Paul Rodgers at the Albert Hall

April 29, 2011

I saw Paul Rodgers the other night at the Royal Albert Hall in London. He was immense. The man can really, really sing! Joe Elliott was on before with the Down n Outz – great band, but seriously, his voice was bad, especially when he failed repeatedly to hit most of the notes in tune. Admirably distracting shoes, though, and a hard-working drummer almost compensated for his shortcomings.

The night began with a very mediocre set from Rodgers’ daughter, Jasmine. Her voice was okay, her guitar  playing limited (but not limiting), and her songs pretty shoddy. I mean, the lyrical content was juvenile at worst and predictably simplistic at best. Paul Rodgers sounded all the more awesome because of his support acts.

He came on to thunderous applause and launched into several Free and Bad Company classics. By the second song, Wishing Well, he and the band had hit their stride; and they never left it once. With Jason Bonham on drums, the groove never once faltered, as he channelled the spirits of both his father and Ian Paice as a second-generation God Of Rock. The guitarist, whose name escapes me, was phenomenal, ripping up the solos at every chance and pounding out the riffs and changes flawlessly all night. The bassist was the rock upon which it all rollicked and partied to the sound of one of the definitive voices of Classic Rock.

The encore, unsurprisingly, consisted of ‘All Right Now’ and ‘Can’t Get Enough of Your Love’. Both were stonkers. This man and his band kicked ass for almost two hours. He never stopped or slowed down. He played guitar and piano. He soared, worked the crowd, and in the Royal Albert Hall’s Cathedral of Rock he had us all worshipping at the altar of St. Paul Rodgers. With Ian Gillan and David Coverdale in enforced semi-retirement and Robert Plant singing county songs in his boots, Rodgers leaves them all – and most of the next generation – in the dust.

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