Bone Bash XIV
When: June 23, 2013
Where: Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View
Bad Comany & Lynyrd Skynrd 40th Anniversary Tour See dates and Locations at www.badcompany.com/
in powerful rock show at Shoreline Amphitheatre
"Beware of Bad Company" was the caption underneath a picture in a book of Victorian morals that in 1973 gave Paul Rodgers the inspiration for the name of his band. Forty years on, Bad Company is still a band of which to beware.
But more importantly, Bad Company is Paul Rodgers' band, and I can't imagine anyone else leading it, as has happened in the past.
At Mountain View's Shoreline Amphitheater on Sunday night, he showed just how to lead a rockin' blues band, and quite frankly stole the show from Lynyrd Skynyrd with whom Bad Company was sharing the billing on their joint 40th anniversary XL Tour at 107.7 The Bone's Bonebash XIV.
"Rock and Roll Fantasy" started the show: "Here come the jesters, one, two, three," but it was "Burning Sky" with Todd Ronning's thumping bass line that gave Rodgers' voice a real workout, as well as Mick Ralphs' lead guitar. It wasn't long before Rodgers showed off his piano skills, rushing over to the Steinway to lead the band in "Run With The Pack," from their 1976 Platinum album of the same name.
Not only does he have one of the best voices in the business, but Rodgers is also a talented all-round musician, playing piano and guitar, and composing many of the band's best tunes. He also looks extremely fit and youthful prancing around the stage, belying his 63 years. His shock of thick brown hair would make a young man jealous, and it contrasted with the gray locks of some of his bandmates.
Howard Leese, who has been with the band for five years, brought out the mandolin for "Feel Like Making Love," holding it up high so he could still play his guitar after the opening bars. For such a gentle love song, this tune has a pretty heavy guitar chorus, and Ralphs and Leese did it full justice.
Shoreline was packed to the gills, right up to the fence at the back of the lawn, and just about everyone could be seen mouthing the words. Although the average age of the audience was on the high side, it was nice to see some younger folks there too.
"Gone, Gone, Gone," one of the few tracks composed by original bassist Boz Burrell, has the classic line "I better get the boys 'round, do some drinking fast," and also features some rare slide guitar. One of my personal favorites, Ralphs-penned "Movin' On," combines classic rock guitar riffs with the story of a rock band's travels in airports and taxis, but it was "Shooting Star" that had the audience singing along.
Although Rodgers' mic-stand tossing on "Can't Get Enough" was visually impressive, what we were waiting for was that menacing piano intro on the band's eponymous "Bad Company." Although this track was covered as a guitar-only number by Five Finger Death Punch, the original is still the best and the band pulled out all the stops making full use of those towering Marshall stacks and all the lighting that the techs could muster. Simon Kirke's driving beat moves this song along, especially in the outro, where it could be in danger of fading.
No classic rock concert is complete without cowbell, and Simon Kirke delivered on "Rock Steady," the band's encore. Sharing the bill with Skynyrd, Bad Company didn't have much time to venture outside their tried and true staples, but they delivered them with enough pizzazz and energy to keep us wanting more. Long live Paul Rodgers, "the voice," and Bad Company, "the band."