Damn Yankees, Bad Company rock Merriweather Post with greatest hits


Thursday night's double bill at Merriweather Post Pavilion was the next best thing to a 1970s rock 'n' roll revival.

All that was missing at the show featuring Damn Yankees and Bad Company were sign-up sheets for the "70s Preservation Society" at the exit door.

Despite its roots being drenched in music that's almost 15 years old -- with Ted Nugent and Tommy Shaw from Damn Yankees doing their big hits and Bad Company rolling through an unabashed and unabridged greatest hits package -- it was hardly an "oldies" show.

The bands made it immediately evident that power guitar is alive and well in the 1990s.

For the Yankees, who opened the show, their recent success with such hits as "Coming of Age," "Come Again" and "High Enough" has brought out a youthful exuberance on stage -- they even look younger.

Nugent cavorted all over the stage, screaming and greeting the mike about twice a minute to howl some semi-intelligible post-rock rap at the crowd. As usual, last night's banter was mostly patriotic in vein. "The Nuge" even re-enacted his favorite performance from a show in Norfolk, Va., last spring for Navy troops returning from the Gulf.

At the conclusion of "You Can Still Rock in America," which bassist Jack Blades belted out even more impressively than during his days with Night Ranger, a huge cardboard photo of Saddam Hussein rose above the stage. Nugent, who owns and operates a bow-hunting store in Jackson, Mich., got a bow and arrow from a roadie and shot Hussein's likeness through the heart not once, but twice.

After 90 minutes of high-energy licks from the Yankees, Bad Company had its hands full trying to top its supporting act.

Amazingly, with the fabulous vocals of Brian Howe, the British rockers managed to at least hold their own.

It has been widely rumored all summer that Howe and the other members of the band, which he helped to revive three years ago, have been bickering over money. He was rumored to have left the band and ex-Kansas singer Steve Walsh was to take over for the tour.

No offense to Walsh, who has his own place in '70s music history, but it was a good thing Howe posted for this tour because he almost single-handedly made the show work for Bad Company.

If there is still dissension within the band, it wasn't obvious at last night's show, but during their 90-minute set Howe didn't once interact with guitarist Mick Ralphs or drummer Simon Kirke, the two remaining original members.

The highlights of the Bad Company set were the rock ballads "Feel Like Makin' Love," which was given a strange but effective salsa ending, and "If You Needed Somebody."

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