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Paul Rodgers - Royal Albert Hall, London (UK) - 28 May 2017

PAUL RODGERS goes to the Wishing Well to play a vintage set of songs by British rock band Free at The Royal Albert Hall, London. Known as the 'Voice of Rock', Paul Rodgers rolled back the years with a classy performance of vintage songs by British band Free.

Before he formed supergroup, Bad Company, Rodgers fronted up Free who famously recorded 'All Right Now', one of the most recognisable of all classic Rock songs.

I can still remember the excitement that I felt as a young teenager when buying 'The Free Story' - a double album of their hits - most of which were performed to a very appreciative audience tonight.

Noted for their straight to the point tracks, with memorable melodies, the set opener, 'Little Bit of Love', is a reminder that they don't make bands like this anymore.

By employing fine support act Deborah Bonham's band - sister of Led Zeppelin's John Bonham - Rodgers played a fine homage to Free's legacy.

Driven by the vocal mastery of Rodgers, the band proved their combined playing abilities on the ballads 'Be My Friend' and 'Love You So', all players showing a subtlety of touch to their performances.

A cool and fiery take on 'Fire and Water' was most notable for the big shoes that the musicians had to fill, guitarist Peter Bullick nailing down Paul Kossoff's original guitar parts with aplomb.

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Virtuoso bass player Ian Rowley mastered his own moment of scrutiny on the demanding 'Mr. Big'. Drummer Rich Newman was rock solid throughout and Gerard Louis, on keyboards, delighted everyone with his slinky intro to 'My Brother Jake'.

The raw energy that marked out Free as a must see live band came to the fore on deep cuts 'Ride On A Pony' and 'Woman'. Rodgers excelled as he delivered a lung-busting act that his idols, Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett, would have been proud of.

Tightly played versions of 'The Stealer' and 'Travellin' in Style' kept the magic rolling firmly on track.

As an ecstatic audience stood up to sing-along to his recognisable "whoa, whoa oh whoa" intro, Rodgers launched into legendary song 'All Right Now'. Yet again, guitarist Peter Bullick played a note perfect solo of immense passion and nerve.

A pounding version of 'Wishing Well', with trademark wailing guitar, and a final encore of the bluesy 'Walk in My Shadow' and 'Catch a Train' sent everyone home buzzing.

With the distant passing of guitarist Paul Kossoff, and the recent death of bass player Andy Fraser, never again did I dream that I would see these songs played live and so well.

Big thanks to Paul Rodgers for giving new voice to these cherished songs.

Paul Davies


Paul Rodgers Live

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