Mr. Midnight (no label)
International Forum, Tokyo, Japan – October 26, 2010
Disc 1: (57:24) Intro (I Am The Walrus), Can’t Get Enough, Honey Child, Run With The Pack, Burnin’ Sky, Oh! Atlanta, Seagull, Gone, Gone, Gone, Mr. Midnight, Yoakeno Keiji, Electric Land, Feel Like Makin’ Love
Disc 2: (50:49) Shooting Star, Rock And Roll Fantasy inc. Ticket To Ride & I Feel Fine, Movin’ On, Bad Company, Be My Friend, Ready For Love, Stormy Monday Blues
After a reunion show in August 2008 reuniting original members Paul Rodgers, Mick Ralphs, and Simon Kirk, Bad Company continues to tour in spurts. In addition to the founding members, filling out the new lineup are long time Heart guitarist Howard Leese and bassist Lynn Sorensen, both current members of the Paul Rodgers Band.
Bad Company booked a six date Japanese Tour in October 2010 visiting Fukuoka, Nagoya, Osaka, and three dates in Tokyo. Days before leaving for Japan, Mick Ralphs informed the band he could not due the tour due to a hip problem leaving Howard Leese as the primary guitarist. Leese definitely steps up and does a very good job filling his shoes on such short notice. Opening all shows on the tour is Paul’s son, Steve Rodgers.
Mr. Midnight features the last date of the Japanese tour in Tokyo. Advertised as a mix between a front row audience source and an In Ear Monitor mix, the IEM definitely dominates the audio with little evidence of the audience source. All instruments are heard in the mix with the focus on the lead and backing vocals. This most likely comes from Paul Rodgers’ mix where his voice is the most prominent with guitar and bass laying just under the drums. At times the backing vocals are a bit loud but get better as the night continues.
The setlist is primarily a hits collection which includes tracks from all six original LPs. The tape starts with a full version of The Beatles “I Am The Walrus” over the PA before the band hits the stage with “Can’t Get Enough”, the first track from their debut album. This is perhaps the bands greatest opening number and sets the tone for the rest of the show. After “Honey Child” Paul greets the audience in Japanese while taking a seat at the piano for “Run With The Pack”. “Burnin’ Sky” is unfortunately the only track to be featured from the band’s underrated fourth LP.
A beautiful rendition of “Seagull” bring down the mood but only briefly. “Gone, Gone, Gone” from Desolation Angels follows and is one of the few tracks penned by original bassist Boz Burrell who passed away in 2006. Rodgers introduces Marcus Wolfe from Vancouver “Mr. Midnight himself” on additional guitar for the one and only brand new track. The song was written by Rodgers and presented to the band on the flight over to Japan and quickly added to set.
Paul plays a three minute acoustic ditty, “Yoakeno Keiji” also known as “Twilight Zone”, written some years earlier for a Japanese TV show. “Feel Like Makin’ Love” is preceded by some nice mandolin from Howard Leese. Paul flubs a line in “Shooting Star” proving that even seasoned veterans lose their way from time to time while Howard Leese provides a tasty guitar solo. The Beatles’ “Ticket To Ride” and “I Feel Fine” are seamlessly tacked on to the end of “Rock And Roll Fantasy” in an interesting arrangement. “Movin’ On” closes the main set on a high note.
“Bad Company” is the first of four encores followed by “Be My Friend” from Rodgers and Kirk’s days with Free. Simon Kirk is quoted as saying this was an emotional moment bringing back memories of the late Paul Kossoff. “Stormy Monday” brings out the best in Paul Rodgers soulful blues style and brings an unexpected twist to the end of a successful show and tour.
Mick Ralphs is due to rejoin the band next year so we can expect more to come. What is really nice is to hear that some of these classic bands can still sound this great while Paul Rodgers sounds better than ever. Mr. Midnight comes from the Japanese no label that has been producing some great silver titles for some time. This is another very good sounding release, this time featuring the latest incarnation of Bad Company.