|Bad Company/Joe Perry Project – Brighton Centre – 10th April 2010|
|Written by Johnny H|
|Sunday, 18 April 2010 06:00|
Tom Araya's bad back has got a lot to answer for tonight I can tell you. Having booked tickets for this show on the proviso that it was a standing venue and that the date didn't clash with the rescheduled Slayer tour (the Cardiff show did), I was somewhat exasperated when Slayer's tour was once again rescheduled...to May, and arriving at the venue tonight I found myself being directed to a SEAT!!!!!
As per most Über Röckers, I truly hate seated gigs, I find they stifle the energy of a band's performance and ultimately attract, shall we say, a more 'casual' type of gig goer. But fear not. I'm here tonight to see Paul Rodgers and Joe Perry up close, so who am I to complain about a few sweaters being tied around people's necks, eh?
As Joe Perry's 'Project' took to the stage with a rather muted version of 'Let The Music Do The Talking' it was immediately obvious who was calling the shots here, with Joe undertaking most of the between song duties, and the follow spots almost perma fixed on the uber cool axeman (who incidentally is looking more like Cruella Deville's younger brother every day). But what else do expect when you have a living legend in your ranks?
'Walkin' The Dog' saw the guitar thankfully reappear in the mix before Joe took the mic for his first vocal duties on 'Slingshot' from his most recent album. As the set unfolded I did start to get the buzz of what it must be like to watch Joe Perry rehearse in your front room, as the cavernous venue was turned into my living room courtesy of old friends 'Rockin' Train' (featuring a great bit of slap bass from long-time 'Project' man David Hull) and set closer 'Walk This Way' that also saw current vocalist Hagan Grohe doing his very best Steven Tyler impression.
OK, there maybe a few reasons to query exactly why Joe Perry would want to be out doing this tour right now, but it is also refreshing to see a guy who really doesn't have to do this playing Woodie Guthrie and Fleetwood Mac tracks with all the youthful vigour of a sixteen year old, never mind a sixty year old.
'Have Guitar Will Travel' indeed Joe, see you at Download.
It was during the changeover that I noticed that crash barriers were in place for tonight's show, and I did wonder if they were simply there to protect Ross Halfin's camera gear, as he was packing some lenses that resembled the Large Hadron Collider here tonight. It's also sort of reassuring when you see Ross in town for a gig these days, as you know he doesn't get out of bed for anything short of spectacular, and I'm happy to report his slide rule of gig cool wasn't far off the mark once again. As Bad Company took to the stage with an intro tape loop of a beating heart, a large majority of the thousands packed into the arena could all be seen checking their chests just to ensure they weren't about to croak it. Much to their relief this tape gave way to the band's breakthrough hit 'Can't Get Enough' and what's this? The crowd was standing up. Yippee.
Mick Ralphs aside, there was a lot to compare this show to last year's storming Mott The Hoople reunion shows which I won't go into here, but one thing those first Monmouth Mott shows most definitely missed was audience participation. Well, I'm very pleased to report that the Classic Rock subscribers of Brighton did not repeat that here, paying back Bad Company's efforts onstage in spades offstage. Album classics like 'Run With The Pack', 'Burning Sky' and 'Seagull' were all greeted like long lost relatives, as the memories of days gone by must have come flooding back for most in attendance. Every word that left Paul Rodgers mouth seemingly met with an audience echo that soon had the man with the terrier hair grinning from ear to ear.
I think it can be safe to say that if Joe Perry was the main focus of attention for tonight's support then the idolatry that precedes Bad Company's Paul Rodgers is also totally understandable. He effortlessly used his fine blues voice to coax the best from tracks like 'Simple Man', 'Feel Like Makin' Love' and 'Shooting Star' (the latter also featured, via the state of the art lighting back drops, a pictorial tribute to friends lost over the years, from the band's bassist Boz Burrell through to Keith Moon and many more).
Closing the main set with a rampaging 'Rock N Roll Fantasy' complete with Joe Perry guesting on guitar, it was left to 'Movin' On' to bring the curtain down with its fine blues rock strut. This left the Brighton diehards not budging an inch, and in turn ensured that Bad Company were going nowhere in a hurry. Returning with 'Ready For Love' all brooding and sultry the night could only end one way and that was with the piano led 'Bad Company' that had even those who had previously had their arses glued to their seats up and punching the air like teenagers.
It is credit indeed to Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirke and Mick Ralphs that they should still be committing themselves with such conviction to the Bad Company legacy, and in Howard Leese (ex Heart) and Lynn Sorensen on second guitar and bass, they have a band that can take this music forward to a whole new audience should they have the desire.
As I made my way out into the fresh Brighton night air a sobering thought entered my head. That was without Tom Araya's bad back I wouldn't have witnessed this exemplary classic rock display from Bad Company and I'd probably have just ended up magically bored on a quiet street corner somewhere in Wales. So thank you Tom Araya!
I still hate seated gigs though.