|Paul Rodgers (pic: Elly Roberts)|
British blues-rock icon Paul Rodgers is still going strong. At the Lowry’s Lyric Theatre, he rolled back the years with his sensational all-American band – Howard Leese (ex-Heart) and Kurtis Dengler (Electric Shades of Blue) on guitars, drummer Ryan Hoyle (Collective Soul) and bassist Lynn Sorenson.
Arguably one of the greatest voices of all time, he’s proving he can still cut the mustard at the age of 56. The setlist, drawn mostly from his Free days with a smattering of Bad Company and solo releases, went all out to impress.
As the white spotlight draped him, he opened with soulful funky bass-led I’ll Be Creepin’ with greetings engulfing the venue. Parading the stage to engage his fans, he was out to have a good night, spinning and lofting his mic stand.
|Lynn Sorenson (pic: Elly Roberts)|
Free’s All Right Now follow-up flop, The Stealer cranked up the pace with the band showing their collective credentials. Two gems followed – Pony and one of Free’s most treasured songs, the haunting Be My Friend – and when Feel Like Making Love arrived, three dancers popped up at the stage front, which clearly delighted Rodgers. Yet it was the opening of Wishing Well that finally brought the long overdue party atmosphere, raising the roof.
Then Rodgers asked, “Are you reaaaaaaady ?” “Yes we’re reaaaaady,“ we cried to the drumstick countdown of All Right Now. Chords blasting out, the story of the boy-meets-girl pickup sent the crowd wild. Leese’s solo, a match for Kossoff’s any day, was the defining highlight of the show. Rodgers even managed to let us sing the chorus a few times on our own, to everyone’s delight.
A change of T-shirt for the finale, more thrills followed. Hendrix’s Little Wing was superb as was sexy rocker I’m A Mover. Going out in style, a thumping The Hunter boomed out, taking the set to another level, again with Dengler and Leese showboating, whilst Rodgers’ mic stand was lofted and thrown several times, marking a triumphant return to Manchester.