Co-headlining concerts double the fun as you get twice the star power and kick in twice as many endorphins. Sure, it’s a bigger crash when you come down from all the euphoria, but it’s worth it. And after JOE WALSH whipped us into a frenzy by simply being JOE WALSH, it was time for classic rock royalty in BAD COMPANY. Many national magazines consider vocalist Paul Rodgers to be among the greatest singers ever and he looked the part with black leather pants, a 70’s silk shirt and a blue jean vest.
Mr. Rodgers proved them right when they opened with “Every Man Needs a Woman.” It took us back to the 70’s, as did “Live For the Music.” Drummer Simon Kirke laid down a driving beat and Paul whipped out his harmonica for my high school theme song, “Feel Like Makin’ Love.”
The crowd was dancing to the greatest hits as he effortlessly sang “Gone, Gone, Gone.” Red lights, smoke, then a video of red skies meant “Burnin’ Sky” was next. Guitarist Howard Leese cut loose with a stunning solo while bassist Todd Ronning roamed the stage and had a blast.
Paul introduced the band and announced original guitarist Mick Ralphs was having health problems, but was replaced by the well-respected Rich Robinson of THE BLACK CROWES. Rich didn’t move around much, but he sure could play.
The sun had gone down and a cool breeze enveloped Gexa Energy Pavilion on this beautiful night. With a high level of energy, the band dove into “Electric Land.” Precise music and meaningful lyrics made this song special to many people.
I was worried that some of the classic rock-dominated crowd would pull a muscle as they jumped straight up for “Ready For Love.” Wonderful crowd interaction turned into a sing-along and then a sharp chord change turned this haunting melody into a fan jam.
Rodgers took the opportunity to say how much fun it was to tour with JOE WALSH. He then announced they had never played the next song, “Life Is Like,” onstage before. It sounded like they had been playing it for years, especially as Howard’s mandolin solo added gravy to the biscuits.
Simon took over on lead guitar for “Seagull” and the others grabbed acoustic guitars for a five-man guitar line across the stage. Paul then worked the crowd like a veteran rock star on “Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy.” The audience danced and sang and appreciated damn good music.
Everyone was mesmerized by “Shooting Star” with its penetrating lyrics about the hazards of fame. It was from one of my favorite albums, Straight Shooter, the second of their twelve studio efforts. An amazing nine of those went gold or platinum. The fans sang every word while the overhead video showed a montage of stars who left us way too soon. It was the highlight of the night so far.
The band was having fun and wanted to keep playing. Kirke led the long jam on “Movin’ On” as it raised the bar another notch. Paul put every ounce of his soul into the last song of the set, “Can’t Get Enough.” The love shown by the fans was exciting to watch, as was the guitar duels and duals, the long jam session, and Rich finally smiling. The thunderous applause shook the seats as they waved and left the stage.
The audience wanted more, though. After a quick break, they came back with Paul on piano and smoke pouring from the machines under the stage. Fake gunshots started the encore and startled the crowd. A few fans hit the floor to take cover as we were in South Dallas. It was all part of the show, though, as it was the beginning of “Bad Company” from their debut album of the same name.
Simon pounded the skins with a heavy beat and Howard wailed on a solo. Everyone laid it all out there and a tremendous ovation was the reward. Billows of smoke began for “Rock Steady,” their finishing song. Fans erupted, which spurred the band on to jam even harder and longer. More smoke accompanied great solos to end the show.
It’s very satisfying to the fans to see acts like JOE WALSH and BAD COMPANY have so much fun onstage. Both have been around long enough to put together a show that pleases the crowd and lets every member of the band show off their talents. The One Hell Of A Night Tour continues through September. Catch them live and enjoy a night of classic music. Special thanks to Holly, John and Fred at Gexa Energy Pavilion for their help.
LIVE IMAGES: GUZPIX
LIVE WORDS: DAVID SIMERS