Fireworks

Paul Rodgers - 'Live At Montreux 1994' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/f0/e8/2c/1927_PaulRodgersLiveAtMontreux1994_1327779430.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 28, 2012    
 
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Essential for all Rodgers fans, hardcore or casual.

In 1994, the legendary Paul Rodgers of Free and Bad Company performed in Montreux, with a set list spanning classic songs by both bands, as well as exploring Paul's blues influences with tracks from his Muddy Waters tribute album. What also makes this well worth checking out is the band backing Paul here - Jason Bonham is on drums, underpinning the work of rhythm guitarist Ian Hatton and bassist John Smithson who were Bonham's own band. Better still, lead guitar duties are fulfilled by Journey superstar Neal Schon, and it's Schon's presence here that really sells it for me.

Kicking off with Free's 'Travelling Man', the pairing of Bonham's drums and Schon riffing like a fiend make it rock like never before. Capped off by Paul's classic voice (in top form), he pushes himself to deliver a top notch vocal on every track. I can see purists might argue Schon has lost the feel of the track, in a manner similar to when John Sykes was accused of making old Thin Lizzy songs a bit too rocky. But Paul must be happy with it, because similar treatment is given to the timeless 'Wishing Well'. Sadly, however, there is one downside: a distinct lack of quality backing singers in this band! Mercifully, the songs which require any backing vocals are few and far between, but in the case of 'Wishing Well' they are somewhat tentative to say the least.



Further great songs wheeled out including 'Louisiana Blues' and 'Fire And Water', then Paul decides one guitar hero isn't enough, so he summons his future Queen collaborator Brian May to join Schon in a riff-tastic rendition of 'Good Morning Little Schoolgirl', 'I'm Ready' and a brilliant 'Little Bit Of Love'. He and Schon look like they are having a great time trading lead lines. After Brian leaves, Paul adds Steve Lukather to the mix for 'Feel Like Making Love' and 'The Hunter' among others. Brian May returns for the timeless 'All Right Now' before a truly special version of 'Crossroads', which rocks like a mother, due in no small part to the fact Schon, Lukather and May are all on stage together playing it! The finale of 'Hoochie Coochie Man' also features all three of them, along with blues masters Luther Allison and Eddie Kirkland, flanked by Robert Lucas, Kenny Neal and Sherman Robertson from Canned Heat. It finishes off a terrific set in unique style.

With Rodgers in this kind of form and Schon blazing out such a collection of great tracks, this has become one of my favourite Rodgers live shows. As Paul states at the beginning, sure the hair and clothes are dodgy, but look past that and you'll find some real gems. It's a superb show, well worth getting. Also note you can buy it on CD too, which, for once, doesn't omit anything from the show at all. Essential for all Rodgers fans, hardcore or casual.

James Gaden

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