The legendary Bad Company is back on the road celebrating their 40th anniversary with a North American tour including a Sunday stop at Mountain View, California’s Shoreline Amphitheater for local rock radio station 107.7 the Bone’s annual Bone Bash. Making the anniversary special, the band is touring with the surviving members of their original 1973 line-up: Simon Kirke (drums), Mick Ralphs (guitar) and of course Paul Rodgers (vocals).
The band took the stage at 9:45, Rodgers with his classic swagger and a huge grin spread across his face. The wide-open stage featured a drum riser at the back of the stage with the simplest of kits, a grand piano mid-stage (appropriately jacked up to standing height since there would be no sitting allowed, even on stage) and a huge Bad Company backdrop in the classic design. Even the backline was covered up, highlighting an extreme lack of pretense and underscoring that this night would be about the music.
Kicking things off with “Rock and Roll Fantasy,” the tone was set: band on fire + packed crowd on their feet and singing along loudly. This is what they had come for. From there, the setlist bounced around all of the Rodgers-era albums, notably skipping by tracks from their self-titled debut. For “Run With The Pack,” Rodgers finally sidled up to that grand piano to which he would return to again a few times during the night. As he has done in the past, Rodgers dedicated “Gone, Gone, Gone” to their late bass player Boz Burrell who passed away in 2006.
Rodger’s vocals were as soulful and powerful as the day these songs were recorded, Kirke beat that snot out of his drums with abandon and Ralphs meshed perfectly with second-stringer Howard Leese (of Heart fame). Has it really been 40 years?
Over half-way through the set, Bad Co. finally made it to their self-titled album with “Movin’ On” and followed that up with the 1-2 knockout punch of “Shootin’ Star” and “Can’t Get Enough” that got the already-feisty crowd into a frothy frenzy. It was during this last song that Leese and Ralphs met up front and center for a harmonized solo that ended with a high-five before heading back to their respective ends of the stage make for a pretty cool moment.
Encore time already? The band took a quick break while the lights dimmed and the stage was pumped full of smoke. Paul returned to the keys for the classic, “Bad Company” after which he inquired of the audience, “Got time for one more?” Uh, hell yes! The band wrapped with “Rock Steady” including a ripping Ralphs solo … so great to see an old dude shred like that. The only disappointment of the night was the length of the set, a tragic consequence of sharing the stage with another band with their own 40th anniversary. Even so, Bad Company delivered in a big way.
Supporting Acts: Lynyrd Skynyrd, Night Ranger, Black Stone Cherry
- Rock and Roll Fantasy
- Burnin’ Sky
- Run With The Pack
- Feel Like Makin’ Love
- Gone, Gone, Gone
- Simple Man
- Honey Child
- Movin’ On
- Shooting Star
- Can’t Get Enough
- Bad Company
- Rock Steady
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