Live At Wembley
By Martin Popoff
Why did people like Bad Company so much anyway? Well, it had to be with the immediacy of simple songs without ego, along with Paul Rodgers’ sixth-sense blues acumen applied to every word he sang (and the extra trailing bits once the word was done), and then, into abstracts, a certain earthy slothfulness, i.e. they seemed to slow down life with willful stupidity, just like booze.
That last and flabby Bad Co. isn’t here, which is OK, because it’s replaced with a Stonesy bounce, accomplished by what Mick Ralphs has become after so many years in the shadows, and by the bright, correct stadium-rock production of this thing, lots of high-hat sizzle and snappy snare keeping us standing and shaking it about in the shed. And heck, even Rodgers is less the bluesman, more the crowd-teaser he had to become with that absurd half-Queen experiment, singing these songs, confident that they are part of the fabric of western culture like Skynyrd.
Simon Kirke? Well, maybe he’s learned to keep it light by backing the semi-hair metal-y version of Bad Co. all those years. In any event, this is an effortlessly enjoyable, invitingly commercial celebration of the band’s catalog, and a lot of it, at 15 tracks. Like I say, something about the way Mick plays makes this never all that hard rocking, which it could have been. But you kinda don’t care that the melancholy has been leached out of it, ’cos who wants to be sad anyway?