Bad Company/Joe Perry Project - Cardiff International Arena

It's Easter Weekend in Cardiff but there's only one resurrection that interests the crowd assembling in the CIA tonight. Not that Bad Co are the only show in town, as tonight we're treated to a world class warm-up act too. As the driving force and signature sound of global superstars Aerosmith it must be a tough gig for Joe Perry to knuckle down to winning over other people’s audiences from the support slot. He may not be a natural frontman but he doesn’t shy away from the task at hand. The Joe Perry Project are a million miles away from the razzamatazz of Joe’s “other” band and are, to all intents and purposes, a bar band writ large for the arena audience. They happily trawl the archives for the kind of classics that Aerosmith used to play before they were neutered by MTV; so we get treated to hip grinding versions of ‘Walkin’ The Dog’, ‘Train Kept a Rollin’ as well a shop stopping and inevitable ‘Walk This Way’. It’s a treat to have such a guitar hero opening the show in such low key fashion and, while the never ending, Duane Eddy referencing bass solo during ‘Rocket Train’ was a tad indulgent this was a small price to play to get up close to a legend.

Talking of legends, they don’t come much bigger or bolder than Bad Company’s Paul Rodgers who bounds onto the stage tonight like a man half his age. He’s looking great too, with a tan that would put even Tony Blair in the shade. Mick Ralphs is content to let Rodgers hog the limelight, looking like he’s arrived for a game of darts over the road at the Vulcan rather than a gig in a national arena. Not that this should matter as tonight is all about the music and, fresh from shows with the rejuvenated Mott The Hoople Ralphs’ guitar is sounding better than ever. There’s no foreplay tonight, they come out all guns blazing, taking everyone by surprise by opening with perhaps their biggest hit, ‘Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love’. That’s confidence for you and they are repaid by a rapturous response which even manages to overcome the rather staid, seated venue arrangement.

There are opportunities for a quick breather here and there however in a well paced set which sees Rodgers head to the piano for ‘Race With The Pack’ and an acoustic rendition of ‘Seagull’ which receives a standing ovation. When they roll out the big guns though there’s no quarter given and, following a low, down and dirty rendition of ‘Feel Like Making Love’ the majority of blokes in the audience will have been seeking oxygen or viagra to get them through the rest of the evening. They go out on a high with ‘Bad Company’, leaving the crowd baying for more until they are sated by one final encore and then everyone is ‘Movin’ on’. It’s an overused term but tonight really was all about ‘classic rock’ and there’s still no-one out there who can hold a candle to Paul Rodgers when it comes to that.

Bad Company Cardiff Gallery

Joe Perry Project Cardiff Gallery

[Words & Photography: Steve Burnett]

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