Posted in: Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on July 24th, 2011
Hard-rock guru of the seven seas (as long as you count the porta-johns) here with another musical review courtesy of Eagle Rock Entertainment. This one is entitled: Bad Co.: Live at Wembley. The concert played on April of 2010 to a packed house. As the booklet inside the package indicates, “…for a band to achieve this level of brilliance is extremely rare, to capture it on film, nearly impossible.” Well that is exactly what they did and it is my pleasure to bring that review home to you.
Bad Company (or Bad Co. to their fans) was actually a supergroup that formed in 1973. The original line-up consisted of Free former members: singer Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke. It also included former Matt the Hoople guitarist Mick Ralphs and King Crimson bassist, Boz Burrell. Their first album sharing the same name as the band would go on to sell 5 million copies in the US alone and have three hot singles.
Throughout the seventies they would go on to release five more albums, each album releasing at least two songs and album sales that would exceed at least gold and as high as triple platinum. This included such standout hits such as Rock N Roll Fantasy and Feel Like Making Love among many others. The band would suffer at the turn of the decade and then come out with one more album in 1982 (after a three year hiatus) entitled Rough Diamonds before calling it quits.
Ralphs and Kirke would return to the band in 1986 and debut Brian Howe as their new lead singer. The next few years up until Howe departed in 1994 would produce four albums with a couple going Gold and even one going Platinum in the US alone. It even produced two number one hits with Holy Water and How About That. From 1994 to 1998 they had a third lead singer (and plenty more bassists) in Robert Hart and made a couple of more albums.
Frontman Paul Rodgers would make his comeback in 1998 where Bad Company decided that they would concentrate on performing their legendary singles to full houses across the United States as well as Europe. Subsequent tours in 2001 and 2002 also produced favorable results. However, tragedy struck Bad Company when their original bassist Boz Burrell died of a heart attack at age 60 in 2006. Since then, they have been touring together on and off while Paul Rodgers is for lack of a better phrase, a voice for hire as he tends to many solo projects.
This concert at Wembley Stadium was the last show on their UK tour. Rodgers, Ralphs and Kirke were in complete harmony and brought along Howard Leese of Heart fame and Lynn Sorensen to play bass. Together, they struck a perfect chord. The first song out of the gate was Can’t Get Enough and the best thing about it besides the rich sound was that the audience was already getting into it. The stranger thing was that they sounded perfectly in tune with no hesitation.
Subsequent songs brought out titles like Run with the Pack (complete with smoke machine) and lesser known singles such as Seagull and Simple Man as well as Gone, Gone, Gone which is played in homage to their late bassist. Then about half way into the concert after, they really decide to turn up the juice and launch into some of the best songs for the band as well as rock and roll.
That is the thing some people do not realize about Bad Company. Chances are if you have ever listened to a classic rock station or hanged around people who listen to the style or band regularly, you know the music without ever buying an album. I found myself singing along to songs I have never bought an album for. After this review, I plan to play some Bad Company on Rock Band but sadly there are only two songs available (Shooting Star and Can’t Get Enough). Speaking of Shooting Star, it should be noted that this song featured a video screen in the back that would flash pictures of such legends as Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.
The concert was excellent overall. The band was great as always and as reported by many, the best was saved for last on this tour. It is rare that the best show is the one that makes to disc form. But perhaps the main thing to stand out in this was the fans. They sang along and cheered as if they had rehearsed with the band for years. They grew up with this music. As mentioned in the interviews before and after the show, many of these fans have lived a generation listening to the tunes and in such the music has become part of their lives.
The video is in 1.78:1 widescreen presentation at 1080i resolution. It is great to see this band in a high definition presentation but the video recording did have its issues. There is a great deal of haze in many of the shots and then sometimes is perfect and dead on. Overall, I would mark it as above average and if you are one of those ladies who still has a thing for Paul Rodgers, you will get plenty of shots of him in different tank tops showing off his physique. If I look even close to that when I hit 60, I will be more than happy.
For the audio portion, we get a 5.1 DTS-HD track for English (also included is 2.0 PCM and 5.1 Dolby Digital Tracks). Even though the video has its share of issues, the audio is flat out amazing. Another reference quality effort for Eagle Rock and one’s whole house will be a rocking. Songs are clear and they arguably sound better than they did thirty years ago. Surrounds are used quite well and the sub will get a workout. Subtitles for interviews only are included for English SDH, French Deutsch and Spanish.
From reading the net, honestly I could see another reunion tour within the next couple of years. But after that, I would think that Bad Company will be hanging up their instruments as a band. Sure, Paul Rodgers will appear elsewhere and the other band members possibly too but as an unit, I think they have done all they can do. So, if they do appear anywhere near you in the next few years, it would be best advised to go see them since it might be the last time you get to do so.
But as any band will tell you, the band might be gone but the music will forever live on. That is the magic of this blu-ray and their many cds, a way to communicate with the fans and fans for years to come. This concert is excellent and represents possibly the best performance the band has ever had. The video is above average and the audio is amazing. The extra is not too much but it is at least a very good extra. This set gets a heavy recommendation for any fan of rock music and a must-buy for fans of Bad Company. Enjoy it for your lifetime.
1. Can’t Get Enough
2. Honey Child
3. Run With The Pack
4. Burnin’ Sky
5. Young Blood
7. Gone, Gone
8. Electric Land
9. Simple Man
10. Fell Like Makin’ Love
11. Shooting Star
12. Rock And Roll Fantasy
13. Movin’ On
14. Ready For Love
15. Bad Company
16. Deal With The Preacher