem rather tempting to take it easy but you've managed to keep going and stay in the spotlight more or less. How would you describe that passion you get from music and how does it compare when you first started out?
Paul Rodgers: Passion is the one thing the drives me, it always has. When a kid, I listened to the Beatles and to a lot of soul. One of the things that struck me most about the most successful bands at the time probably right up to now is that they're very passionate about what they do. It's the reason I do a lot of the different things I do. All of it's about passion.
OMC: What's the biggest thing that you've learned over all these years?
PR: I honestly don't think of things of how big they are. It's how beautiful the experience is. I've so many amazing experiences just in Bad Company.
One of the things I remember when I was playing solo in Spain and there were three girls down at the front of the audience. They were really, really into the music and just singing away. And I could not make eye contact with them, I tried to make eye contact and say hello. As I came outside at the end of the show there, they were right in the center of the crowd that wanted autographs. As I was making my way I realized that they were actually blind. I took one of their hands and shook her hand and it was such a beautiful moment. Everything seemed to stop for a moment.
OMC: That must keep you humble.
PR: I do think it keeps me humble because music is a blessing for the world. It's the one thing that crosses all borders. I've played all over the world and it's amazing really when you meet people how similar we all are. All these different places you go to and there's a common denominator that people love music because it brings people together. It lifts people in a beautiful way. I'm very blessed to be part of that.
OMC: With the help of the unique dynamic of your vocals you've been able to mold your voice to fit the styles of the bands you fronted. Could you talk about that?
PR: The fact that I can sing really is a blessing, it's sort of a God-given thing. I've spent a lot of time working on that, listening to what I think are the great singers out there, like Otis Redding, Sam Moore from Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett and Ray Charles. I absorbed these people and when you add them all up you hopefully create your own voice. That's what I bring to any band I do. I bring my own style to it.
OMC: Could you talk a little bit about how that all started?
PR: I found myself in Free actually. I was singing when I was 13 in my hometown in Middlesbrough. I would try different musical styles whatever was in the jukebox. When I was in London with a band I started to write my own songs and the first songs I wrote were blues songs, using the twelve-bar blues structure and I just added my lyrics to that. And I went "Hey, that's a song." "Walk in My Shadow" was the first song that I wrote. From there I progressed into writing different chord structures. My writing style was based on all the things that were happening and it all came together for me in Free. I became a songwriter at around the same time. "All Right Now," a very commercial song, was really written out of the blues.
OMC: How did that transition to Bad Company?
PR: Songwriting is astute and progresses naturally. With Free, we started out being a blues band that wrote its own songs. With Bad Company it was much more American oriented feel. We were almost an American band even though we were English. We were very much aimed at that market because the song ("Bad Company") synched into the idea of the American West, for me anyway.
I wrote that song thinking of the original American West, when it was a lawless and wild and very dangerous place. It always fascinated me that all these people could have come out of Europe and they're all living in all these squashed cities -- on top of each other in Europe -- and move to the vast empty plains. That set the tone for Bad Company, really. It was a naturally thing that happened; I don't think it was conscious. But looking back that's how it seems to me now.
OMC: The band made a lot of big records with songs that seem to really capture the spirit of what rock and roll's about and also that decade.
PR: When I put the set list together I'm very interested to see how the songs come together. I played in London what people refer to as the Led Zeppelin reunion and if the Zeps hadn't played their big hits I would have been disappointed. So when I put together a set I try to include ones that the fans wanted. There was a song called "Electricland" that I wrote about this life on the road in the 70s when we went through Vegas and how almost unreal it was, this lifestyle that we were living. A lot of the songs reflected what we were going through at the time.
OMC: You had previously reunited with Bad Company about a decade ago but the Hard Rock show one-off show a few years back seems to have reignited interest in the band. What was it like getting back with old friends?
PR: We played the Hard Rock show a year or two ago and it was only going to be that show and we enjoyed it so much and the audience reaction was so warm that we decided to do more. We're not doing millions of shows all over the place. I want to keep it fresh and exciting. We toured UK in spring and a lot of our peers came to see us including Robert Plant, Sting, and Jimmy Page. It was an acknowledgement of what we're doing I guess in a way.
It's very nice to be back with Mick. He's such a good guitar player; a very simple guitar player but very effective and leaves lots of space. He's not what I'd call a whiz-y guitar player where all of the spaces are filled with lots of clever notes. He's very simple and very thought out which is what I like in a guitar player. And Simon and I go back a long, long way.
OMC: How have Lynn Sorensen and Howard Leese fit into the long proven dynamic of the three of you?
They actually fit in perfectly well. We don't have Boz anymore so we needed a bass player. So I brought in my bass player from the solo band and Howard Leese from the band so it was kind of double on guitar which was really cool because it means these guys can orchestrate things and duets on solos. And of course they have played a lot of that material with me as I include a lot of Free, Bad Company, The Firm and that sort of thing. Dynamically it works really well. It frees me up so I don't have to play guitar as much, but I do play piano, harmonica and tambourine.
OMC: With working with so many talented musicians especially guitarists, how's it been adjusting to different ways of writing?
When I met Paul Kossoff and formed Free we used to love listening to B.B. King. One of the things B.B. King would do is that he would sing a line and answer himself on the guitar. (sings) Baby, dah dah dah. He would do a lot of that. Paul and I would do a similar sort of thing and thought that was very cool. I would sing something and he would echo it. We'd kind of have a musical conversation. That's where I first developed the idea of doing that and I kind of look for that. I formed Free with Paul Kossoff and Bad Company with Mick Ralphs and had this similar sort of thing going and we still do actually.
With Jimmy (Page) and the Firm it was a similar sort of thing. There's a rapport that you feel; there's kind of a chemistry there that you can have this musical conversation. I also did a blues album and had a lot of my favorite guitarists play on that. I found with each of them that we could have this musical conversation from lyrics and music. "Time to Shine" is a song I wrote for Queen for the Queen and Paul Rodgers album and it's a song I couldn't see Bad Company playing. I particular wrote that with those players in mind and focused on who they are and where they are musically.
OMC: I'm sure you get this question a lot, but is there anything possibly in the works for Bad Company? What about yourself?
We had the Wembley Stadium show taped so that'll come out. I'm really pleased with it. We were thinking it over and decided to not touch it with overdubs or anything and just leave it as it is. It was a very magical night that we managed to capture. We're going to Japan next. After that, there are no plans for next year as yet but I try to keep an open mind. I'm writing and working with my solo band and doing some other projects which I can't mention now.
I'm writing all the time. I'm going to record some of them because I need to put some ideas down as they've been in my head for a long time. I have an idea of what the drums will do, what the vocals will do and what the guitars will do. It's nice to put it together and record a demo to get a full sound picture of the song.
OMC: What are your favorite Milwaukee or Wisconsin memories whether with a band like Bad Company or solo?
PR: When I played at (the Northern Lights Theater) solo a couple years ago I had more encores than I had before – seven encores. They have such a good crowd. I know they love their rock and roll in Wisconsin and look forward to playing there.
OMC: You were the one of only eight people to receive a Proclamation from Congress two years ago for musical achievement and philanthropist work for the Fender Center's "Kids Rock Free" Music Education Program. Could you talk a little bit about that project?
That's something that's very dear to my heart. And my wife Cynthia loves doing that too. That was a great honor from Congress. There's a school in Corona, California, and they have a program where kids can go to school and learn music. I love the principle of that, that kids can rock free because I know being in a band kept me from running around on the streets and definitely gave me a focus. And it still does, still keeps me off the streets. And it's no longer available in school curriculum.
OMC: What do you think of the direction that music's gone since you started? Any advice?
PR: The amount of technology's really exploded over the years. I think no matter how technical or how much it changes it'll all come down to what's in a person's heart and what they really have to say. It's the feeling deep inside that you want to express that gives it meaning to me.
I think one thing that runs through all my songs as my song "Wishing Well's" lyrics "Love in a peaceful world." Ultimately that's my message, if I had one.
Bad Company Makes for Good Times
Marc McLaughlin - October 1, 2010
The 70s rock super group ‘Bad Company’ performed on stage together at Thunder Valley Casino and Resort on Friday night. The three original members of the band; Paul Rodgers on vocals, Mick Ralphs on guitar and drummer Simon Kirke took the stage singing ‘Bad Company’ classics and wowing the crowd. Boz Burrell, who died in 2006, was the only founding member not present.
Bad Company is well-known for timeless hits like: ‘Feel Like Makin’ Love’, ‘Can’t Get Enough’, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy’, and ‘Shooting Star’. In the 70s they recorded five albums and one in the 80s. After a turbulent on-and-off career, with the band splitting and reuniting several times, Bad Company got back together last year. No one knows how long they will remain a band, but while they do the audiences they perform for are in for a surprise.
With that point, the band strolled (nonchalantly) onto the stage and opened the night with ‘Can’t Get Enough of Your Love,’ Rodgers immediately had the sold-out crowd at Thunder Valley on their feet; where they remained for the rest of the concert. The band continued with ‘Honey Child’ and ‘Run With The Pack.’ Then, as to say they were not rockin’ hard enough, the generator blew during ‘Burnin’ Sky’. To the bands credit, they went along with the short distraction and when the generator was back-up, they were louder and more alive.
Paul Rodgers is one of a handful of older singers, particularly in the 70s rock era, whose voice is not deteriorating as he ages. Arguable, he has only heightened his singing ability and his stage presence as well. All-in-all it was a fantastic concert and the 4500 plus crowd was noticeably left in complete awe.
Bad Company Live in Durant, Oklahoma
Choctaw Event Center
July 30, 2010
By Jeb Wright, classicrockvrevisited.com
Can't Get Enough | Honey Child |Run With The Pack |Burnin' Sky | Oh Atlanta! Seagull |Gone,Gone,Gone | Electricland | Simple Man | Feel Like Makin' Love Shooting Star | Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy | Moving On
Bad Company | Ready For Love
Bad Company is on the road supporting their latest CD/DVD Hard Rock Live. The band features three original members, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Paul Rodgers, guitarist Mick Ralphs and drummer Simon Kirke. Joining the band onstage is former Heart guitarist Howard Leese and bass player Lynn Sorensen.
The anticipation for Bad Company was evident by the long lines at the merchandise booth, where at each show you can buy a raffle ticket to support the Fender Center’s Kids Rock Free Program, which provides low cost music lessons to children ages 7 to 17. Each night drawings are held and ticket holders have a chance at winning rare stage used items, autographed set lists and more. Additionally, Rodgers and his wife, Cynthia, will match the donations they receive on tour. This is a great example of an artist giving back to the music community and realizing that there is more to life than collecting dead presidents. In fact, even Bad Company’s tour t-shits were affordably priced at twenty-five bucks. In this day and age of greed and self-promotion it is very cool to see some people still care about music fans. Bad Company has also partnered up with Abbey Road Live, who will be recording each night’s performance. One can purchase the CD and pick it up after the show.
There was a couple sitting near the front row that were married earlier that day. They had actually met at a Bad Company concert the year before. With this much goodwill and mojo floating around the Choctaw Event Center, there was no way that we were not going to be in for one hell of a show.
The band opened with a song most figured would be the encore, “Can’t Get Enough,” which set the precedence for a sing-along and got the crowd involved from the opening note. Rodgers, who is growing his hair out and sporting a beard, just looks damn cool as he confidently saunters across the stage. He deserves his nickname, “The Voice” as he has one of the best in the business. Obviously, Rodgers is the ringleader but he shares the stage with founding member, and guitarist, Mick Ralphs. Ralphs appears more road worn than Rodgers but still delivers the classic pentatonic riffs and leads the songs cry out for. Backing up Ralphs is Howard Leese, who is an excellent musician. When Ralphs and Leese perform lead harmonies on guitar, one can’t help but move and shake along with the music. Behind the musicians, on the skins, is one of the hardest hitting drummers in Rock n’ Roll, Simon Kirke. Simon is in excellent physical condition and gives 110%.
There were a number of songs that the casual Bad Co fan may not have expected to hear during the concert. The hardcore fans, however, were cheering in delight at their admission. “Honey Child,” “Oh Atlanta!,” “Gone Gone Gone,” “Electricland” and “Simple Man” were all brought out. There were plenty of classics played as well. “Burnin’ Sky” and “Run with the Pack” were both greeted exuberantly. “Seagull,” acoustically performed by Rodgers and Ralphs, was a highlight of the evening.
The last four songs of the main set packed a punch that left everyone wanting more. Leese came out with a ukulele strapped over his Paul Reed Smith electric and played the opening to “Feel Like Makin’ Love” and was joined by Rodgers on harmonica. The earthy beginning eventually gave way to the rocked out version of the tune and the crowed lit up like a Christmas tree. “Shooting Star” saw the crowd singing as loud as Rodgers until he gave up and just let the crowd sing. “Rock n’ Roll Fantasy,” a true crowd pleaser, kept all in attendance on their feet. The final song of the main set was the Ralphs’ penned “Movin’ On.”
Bad Company quickly returned to the stage in response to the thundering applause. Rodgers sat down at the grand piano and stuck the ominous opening chords of the bands’ signature song, “Bad Company.” The show ended with an elongated version of “Ready For Love.”
While it would have been great to hear “Deal with the Preacher,” “Rock Steady” and “Good Lovin’ Gone Bad,” one can hardly complain. Bad Company: Rodgers, Ralphs and Kirke, are playing well and Leese and Sorensen fill up the sound on stage. The boys and girls at the Choctaw Event Center make Bad Co feel welcome and the result was an evening of music that had a smile on everyone’s face from beginning to end.
Bad Company is not doing a lot of shows in the United States. In fact, there are only six more shows, as of the writing of this article. The band is going to Japan after the USA, so waste no time getting your tickets.
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 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.
Paul Rodgers: Wish We Were There!
From Classic Rock Magazine - review by Neil Jeffries
Legendary singer Paul Rodgers finished off the Classic Rock Week Of Gigs in suitably sensational style at London’s Hammersmith Apollo on November 6.
What happened? Read on…
A one-off to celebrate his Classic Rock Songwriter award at the Classic Rock Roll Of Honour, this was a chance for the legendary singer to remind us why he won it. Odd, really, that having been lauded so long for his voice, the strength of his back catalogue has perhaps hitherto been overlooked…
With opener Walk In My Shadow, the first surprise is that Rodgers’ former Free and Bad Company buddy Simon Kirke now occupies the drum stool – making a good band (as seen on the 2006 UK tour/2007’s Live In Glasgow album and DVD) into a great one. As early as third song Ride On A Pony, Kirke is giving a drumming masterclass on the tiniest of kits. The others, too, are equally economical but fluent – particularly ex-Heart guitarist Howard Leese, who delivers Paul Kossoff lines with respect and feel.
But this is Rodgers’ night and – song by brilliant song he delivers. As he introduces the 40-year-old Soon I Will Be Gone for, “The first time live on stage”, Classic Rock quickly forgives him the perspex semi-acoustic round his neck.
There are screams from a handful of girls as he introduces the Queen + Paul Rodgers song Voodoo, but the fellas are more impressed by the intro to Run With The Pack that follows. As it ends, from behind the piano Rodgers leaps to his feet and – in one movement – snatches the microphone before bounding to the font of the stage. The movement suggests he can barely wait to play what follows… Wishing Well.
Deborah Bonham duets on Be My Friend, then – after Bad Co.’s Rock And Roll Fantasy and Shooting Star – the 60-minute set ends all too soon with All Right Now.
After a three-song encore (including Can’t Get Enough, featuring Rodgers’ old Bad Company pal, Mick Ralphs) the houselights go up but the crowd refuse to leave – and so the amps are switched back on and the band return to play The Hunter. A special night by a very special talent!
Paul Rodgers at Hammersmith Apollo, 6 November 2009 - a one night show
Photos and review by Richard Pullan
I've seen this guy in his early days of Bad Company on a couple of occasions and a couple of times previously "solo", the last time being at the Royal Albert Hall in 2006.
I'm really a Free fan who has been kicking himself ever since turning down the opportunity to see Free perform. The early Bad Company went some way to rectify that, but I knew that I had missed something that could never happen again. However, this night, PR was absolutely on top form with huge added bonus of having Simon Kirke back on drums. Simon worked on drums with an intensity and energy that kind of reminds me of Animal of the Muppets (I mean that in the most positive sense) but has the fluidity to keep the rhythm more soulful rather than hard rock that PR's previous drummers tend to do.
We all really appreciated the Free and Bad Co numbers with the band really engaging the audience and urging us to sing ourselves hoarse; god knows what I must have sounded like, lol. There was also a couple of special guests, Deborah Bonham who dueted on "Be my friend" and Mick Ralphs joined in on "Bad Company."
All in all, a real cracking show.