Paul Rodgers: Wish We Were There!
Legendary singer Paul Rodgers finished off the Classic Rock Week Of Gigs in suitably sensational style at London’s Hammersmith Apollo on November 6. What happened? Read on…
A one-off to celebrate his Classic Rock Songwriter award at the Classic Rock Roll Of Honour, this was a chance for the legendary singer to remind us why he won it. Odd, really, that having been lauded so long for his voice, the strength of his back catalogue has perhaps hitherto been overlooked…
With opener Walk In My Shadow, the first surprise is that Rodgers’ former Free and Bad Company buddy Simon Kirke now occupies the drum stool – making a good band (as seen on the 2006 UK tour/2007’s Live In Glasgow album and DVD) into a great one. As early as third song Ride On A Pony, Kirke is giving a drumming masterclass on the tiniest of kits. The others, too, are equally economical but fluent – particularly ex-Heart guitarist Howard Leese, who delivers Paul Kossoff lines with respect and feel.
But this is Rodgers’ night and – song by brilliant song he delivers. As he introduces the 40-year-old Soon I Will Be Gone for, “The first time live on stage”, Classic Rock quickly forgives him the perspex semi-acoustic round his neck.
There are screams from a handful of girls as he introduces the Queen + Paul Rodgers song Voodoo, but the fellas are more impressed by the intro to Run With The Pack that follows. As it ends, from behind the piano Rodgers leaps to his feet and – in one movement – snatches the microphone before bounding to the font of the stage. The movement suggests he can barely wait to play what follows… Wishing Well.
Deborah Bonham duets on Be My Friend, then – after Bad Co.’s Rock And Roll Fantasy and Shooting Star – the 60-minute set ends all too soon with All Right Now.
After a three-song encore (including Can’t Get Enough, featuring Rodgers’ old Bad Company pal, Mick Ralphs) the houselights go up but the crowd refuse to leave – and so the amps are switched back on and the band return to play The Hunter. A special night by a very special talent – who then bounnced back one last time, to tell us: “We’ll be back – see you in April!”
Tags: Bad Company, Classic Rock, classic rock roll of honour, Classic Rock week of gigs, Deborah Bonham, Free, Heart, howard leese, Mick Ralphs, Paul Kossoff, Paul Rodgers, Queen + Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirke