22 July 1999
Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre, Englewood, CO
I waited too long for this happening--the original Bad Company lineup, back together for their first tour in 17 years. I've long admired the trademark vocal skills of rock veteran Paul Rodgers, whose work has graced the likes of Free ("All Right Now"), the Firm ("Radioactive"), and the Law ("Layin' Down the Law"), and, as far as I'm concerned, without his voice, the Company loyalty just isn't the same.
In support of their Boxed Set released this past Spring, the Company sought to please those wanting to hear their commercial favorites live. This meant, of course, opening with "Can't Get Enough", followed by the likes of "Movin On", "Rock Steady", and "Ready For Love". The back-to-roots guitar style of Mick Ralphs (ex-Mott The Hoople) was flawless and very spirited in these and other numbers.
By far the most sprightly tune of the evening was Rodgers' "Seagull", performed by himself on a acoustic 12-string. His voice has become slightly more nasaly over the years, perhaps by bluesman's license, as evidenced in their recent material, "Tracking Down A Runaway", and "Hammer Of Love".
Simon Kirke (also Ex-Free) is perhaps the most underrated musician in the band--ballsy drumming that kept the popularity of straight-forward rock and roll continuing from 1974 to the present, definitely kept the positive tempo of the evening.
The stage appearance of Boz Burrell (ex-King Crimson) was most notable in his glow-in-the-dark sneakers. His playing (mostly on 5/6 string basses) sounded much lower in tone than on record. It also seemed like the mixing board was putting his sound in the background, which of course isn't necessarily unwelcome or unusual (Van Halen, for example).
After the band completed "Rock and Roll Fantasy" and "Shooting Star", they re-appeared for a pleasantly surprising encore of my favorite song of theirs, "Silver, Blue and Gold", as well as the inevitable title track, both with Paul on piano.
Overall, it was excellent to see a band at its best in 25 years.
[****] - Steven T.
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