Lynyrd Skynyrd & Bad Company at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 7/11/2013
While there have been numerous personnel changes over the years for both Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bad Company, the songs were still there Thursday at the Woodlands Pavilion. That's all that mattered.
It was a night of drunken singalongs and fist-pumping, devil horns and American pride. It was the right level of cheesiness that could only be had right there.
The night started off with a co-headlining set by English rockers Bad Company. Three of the four original members of this rock "supergroup" are still alive and kicking, and had no trouble dropping hit after hit on the almost-full pavilion. Even if you don't regularly listen to Bad Company, you know the songs, and would have been singing along with everyone else who was with us last night.
Lead vocalist Paul Rodgers, who semi-successfully toured as the singer of Queen a couple years back, had no problem keeping the crowd entertained. While the entire band seemed a bit tired out of the gate, which is to be expected of any aging rockers, soon the crowd's energy brought Bad Company to life.
The set list read like an hour of classic-rock radio, with songs like "Rock and Roll Fantasy," "Feel Like Making Love," "Shooting Star" and "Ready For Love" peppered into the 13-song playlist. While the band is to the point where they're not changing anything up from night to night, certain parts of the set found the members improvising a bit.
Many of the songs were extended to allow every member of the five-piece band a chance to show off their chops, past just playing through the standard version. Rodgers bounced around stage twirling his mike stand like he was the drum major in a marching band, belting out each song like it was 40 years ago.
Dude looked good for his age, too. I would never guess that he's been on the road for four decades if you put me in a room with him not knowing who he was.
Bad Company closed their portion of the show with a very psychedelic version of their namesake tune, "Bad Company," followed closely by an unfamiliar acoustic tune. I think they kind of lost their crowd a bit by doing an encore as an opening act, especially closing with a song a majority of the crowd didn't know. Overall, though, the set was great, and could've been a great headlining set at any of our smaller venues throughout town. I would definitely rock out to BC again, given the opportunity.
After about a 45-minute set-break, some random guy came on the PA to announce the headliners were about to take the stage. All those folks who were emptying their bladders, or refilling them, rushed back into the pavilion just in time. In all my years of seeing music, I've never had the opportunity to catch a Skynyrd show, so I was pretty damn excited headed into this one.