Saturday evening in Dayton began as a beautiful, breezy summer night in Ohio’s Gem City. In the nearby suburban town of Kettering lies an absolute jewel of a music venue. Fraze Pavilion is an absolute must see amphitheater for Ohio concert goers. Before tragedy would strike the city hours later, the venue hosted an epic rock pairing of seventies hard rock bands; Foghat and Bad Company.
Late into the night, Dayton would experience the worst of humanity on a large scale. Earlier, though, it saw some of its best. Few things bond people from different backgrounds better than music. The 4,300 seat venue appeared to be full, even before opening act Foghat took the stage. Folks from all walks of life were there as fans of the music. There were hippies in tie-dyed Roger Waters and Grateful Dead attire. There were others clad in MAGA hats, Ted Nugent shirts, and Lynyrd Skynyrd rebel flag gear. Bikers. Businessmen. Young and old. Black and white. All bonded over the greatest era of rock music ever known. Our society and politicians would do well to follow the lead of the graying legions of old school rock fans and their ability to bond with complete strangers over a common interest. While our differences may be sharp, there’s far more that should unite us.
As previously mentioned, the boys from Foghat took the stage first, and the supporting act they did their jobs. They whipped the crowd into a frenzy, particularly during the three songs that closed the set and of course with several well placed “O-H?” calls throughout their performance. As they often do, they kicked things off with 1976’s “Drivin’ Wheel” and “Stone Blue” from two years later. Keeping the foot stomping, head banging set going, they followed with “Chateau Lafitte ’59” before slowing things down on “Third Time Lucky“.
Out front on lead vocals and guitar was the always energetic Charlie Huhn and he was on point. Taking lead guitar responsibilities is Bryan Bassett. Between the two of them, the Foghat guitar sound is as good as ever. And in this band you just know that the rhythm is right… Bass player Rodney O’Quinn has taken over for the large shoes left behind by Craig Macgregor’s passing. He held it down with original Foghat drummer Roger Earl, and while the band sounded tight, their set was highlighted by one of those good pieces of humanity that I mentioned before.
During the Foghat set there was a young man enjoying the show from the side of the stage. I’m not sure what his ailment was, but the kid was in a wheelchair. Needless to say, he was absolutely enjoying the show. His night was likely made even better when Roger Earl walked over to him and handed him a pair of his drum sticks. The kid air-drummed the rest of the gig right along with the band!
Few bands can close a show with the classic rock firepower that the group did on Saturday night. “Fool For The City” and “I Just Want To Make Love To You” were first before making way for the 70’s anthem “Slow Ride“.
After a very short recess, literally barely enough time to grab a beer and check out the merch tent, the evening’s headliners took the stage. Bad Company boast one of the greatest back catalogs of classic rock radio hits in the game and most of them made the cut. They kicked it off with “Can’t Get Enough“, which got the crowd on their feet from the onset. Front man Paul Rodgers didn’t really allow fans to sit back down as he wove his group through a set of songs that featured some relics as well as hits like “Feel Like Makin’ Love“; “Movin’ On“; and “Seagull“.
While the largest crowd reaction came during their crown jewels; “Shooting Star” and their self titled track, there were some surprises. Those included four cover songs and not surprisingly Free’s “All Right Now” and their take on Mott The Hoople’s “Ready For Love” made the cut. A little more unexpected were the inclusion of their cover of “Young Blood” by The Coasters and an absolutely ripping version of the Jimi Hendrix’ take on Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower“. When Bad Company were beckoned for their encore, they concluded the night with the classic “Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy“.