Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

7Jul/091

Setlist: Bad Company/Doobie Brothers – Detroit, MI – 7/1/09

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- Photo Credit - @badcompany.com

Cool friends are the ones that have their wedding reception at a concert featuring Bad Company and the Doobie Brothers. Since I hadn't ever seen either band, this concert would have been a must-attend, even if I wasn't on the guest list. I grabbed my pal Chris Akin, and we drove to Detroit to see Bad Co. and the Doobie Bros at DTE. Here's a road report from Chris:

The reality of my life these days is that I don’t travel for shows much. It’s not even that I won’t travel to see a show. With ticket prices the way they are though, and given the fact that I’ve pretty much seen EVERY band I would ever truly want to, the time has really just passed me by to take any sort of a road trip for a band. That is, unless it’s a really, really special evening. Given that Bad Company is one of my favorite bands ever, is only playing 10 dates in the USA, and (more than likely) will not ever tour again, this was one of those times that a long car ride was in order. While the drive for us was about 4 hours each way, the performance from Paul Rodgers and company was more than worth the time invested to get there.

Having seen a slew of these 70s rockers that are still out there touring, it’s with great pleasure that I tell you that this show, featuring Bad Co. and the Doobie Bros., was far and away the best live show I’ve ever seen from a classic band. That fact can be almost singlehandedly attributed to the brilliant vocal work of the great Paul Rodgers. To put it bluntly, the fact that Paul Rodgers sounds every bit as good and as powerful as he did 40 years ago when he started singing professionally is simply amazing. Watching him on stage, he’s still super energetic and clearly enjoying himself as he tears through the classics that made him a star in the first place.

Feeding off a highly energetic crowd, it was very clear that Rodgers was putting in extra effort as he and the band tore through songs like “Ready For Love” and “Rock Steady.” He was more than happy to bring the crowd into the show on several occasions; and the crowd was all too willing to help out. “Shooting Star” became an all out sing-a-long between Rodgers and the crowd, but not in the lame way where most of your Motley Crue type bands would use it to spare the singer’s voice a little. Hearing the power of Rodgers on stage, there’s no one that thought he needed the audience’s help. Instead, he just drew the audience in that way to ensure never losing their energy. It never failed.

While all of the biggest hits were there, it was when they stepped away from the 10 From 6 hits that Bad Co. shined brightest on this night. While not a surprise at all, Rodgers’ and guitarist Mick Ralphs acoustic performance of “Seagull” was, by far, the emotional highlight of the entire evening. Given the power of his performance of the song (as well as having seen him sing it several times solo,) it’s pretty clear that this is probably Rodgers’ favorite song he ever did with the band. Another true highlight was much more surprising; the inclusion of Rough Diamonds opening track “Electricland” into the set. Given that my first experience ever to Bad Co. was that song, it made for a truly surreal moment for me to have that song pulled out.

These moments aside, the entire crowd sang right along with the band throughout the entire set as hit after hit was hurled at them. “Movin’ On,” “Rock And Roll Fantasy,” “Rock Steady,” and “Feel Like Makin’ Love” were performed with great passion by the band; especially Rodgers who just seemed thrilled to be playing this music for such a receptive audience. When half the members of the Doobie Brothers joined the band for “Rock And Roll Fantasy,” most of the crowd hardly noticed because of the hypnotic trance Rodgers had them under. By the time the band finished their encore with their theme song “Bad Company,” all anyone was left thinking was, “man, that went really, really fast.” That, all by itself, says all you needed to know about this performance.

As good as Bad Co. proved to be, they were literally pushed to be great by a truly inspired performance by The Doobie Bros. Not to be outdone in sound or energy, Tom Johnston seemed on a mission to rock every single person at DTE on this night. Much like Rodgers, he stalked around the stage furiously; encouraging the crowd through to be louder. In traditional Doobies’ fashion, the show was dominated by powerful yet beautiful vocal harmonies.

The band got the crowd going as they raced through hits like “Black Water” and “China Grove”. It was a very interesting dynamic to see so many aging, 60-something Hell’s Angels wannabes dancing and singing in the aisles to songs like “Listen To The Music”, “Jesus Is Just Alright” and “Takin’ It To The Streets”. Johnston and the band’s other surviving member Patrick Simmons guided the new Doobies well, and they more than warmed things up for Bad Company. From start to finish, a brilliant night that quickly reminded me why this musical era was so far and away superior to anything that has followed it. A brilliant show; one of the most memorable of my lifetime.

Setlist:

Can't Get Enough
Rock Steady
Run With The Pack
Burnin' Sky
Youngblood
Seagull
Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy (w/Members Of Doobie Brothers)
Electricland
Simple Man
Feel Like Makin' Love
Shooting Star
Movin' On

Encore:

Ready For Love
Bad Company

  • Woody

    Couldn’t agree with this review more. Can’t imagine Bad Co without Rodgers. Incredible energy for an “mature” chap! To see this twin bill was very special. As memorable as any concert ever. And that includes sitting in second row at Reiman Auditorium in Nasville for a Moody Bluegrass concert when Justin Hayward, John Lodge and Graeme Edge showed up unannounced and did a full extra hour with Moody Bluegrass.

    Or first row/center at the Toledo Zoo for Paul Simon a couple years back. (The rain held off there, which made me thankful for our pavilion seats for Doobies/Bad Co!)