Written by Dave Clements
Jul 11, 2013 at 07:00 PM
ImageOver eighty years of combined road service and still out trying to do their absolute best to entertain their fans from their traveling caravan of Prevost buses and eighteen wheelers!

Bad Company followed by Lynyrd Skynyrd, each on the world wide music scene for 40 plus years, put on different but equally impressive sets. I know I wouldn’t want to judge which was ‘better’ and frankly it wouldn’t matter to this writer.  I thought they both were over the top. They separately and collectively had one thing on their minds when the lights came up. That was to give this nearly sold out Woodlands Pavilion crowd their money’s worth. With some serious guitar licks and solid kick butt rock and roll they did just that and then some!

I’m not sure how to best describe the obviously different rock and roll styles of these two bands. Maybe it’s the influences they were exposed to during their formative years. Bad Company has its roots in the British music scene of the seventies and have stuck to that love song, lyric driven style. Lynyrd Skynyrd hales from the southeastern part of the U.S., specifically Jacksonville Florida. Their southern rock style has a less polished, unique, hard hitting sound.

On this night, Bad Company was up first, eager to kick their set off with Rock n Roll Fantasy, Burning Sky, and Run With the Pack. During those three songs I dealt with sensory overload trying to photograph original BC member Paul Rogers and his mates. Wow! We had lights, sound, and lots of smoke. It sure looked cool but is really a nightmare to photograph through. Did my best as I realized that the fans were thrilled at the sight.

Feel Like Making Love, always one of my favorite BC tunes, was performed next. An audience favorite too, they sang harmonies with the band producing a voice to be reckoned with. They (make that WE) sounded pretty darn good – and loud besides!

On more than one occasion Rogers was on the piano adding that instrument to the musical mix. Watching him I was reminded on the Barry Manilow performance I’d witnessed recently on that same stage. Barry’s obvious lip syncing (magnified on the jumbotron) was a sharp contrast to watching Paul Rogers pounding the keys and belting out a song.

ImageJust have to add, Paul Rogers is a wonder to behold. He seems to literally glide through each number with a supremely confident ease and contentment.

The only negative I felt in Bad Company’s performance was when they performed their iconic song Bad Company as an encore, but then followed it with an acoustic tune that I did not recognize. Definitely seemed out of order to me.

Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Lynyrd Skynyrd came out to a thunderous round of applause – as well they should.

I may have heard a little more enthusiasm when Bad Company came out, maybe not. Regardless, these guys belonged in the top spot this evening. You could feel the respect they had for their fans and all of the rockers in the crowd, young and old. And this crowd did span a few generations. The good news is some of these kids had clearly been listening to their parent’s records!

LS came out no different than their buddies in BC, cranked up and ready to rumble. These guys are guitar playing maniacs and when they get it going you better hold on tight. Wow! What a grove they can get into and they immediately did, ripping through a set that included You Got That Right, That Smell, Call Me the Breeze and Gimme Three Steps – and more!

One great highlight tonight was their tribute to the troops and their families. This was accompanied by a cool slideshow of soldiers on the screen behind them while they moved us playing Simple Kind of Man. I thought this was a great song selection for the tribute. Lead singer Johnny Van Zant’s encouragement ‘If you can stand up, stand up for our troops and their families’ showed nice sensitivity to our wounded veterans.

ImageJohnny’s brother, Ronnie Van Zant was a founding member of the band. He died in a plane crash in 1977 along with two other band members. Johnny is doing his brother proud by carrying on, leading the band and showing a lot of class – southern style. He stopped the show at one point, held up his red solo cup, walked to the mic and gave a toast to ‘all those who came out to see us and have supported Lynyrd Skynyrd music for the last 40 years’. Some other acts could benefit from emulating this kind of behavior.

And finally, speaking of behavior, I normally criticize fans who scream out ‘ Free Bird’ at a concert. Well, not this night! The fans screamed away and I listened knowing they were wasting their breath as I had seen the set list. Come on, no way in hell they wouldn’t play this CLASSIC! They did have fun with a little teasing familiar melody, though, just before they plunged into Sweet Home Alabama. Then they gave us what we wanted. What more could one want in an encore? Gotta love it!

Until next time remember there is no time to kill so keep it between the navigational beacons – and carry on.