Damn Yankees with the Nuge kicks ass; Bad Company without Paul Rodgers licks it



By Steve Newton

Oh man—talk about going back in time! There was Ted Nugent riffing out on “Cat Scratch Fever” and screeching like he had a severe case of it. There was former Styx guitarist Tommy Shaw whipping his still-blond locks every which way while churning out “Renegade” like it was 1975. And there was Bad Company—well, the original drummer, anyway—resurrecting tunes that I first heard on eight-track. Seventies heaven…or was it hell?

Actually, it was a little bit of both.

Nugent has always been a hedonistic super-hero of raunchy guitar, and his maniacal persona and dangerous riffs saved the day at the Coliseum last Friday (March 15). Shirtless, in a long zebra-patterned cape and his trademark headband, the Nuge put on the kind of frenzied performance with Shaw and his Damn Yankees cohorts that you just don’t see enough of these days. Sure he’s crude, sure he’s macho, sure he thinks he’s shit-hot, but hey—at least he’s not faking it!

That’s more than I could say for the supposed headliner.

It’s hard to believe that Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke still has the nerve to cash in on the band’s name after guitarist Mick Ralphs finally threw in the towel last year. Now it’s like going to see The Who without either Daltrey or Townsend—and that’s a rip.

A good percentage of the Coliseum crowd didn’t seem to mind current vocalist Brian Howe’s attempts at re-creating the magic of original singer Paul Rodgers on old hits like “Feel Like Making Love” and “Can’t Get Enough”, but I couldn’t get into it. Only when Kirke and his hired guns tackled the post-Rodgers material—tunes from Dangerous Age and the recent Holy Water album—did they sound part-way genuine.

But what really ticked me off was Bad Company’s stars-and-stripes backdrop, which closely resembled an American flag. For a band whose roots are in classic British bands like Free, Mott the Hoople, and King Crimson, this seemed like the ultimate treason.

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