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Music DVD Review: Bad Company – Hard Rock Live

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Did you know that Queen's singer, Paul Rodgers, used to play in this '70s band called Bad Company? Turns out they were pretty good too. On August 8, 2008, Rodgers took time off from his "regular" gig and reunited with the two other Bad Company founding members, Simon Kirke (drums), and Mick Ralphs (guitar), for a nostalgic 90-minute set at the Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Florida. Original Bad Company bassist, Boz Burrell, passed away in 2006, so the band was augmented this night by Rodger's solo tour bassist, Lynn Sorensen, as well as former Heart guitarist, Howard Leese.

If you are a Paul Rodgers fan then feel free to get this DVD just for him. The man is an ageless wonder who, 58 at the time, still looks and sings like he his twenty years younger. Fans of the classic Bad Company line-up will surely be pleased to see Mick Ralphs back in the fold after all of the offshoot lineups this band has performed under since Rodgers quite back in 1982. Ralphs comes out Les Paul's ablazin' and looks like he is having the time of his life up there on stage again as they treat the 5000-plus capacity crowd to raucous 16-song set of all the old blues-rock classics he helped to write way back when.

Rodger's has been up front in admitting that this reunion was essentially to protect the band's legacy and to cement the rights to the trademark Bad Company name for future tours. That's cool with me, but I'd still like to see some new material before any future tours. The setlist is comprised entirely from the five albums Bad Company released on Led Zeppelin's brand new Swan Song record label between 1974 and 1979. The band's self-titled debut album was by far their best effort, and they wisely performed six of the album's eight original tracks this night.

The concert starts appropriately with Rodgers playing the opening keyboard riff to "Bad Company" on a black grand piano at center stage, as tons of dry ice swirls around his feet to set the mood. "That's why they call me…DUHT, DUHT, DAHHH….Baaaad Company!," kicks the song into overdrive, and the crowd into classic rock heaven. Look, I am not saying that watching this Bad Company reunion concert was the equivalent of a Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd reunion, but it was pretty damn special if you are old fart like myself who can remember when their debut album dominated the airwaves, and can still sing most of the lyrics by heart.

The band didn't screw around when putting together this set list either, as it features all of their best known songs from their best known albums. No deep cuts to be found here – although the Boz Burrell-penned "Gone Gone Gone," from '79s Desolation Angels album, was a pleasant surprise. The companion CD makes for the perfect best of Bad Company compilation – albeit it is live. The band doesn't take too many liberties with the studio versions of these songs other than to throw in a few extended jam sections here and there, most notably with the killer version of "Ready For Love" during the encore set.

The production quality was good overall especially the audio tracks. Both DTS and Dolby Digital 5.0 surround are featured as well as a Dolby stereo track. The guitars were crunchy and right in your face, just the way I like it, and the mixes sounded excellent. The video was shot in high definition but suffered from some color smearing, blurriness, and other video noise problems. The blue isle lighting in the theater almost looked like some kind of enhanced special affect due to these problems. The camera work was excellent, however.

Unfortunately the only special feature is the short promo that was released for the DVD. A band interview certainly could have been interesting, considering the long and storied history of this band. The DVD includes a companion CD of the same set.

Bad Company is currently touring the UK and Paul Rodgers will be doing a solo tour of the US this summer. I'm not sure what the future holds for Bad Company, but based on this excellent DVD, I think they've got a few good year left in them if they decide to stick together for a while.

Track List
01. Bad Company
02. Honey Child
03. Sweet Lil' Sister
04. Burnin' Sky
05. Gone Gone Gone

06. Run with the Pack
07. Seagull
08. Feel Like Makin' Love
09. Movin' On
10. Simple Man
11. Rock Steady
12. Shooting Star
13. Can't Get Enough
14. Rock N' Roll Fantasy
15. Ready for Love
16. Good Lovin' Gone Bad

Ratings:
Performance – 8/10
Production – 7/10

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About Paul Roy

  • Melissa

    This is a great sounding DVD. Paul Rodgers sounds and looks as good as ever. Very impressed with the rest of the band members as well.

  • Rock

    Agreed, Paul Rodgers looks and sounds just as great as ever, not too many singers his age can say that. Bad Company has not only come back with a vengeance, they’re thriving!