Bad Company and Free frontman Paul Rodgers didn't need a lot of pomp and circumstance to announce his arrival on stage Saturday (10/8) in Mesa, AZ.
With a big grin, he simply strolled out on stage, yelled "1,2, 1, 2, 3, 4," spun the mic stand in the air and rolled directly into Bad Company's "Can't Get Enough," much to the joy of the audience at a benefit at Chester's Harley Davidson.
The fundraiser benefited Choirboys United for Fallen Officers' Families (CUFFS), which was founded eight years ago to help families of officers killed in the line of duty. The crowd was more than dutiful to the legendary rock singer, following his every lead to invite them to sing with him.
Rodgers looked like he was having fun, smiling and laughing his way through the show, which featured mostly Bad Company material. Twice, midway through songs, he pleasantly signed autographs for fans. He joyfully played a black grand piano during tunes such as "Run with the Pack" and "Bad Company," a little song that he said he named a band after.
Rodgers, wearing black pants, a white shirt, vest and unknotted tie, emphatically sang "Ready for Love," pushing his index finger forward. He introduced "Mr. Big" and "Fire and Water" as songs he wrote "with a band called Free," minimizing yet another classic act he fronted.
Late in the set, Rodgers paid tribute to fallen musician Jimi Hendrix with a medley of "Little Wing" and "Angel," with a little riff of "The Wind Cries Mary" thrown in.
There were no egos on the impressive stage, which was built into the side of the massive facility. Rodgers stepped aside to let his guitarists -- Howard Leese and Markus Wolfe -- take the spotlight.
The sound was stellar and Rodgers' voice was in perfect form. He even complimented the crowd, which, at times, was privy to the roar of motorcycles and a helicopter circling overhead.
This was the end of Rodgers' current tour, but he closed the first set with a genuine thank you to the crowd.
"Thanks for being a part of my rock 'n' roll fantasy tonight," he said.
Can't Get Enough
Run with the Pack
Ready for Love
Fire and Water
Feel Like Makin' Love
Little Wing/Angel (Jimi Hendrix tribute)
Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy
Walk in My Shadow
All Right Now