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BAD COMPANY, Wembley Arena, London
11 April 2010

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Photos by Noel Buckley

Bad Company, photo by Noel Buckley

It's a shame Joe Perry's sound guys struggle with Wembley's cavernous acoustics for the first few songs tonight , because the Project kick off tonight's show with the classic Let The Music Do The Talking, the title track of the original Joe Perry Project 1980 album and by far the best thing he's come up with outside of Aerosmith.

Unfortunately the muddy Wembley sound threatens not to let the music do the talking, as the band continue through the Aerosmith standard Walking The Dog. The sound does pick up but Perry's 45 minute set teeters from good to bad and back again.

Joe Perry, photo by Noel Buckley

At its best, during the likes of the excellent Rockin' Train and the set closers of Train Kept A Rolling and Walk This Way, the band sound spot on, pumped up and worthy of the Stadium/Arena status Joe Perry holds.  Unfortunately, the material from the recent album 'Have Guitar Will Travel' sounds like it would be more at home in your local pub.

The likes of Sling Shot and a terrible cover of the obscure Fleetwood Mac song, Somebody's Gonna Get, just don't cut it and whilst Perry is unquestionably a great guitar hero, he ain't no singer. Still a reasonably enjoyable set and Perry should be nicely warmed up for this summer's Aerosmith shows.

Bad Company, photo by Noel Buckley

This is the first time for quite a few years that the three surviving original members of Bad Company - Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirke and Mick Ralphs - have teamed up for a tour, so anticipation is high. After Rodgers' successful stint with Queen, and Ralphs' involvement in the triumphant return of Mott The Hoople, can they turn on the Bad Company magic of old?

The answer is a resounding yes. Accompanied by some great visuals from 3 giant LED screens at the back, the band kick straight in with Can't Get Enough and Wembley starts rocking for real.

Honey Child and a great Running With The Pack follow, before the band deliver the first of a few treats for Bad Co. connoisseurs - a superbly powerful version of Burning Sky, title track of the band's fourth album and not one you would naturally expect them to dig out. The cheesy Young Blood gives everyone a chance to get to the bar/toilet, before Rodgers gets the acoustic out for a great version of Seagull.

Bad Company, photo by Noel Buckley

What follows is the second real treat for the die-hards as the band unearth Electric Land, the only real gem from the disappointing last album Rough Diamonds, and one of the highlights of the set. Simple Man and Feel Like Making Love, with mandolin intro, keep the set rocking along nicely, before the band launch into a great version of Shooting Star, accompanied by giant projections of fallen rock heroes such as Bonham, Moon, Hendrix, Elvis and of course appropriately the great Paul Kossoff.

Rock and Roll Fantasy gets the crowd singing along before the band turn it up notch for a rocking finale of Moving On, Ready For Love and an epic set closer of Bad Company. An encore of Deal With The Preacher brings the evening to a close very nicely.

Bad Company, photo by Noel Buckley

This really is Bad Company back on top form and they certainly got the thumbs up from everyone in the audience. A common talking point was how good the choice of songs were tonight. Paul Rodgers' vocals are still exceptional and, unlike some of his contemporaries, show no sign of deterioration with age.

Simon Kirke is, as ever, solid as a rock behind the kit and its great to see Mick Ralphs back in the band - he really did make the difference.

With a new Best Of Free and Bad Company album currently being promoted, I think a lot of fans, including myself, expected a few Free numbers to be included in the set tonight. As it turned out, none were on offer, and in the context of tonight's show, that was no bad thing. As great as all the Free material is, tonight was about pure 100% Bad Company back to their best, and they delivered a set to prove it.

Review by Jim Rowland

Photos by Noel Buckley

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