HardReviews 2
by Martin Popoff

RAINBOW - Live In Germany

Live In Germany previously existed as a Spitfire double from '01, with the original set hailing from '76. History lesson: the official Rainbow live album On Stage is mostly Japan with a touch of Germany, and this is all Germany, but otherwise the same set, material difference being the addition of ersatz party rocker Do You Close Your Eyes. Only difference I can see from the original Spitfire release is the fix of all the typos in the short liner essay. In any event, what you get is a frantic, dramatic, midrangey live set featuring Rainbow at their alchemical peak, compressed, claustrophobic with lots to prove and proving it with every drum punctuation, vocal adlib and fiery lick. Highlights would have to be world-unto-itself Stargazer, a biting version of Sixteenth Century Greensleeves, and Kill The King in all its proto-thrash glory. But man, Live In Germany is more about performance, the reason we might/should care about live albums, in particular, Cozy Powell driving Ritchie and Ronnie crazy, to new levels, picking a fight. Ha ha, final note: this is a double CD with eight songs on it, jammy, stretchy math I never friggin' liked, but it's up to you.
Rating 7

BAD COMPANY - Live At Wembley

Why did people like Bad Company so much anyway? Well, it had to be with the immediacy of simple songs without ego, along with Rodgers' sixth sense blues acumen applied to every word he sang (and the extra trailing bits once the word was done), and then, into abstracts, a certain earthy slothfulness, i.e. they seemed to slow down life with willful stupidity, just like booze. That last and flabby Bad Co isn't here, which is OK, because it's replaced with a Stonesy bounce, accomplished by what Mick Ralphs has become after so many years in the shadows, and by the bright, correct stadium rock production of this thing, lotsa high hat sizzle and snappy snare keeping us standing and shaking it about in the shed. And heck, even Rodgers is less the bluesman, more the crowd-teaser he had to become with that absurd half Queen experiment, singing these songs confident that they are part of the fabric of western culture like Skynyrd. Simon? Well, maybe he's learned to keep it light by backing the semi-hair metal-y version of Bad Co. all those years. In any event, this is an effortlessly enjoyable, invitingly commercial celebration of the band's catalogue, and a lot of it, at 15 tracks. Like I say, something about the way Mick plays makes this never all that hard rocking, which it could have been. But you kinda don't care that the melancholy has been leached out of it, 'cos who wants to be sad anyway?
Rating 7.5

Hard Reviews Page 3