BAD COMPANY Live at The 02 London 29th October 2016 with support from RSO (Richie Sambora and Orianthi)
This gig had been eagerly anticipated for months, not just by myself, but every person who had bought a ticket for Bad Company’s “Swan Song” Tour.
Support band for the night were RSO, in other words Bon Jovi’s world renowned ex guitarist Richie Sambora and his newest squeeze Orianthi. These guys had been linked together both musically and romantically for a few years now, and are currently working on an album together, so that should be interesting? I was fortunate (or maybe unfortunate?) to catch a performance by the duo at the Islington 02 Academy back in June 2014. On that occasion I was left more than disappointed by the performance. Richie was not in good form, in fact he appeared to slur his words and lose all sense of coordination? Given that previous experience, I wasn’t expecting much from his set at the 02, so was pleasantly surprised that he seemed slightly better prepared this time round. I can’t say it was a mind blowing performance, but certainly more than adequate.
The couples opening number was a cover of U2’s “When Love Comes to Town”, a slightly odd choice I thought, but then the rest of their set list was a rather eclectic mix too? Song choice aside though, Richie tried to engage the half-filled arena with some cheesy banter, and to give him his dues, he really worked his butt off to please everyone. There’s never been any doubt about his superior stage presence, let’s face it, being at the forefront of one of the most prevalent rock bands of the last few decades, he had to have mastered his stage craft by now, but there was something lacking. His vocals were a million times better than at the Islington show, but again, he really didn’t seem to find that je ne sais quoi, so prevalent in his Bon Jovi days. Orianthi does seem to have steered him in the right direction though, so good on her. She has proved a very competent guitarist in her own right, and looked every bit the stunning rock goddess in her tight leather trousers, long boots and cowboy hat, but albeit throwing out some typical poses, she doesn’t really know how to play a crowd yet? I know there will be many people who will have considered RSO’s performance as a total “car crash”, however, I wouldn’t go quite that far, there was definitely an improvement from the last outing, but there is still a large amount needed to get them completely on track. Hopefully the pair will keep touring and eventually gel better in future.
1, When Love Comes to Town
2, I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man
3, Heaven in This Hell
4, Midnight Rider
5, Wanted Dead or Alive
6, How Do You Sleep
7, Lay Your Hands on Me
8, I Got You Babe
9, Stranger in This Town
10, Livin’ on a Prayer
Now on to the act that everyone was really here to see, BAD COMPANY.
The classic line-up consisted of Paul Rodgers, Mick Ralphs and Simon Kirke, complemented perfectly with the addition of Howard Leese (guitars) and Todd Ronning (bass).
Paul Rodgers, personifies the true English gentleman of rock, no gimmicks or frills, he just powers through his harmonious vocals in style, perfection itself! No way would you guess how many years he’s been around, and to be honest, who cares? Clearly age has no barriers when it comes to Rodgers looks or voice. Let’s face it, few other bands of that era could boast the range and clarity of his performance. Not only that, but he can still twirl the mike stand like a 20 something!
Kirke too has aged gracefully, and put on a really powerful performance. His kit poised on a sparkling drum riser, he towered above his band mates, a very fitting position. Ralphs on the other hand hasn’t been quite so blessed, but saying that, for someone in his early 70’s, he still braved his way through some apparent physical discomfort, and it definitely wouldn’t have been Bad Company without him.
The bonus of positioning Rodgers piano right next to Kirke proved an inspirational move, and added to the powerful and monumental sound. The rhythm section will always be an integral part in the classic sound of Bad Company and Free numbers, especially with such classics as “Feel like Making Love”, “Run with the Pack” and “Can’t Get Enough”, so the addition of Todd Ronning on bass was an excellent idea.
All in all there was absolutely nothing to criticize about the whole performance. The sound system was phenomenal, and all the band put in their all, clear to see by everyone there. Even the set-list had been carefully thought out, mixing and matching powerful, unforgettable tracks in with slightly toned down ones. This concert will live with me for many years to come, and I was gutted when it ended. Being called The Swan Song Tour, it would have appeared this would be the final tour for the current line-up, but Rodgers did more than hint it was Not The End. Here’s hoping, because I’ll be first in line for tickets!
Review by Helen (Hells Bells) Westby
1, Live for the Music
2, Gone, Gone, Gone
3, Feel Like Makin’ Love
5, Burnin’ Sky
6, Run with the Pack
7, Ready for Love
8, Crazy Circles
10, Movin’ On
11, Shooting Star
12, Can’t Get Enough
13, Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy
14, Bad Company