July 10, 2013
Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
Grand Prairie, TX USA
Review by Andy Laudano
Photos by Jeff Jones
Bad Company - Bad Company, Lynyrd Skynyrd
Legendary Bands Celebrating 40th Anniversary
In one of the most anticipated tours of the summer, two rock icons, Bad Company and Lynyrd Skynyrd made their way to the Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie. Both legendary bands were celebrating their 40th anniversaries with this special co-headline tour.
Bad Company was one of rock music's first "super groups," bringing former Free front man Paul Rogers and drummer Simon Kirke together with Mott The Hoople guitarist Mick Ralphs and King Crimson bassist Boz Burrell. This tour would feature all three surviving members, Rogers, Kirke and Ralphs with members of Rogers solo band, former Heart guitarist Howard Leese and bassist Todd Roning filling in for the late Burrell, who died in 2006.
For a band that's been around for 40 years, Bad Company played with the power and energy of a much younger band. Rogers may be well into his 60's but he looked, sounded and moved around like a man in his 30's. The show opened with the classic "Rock And Roll Fantasy" and from there the hits just kept coming. Ralphs and Leese made a great team, trading leads and rhythm guitar. Leese even broke out a mandolin for the opening of "Feel Like Makin' Love."
There is no doubt that Rogers is one of the greatest vocalists of all time. His bluesy, soulful voice never sounded better than when belting out "Ready For Love." He's also a great front man, who had the whole crowd singing along to "Shooting Star."
Other highlights included "Burnin' Sky," "Movin' On." "Can't Get Enough" and their signature song, "Bad Company" featuring Rodgers on piano.
As a special treat, fans were able to take home an awesome souvenir as Bad Company was recording every show on the tour and making the night's show available for purchase.
For 40 years Lynyrd Skynyrd have been the undisputed kings of Southern Rock. Despite all the hardships they've endured over the years, the band has refused to quit and their fans have loved them for it. Guitarist Gary Rossington may be the sole original member left with the band, but he's put together a pretty impressive group of musicians that not only play the music well, but really seem to be having a great time on stage together.
Since reforming the band in 1987, Johnny Van Zant has filled in for his iconic older brother, original front man Ronnie Van Zant. Together with Rossington, ex Blackfoot front man/guitarist Rickey Medlocke and former Damn Yankees drummer Michael Cartellone they have become the core of this current incarnation. Ex Charlie Daniels Band guitarist Mark Matejka, keyboardist Peter Keys and newest member, former Black Crowes bassist Johnny Colt fill out the rest of the lineup.
Skynyrd kicked things off with "What's Your Name" and continued with standards "Call Me The Breeze" and "Down South Jukin'." Heavier songs, "That Smell" and "Saturday Night Special" were real crowd pleasers. They also featured backup singers, Gary's wife and former Rossington Collins Band singer Dale Krantz-Rossington and Carol Chase.
The centerpiece of the show was the beautiful ballad, "Simple Man." The song was dedicated to the U.S. military and videos of the troops were shown on a big screen behind them. Another highlight was a really old acoustic song called "Mississippi Kid" that saw Cartllone come from behind his kit to play a drum with Medlocke playing a banjo and Matejka an acoustic guitar.
Throughout the night Medlocke was a shredding monster while Matejka, who also appeared to be having the time of his life, mouthed the words to every song. Colt even switched hats a couple of times during the show in seeming tribute to the original bassist "The Mad Hatter" Leon Wilkeson. The fun continued with "Gimme Three Steps" and "Sweet Home Alabama."
The final song, the national anthem of the South and one of the most beloved songs of all time, "Freebird" was a touching tribute to their fallen bandmates. Images of keyboardist Billy Powell and Ronnie Van Zant along with a giant backdrop of Ronnie and Gary with the names Leon, Billy, Steve (Gaines), Cassie (Gaines), Allen (Collins), Hughie (Thomasson), Ean (Evans), Dean (Kilpatrick) and Jojo (Billingsley) filled the big screen as the band played on.
Overall, it was two amazing performances from two legendary bands. If this tour comes your way, do not miss it!