Paul Rodgers, March 15, 2012, Kelowna Community Theatre
If my present-day self could have told my 16-year-old self that one day I'd be in a small theatre in the Okanagan, several decades later, watching Paul Rodgers perform, my 16-year old self would have scoffed and made a remark about us both being dead by then.
Well I'm not dead yet, and neither is Paul Rodgers, in fact he is very much alive and still knows how to bring a crowd to its feet and rock 'n' roll the night away. March 15 marked the first time Paul Rodgers performed in Canada as a Canadian citizen. The announcement brought cheers from the audience, the first of many for the evening. It was also the first concert of his 2012 tour. The evening was comprised of classic Paul Rodgers standards as well as a couple of new tunes including With Our Love, written with Perry Margouleff.
The 850+ crowd spent very little time in their seats and many were dancing up in front of the stage and in the aisles. Rodgers and his band comprised of Howard Leese (guitar, mandolin), Markus Wolfe (second guitar), Todd Ronning (bass) and Rick Fedyk (drums), brought the entire crowd to their feet with Feel Like Makin' Love.
Like a maestro conducting an orchestra, waving the mike stand at the crowd, Rodgers got his fans up on their feet and had them singing along with him. Then he would quietly and effectively let them drift back into their seats only to smile and bring out another classic. I swear the crowd (me included) sang the chorus to Shooting Star a dozen times, each time a little louder and a little more off key, before Rodgers finally let them rest their voices. The rest didn't last for long as the band broke into a flawless rendition of Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy.
As with most great concerts, it was over far too soon for the fans. Determined not to let Rodgers and the band start their tour without an encore, the fans dutifully performed chants and banged on whatever they could find to bring the band back on stage.
The last song of the evening was of course All Right Now, the rock anthem that started off the '70s. Even those who had stubbornly remained seated during the show were up clapping, singing and swaying to the music.
And then it was over – another legend here and then gone. For me, it was the best trip down memory lane I've had in a long time. Rodgers voice is as strong and clear as it was back when I was 16 and cranking up the volume on my stereo to 11. Sure the average age of the crowd was 45+ and yes there were more grey hairs than cleavage at this concert, but when your dealing with timeless classics of the likes performed by Rodgers and his band, cleavage doesn't count.