Bad Company - Live at The Joint at the Hard Rock Tulsa

Bad Company
The Joint at The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Tulsa, Oklahoma
October 26, 2017

By Jeb Wright

Set List:
Bad Company | Live for the Music | Gone, Gone, Gone |Feel Like Makin' Love | Honey Child | Burnin' Sky | Run with the Pack | Ready for Love | Young Blood (The Coasters cover) | Rock Steady | Movin' On | Shooting Star | Can't Get Enough

Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy

Encore 2:

Can someone tell me why Bad Company is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? It makes absolutely no sense. The songs are all smash hits and the band is led by one of the most talented vocalists of all time in Paul Rodgers. Sure…there are many bands that deserve the Hall that are not in it…but Bad Co? You gotta be kidding me? 

On this night, at the Hard Rock in Tulsa, Oklahoma Bad Company blazed through a main set of 13 tunes, 11 of which are still FM radio staples to this day, and two encores to a near capacity house. They rocked from start to finish. The band added some extra jams and outros and Rodgers had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand from the moment he showed up on stage to the second he left it. 

Today’ Bad Company is led by Rodgers along with founding member and drummer Simon Kirke. Bassist Todd Ronning does a fine job in place of the late Boz Burrell while Hall of Famer from Heart Howard Leese kills it on guitar in place of the ill Mick Ralphs. This is a tight band. 

The band opened with the song that is their namesake from their 1974 self-titled album. This was a cool move as the song “Bad Company” usually comes toward the end of their set. Rodgers perched himself at the piano to drummer Kirke’s left. Seeing these two men pounding out the musical passages to this classic tune proved loud and clear that Bad Company are a musical force to be reckoned with. Seeing passion and joy on the faces of these two rock stalwarts so close to each other, still into the music was heartwarming.   

Much of the evening featured songs from the first album and many from 1976’s Run with the Pack including “Live for the Music” which came next in the set. The song featured a simple guitar riff but one that forced you to move. The band dug the groove and the crowd responded positively. Next was “Gone Gone Gone” from 1979’s Desolation Angels.  This is an oft overlooked tune but a killer rock song.  Howard Leese took advantage of the low E theme of the song and snuck in a bit of the classic Heart song “Barracuda.”  Those paying attention caught the coolness by Leese with both the main rhythm and the guitar harmonics being snuck in—just once!   

“Feel Like Makin’ Love” brought the crowd to their feet. Rodgers knocked this one out of the park and even added a harmonica solo! Kirk and Ronning held the rhythm solid while Leese provided the guitar heroics. This song, along with “Shooting Star,” performed later in the set are two of the best rock songs of the 1970s and will go in history as such. “Honey Child” from Pack was a cool addiction as well.  Following that tune thunder rocked the arena as “Burnin’ Sky” from the album of the same name came to life. This is a song that failed to crack the Top 40 as a single when it was released believe it or not. The song has more than stood the test of time as the reaction of the Bad Co fans at the Hard Rock proved! 

The band returned to the first album again for “Ready for Love.” This is a great tune but on this night the band stretched out the ending and created an ethereal soundscape. The song became addictive. I would love to hear this live version get recorded!

Rodgers took over and said back in the day the band were goofing around and decided to record a song by The Coasters. With that Bad Co trotted out “Youngblood.” While this has never been what I consider a great song by the band…I gotta admit live it goes down well as the 12-Bar boogie is sure fun to listen to!

“Rock Steady” is one of the hardest rocking songs the band has ever written and on this night it went down killer. It was followed the fun “Movin’ On” and “Shooting Star.” Both went down stellar. Rodgers was smiling ear-to-ear as the crowd took over and sang louder than him on “Shooting Star.” The main set ended with everyone dancing and singing the classic song that started it all, “Can’t Get Enough.”  With that, the band left the stage to a Standing O!

They were not gone long however.

They came out and rocked The Joint with “Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy.”  The band jammed out the solo and the crowd decided to sing some more. After the song, the band left the stage but the lights stayed low.

Soon, Rodgers appeared alone with an acoustic guitar. He hit the opening notes of the poignant “Seagull.” This was a daring move. The band had the crowd on Cloud 9 and he was now taking things down a notch to end the evening.

By the second verse Howard Leese appeared with an acoustic guitar and added tasty licks behind Paul’s rhythm 12-string. Next, Todd Ronning and Simon Kirke showed up and put out some drums and bass to the song.  While it never rocked the house it did build up and took the audience on a cool ride. It proved to be a great way to end the show.

At the end of the day, Rodgers is still at the top of his game both vocally and instrumentally. Kirke and Rodgers play off each other well while Ronning does a fine job with the low thumps.

A huge tip of the hat needs to be given to Howard Leese. I’ve seen the man play dozens of times and he never disappoints…but on this night he was on fire. His tone was impeccable and his stage presence screamed rock star…his hair, however, was another story. Howie…a little trim wouldn’t hurt... I mean you still have a full head of hair, but a bit of style might be good! That said, if you play like this every night you can get a perm and it is okay with me!

All kidding aside, this was a near perfect show.  As I often glanced at the big screen it was cool to see Rodgers singing with his eyes closed, immersed in the music he obviously loves. 

For me, Bad Company were only four songs away from making this a perfect show.  If they had stuck around and thrown in “Silver, Blue & Gold,” “Can’t Make a Deal with the Preacher,” “Wild Fire Woman” and “Good Lovin’ Gone Bad” I would have fainted!  But…the 15 tunes we did get were rock ‘n’ roll perfection.  If anything is to be said negative it is that it all went by too fast! I could have stayed another hour and a half easily! 

This was more than a rock concert…it is a celebration of great music, start to finish.