||MARK TAYLOR'S BIG CITY NIGHTS
BAD COMPANY SIGN OUT WITH A FINE SWAN SONG
Bad Company/RSO Featuring Richie Sambora & Orianthi: London O2 Arena
29th October 2016
Mark Taylor: Photos by Robert Sutton
Billed as the 'Swan Song' Tour, these could well prove to be the final ever dates from Bad Company although there's still no official word when the British blues rockers will finally hand in their retirement announcement, despite their advancing years.
The concert, held as part of the BluesFest weekend at the grand O2 Arena, also saw RSO supporting who feature former Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora and his new love in guitarist Orianthi, who has previously worked with both Michael Jackson and Alice Cooper.
Many were through the doors early to see Sambora and Orianthi and the pair started off well enough with a bluesy rocking cover of U2/BB King's 'When Love Comes To Town' and a version of 'I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man'.
Orianthi, with waist length blonde hair and her face hidden under a large hat proved her worth on her own 'Heaven In This Hell' before Sambora brought out the double necked acoustic for a well received 'Wanted Dead Or Alive', but then the wheels started to fall off on this bumpy joyride from the pair.
'Lay Your Hands On Me' would have ensured a mass singalong in his Bon Jovi days but here it was like listening to a crowd disinterestedly singing church hymns at a wedding.
The couple declared their new found love for each other on a bizarre cover of Sonny & Cher's 'I Got You Babe', even more baffling considering that Sambora is serenading Orianthi with a song by his former lover.
Sambora's voice sounded ravaged on a disjointed 'Stranger In This Town' and even 'Livin' On A Prayer' couldn't save the day with guest Stevie Van Zandt, aka Little Steven, who was the only person in the entire arena who didn't know the words to this iconic number.
Bad Company had it very much together performing tracks from all six of their classic albums from their eponymous 1974 debut to 1982's 'Rough Diamonds'.
Opening with 'Live For The Music', the band are cooking with guitarist Mick Ralphs still an imposing figure at seventy two years-of-age. At five years younger Simon Kirke keeps a solid rhythm with a clout of clarity while Paul Rodgers at 66 has a soulful voice which sounds even better now than it did when he was in his youth.
The three original members are complimented by former Heart guitarist Howard Leese and Rodgers' solo band bassist Todd Ronning, who were both allowed to shine in the spotlight.
The classic 'Feel Like Makin' Love' surprisingly comes early in the set with Rodgers thrusting his mic stand skywards and he takes to the piano for the funky intro to the swinging blues of 'Electricland'. A sublime 'Ready For Love' is beautifully drawn out into an epic number featuring fine musical interplay from all.
A brand new composition, 'Troubleshooter', proved that Bad Company still have the chemistry if they wish to make a new album.
'Shooting Star' and a crunching 'Can't Get Enough' were timely reminders about what a great band Bad Company were after forming from the ashes of Free and set closer, 'Rock 'N Roll Fantasy', saw a collage of photos from the band in their youthful prime.
Encores saw plumes of smoke greet the chorus of their signature tune of 'Bad Company' which once again featured the captivating voice of Paul Rodgers. Acoustics were in hand for the finale of 'Seagull'.
Bad Company had nothing to prove; they remain one of the most pivotal rock bands to have emerged from the UK and their influence is undeniable.
Live For The Music
Gone, Gone, Gone
Feel Like Makin' Love
Run With The Pack
Ready For Love (Mott The Hoople cover)
Can't Get Enough
Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy
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