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Monday, September 5, 2011

Bad Company - Live at Wembley CD / DVD review

Bad Company - Live at Wembley CD / DVD review
Released through: Eagle Rock. Release date: Available now

You know it's funny and yet still cool that Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirke and Mick Ralphs are touring again as Bad Company, as for the longest time it had simply been just Simon Kirke joining Rodgers and calling the band Bad Company. Sadly of course, Boz Burrell passed away a few years ago in 2006.
With the live band we also get Howard Leese (Ex-Heart, Paul Rodgers Band) on lead guitar and the much traveled Lynn Sorensen on bass.
Mick Ralphs came on board just a couple of years ago, strangely enough after receiving a 'Cease and desist' notice from Rodgers management - Or should that be lawyers! - for his side Bad Co project XCOM featuring former Bad Company vocalist Robert Hart as well as Simon Kirke at one point.
Here go and check this out:
Anyway, funnier still is a very good point that another former Bad Company vocalist Brian Howe had mentioned to me in an old interview, was at least he was still recording new material. When was the last time Bad Company featuring Paul Rodgers did that?
I have to agree with Brian and add that his last solo album 'Circus Bar,' was bloody brilliant!
Looking forward to his next one, but that's another story!

I can tell you, it was the bonus tracks on the 'Original Bad Company' two CD set from 1999, so he's kind of right that it's indeed been a while, yet Rodgers has continued to release his own solo works? Strange one that?
This show opens (DVD) with red stage lights flashing on and off and a heartbeat echoing, before the band opens with 'Can't Get Enough,' which for these fans was a winner from the start, with nice harmony guitar work from Ralphs and Leese.
Who'd believe it had been 31 years since a Paul Rodgers fronted Bad Company had toured the UK.
'Honey Child' is a surprise next - Don't recall hearing that on US Bad Company live dates myself. - from 'Run With The Pack' so for US fans watching this, perhaps a welcome change. That said I did not catch the band when they played just ten US dates in 2009, but on previous times I saw them, it wasn't included.
Paul jams some on the piano for next track 'Run with the Pack,' which for me is a Bad Co song that never gets old unlike perhaps 'Can't Get Enough.' Again nice harmony guitars parts with Ralphs and Leese.
Rodgers sounds OK to me, but it's like he's really going through the motions a lot of times during the performance, with all his adlibs and twists on the original versions of each songs presentation.
As lightning flashes on the backdrop and thunder rumbles over the PA, 'Burning Sky' is up next and Paul Rodgers perhaps reflects slight strain in his voice, although still a favorite song of mine.
Paul then introduces the band, including himself at the end ...
Then we get an old blues, honey tonk rock 'n' roller from the 'Lieber / Stoller' songbook in 'Young Blood,' which is just what seems to be a fun jam. I guess it breaks things up a bit?!
Paul and Mick both grab acoustic guitars next to perform 'Seagull' by themselves, with a single candle burning on the backdrop screen behind them. Nice.

Things pick up with 'Gone, Gone, Gone' next from 'Desolation Angels,' which is perhaps a surprise choice but good to hear nonetheless. Good one guys.
Then Paul hits the piano again to kick off 'Electric Land' from the 'Rough Diamonds' album, the last full studio Bad Company album to feature the four original players. It's very well received too.
'Simple Man' from 'Run With the Pack' is next and it's good in a sense that the band is indeed mixing it up, not playing perhaps a more safe, predictable set, but then we get a more familiar number for the 'Greatest Hits' fans in 'Feel Like Makin' Love' with a beautiful intro from Howard Leese on the mandolin, before the band kicked in too.
Perhaps my favorite Bad Company song ever is next with 'Shooting Star' and the band has various deceased rock stars images shown on the screen behind them as they play through the number nicely. Paul then gets into his adlib bit in the middle before encouraging the crowd to sing along with them for a few choruses and the Wembley choir sing in good form on this night and the band wrap the song up in epic style. No denying it.
Now of course we're clearly getting close to wrap up time as a couple more hits are rolled out in 'Rock and Roll Fantasy' and 'Movin' On,' before the band leave the stage ..., briefly, the end the main set.
The band returns with a lengthy 'Ready for Love,' where the crowd is singing along with the band from the start, but I'm sorry it does seem to drag a little after a while as it's perhaps extended a little too long.
The bands title song 'Bad Company' is next with Paul taking to the piano again and I know I really haven't mentioned Simon Kirke or Lynn Sorenson much, but they simply keep it all steady and tight, no question and Bad Company put simply, is a classy number.
That's not it though ... Unbelievably, the band returns for 'Deal With the Preacher' how about that and yes, this finally closes the hour and a half set. Nicely done guys, now then, any chance of a any new material?

Editor side note: DVD cover says running time is 110 minutes approx. I can tell you, it runs for longer than that. :)

The DVD comes with bonus features of band interviews, before and after the show and same with audience members.
All said and done, it appeared that everyone present had a good time.
The CD by the way gives you almost all of the same, but 'Burning Sky' is omitted.
I didn't see the Blu-Ray, so can't comment on that one.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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