Bad Company-In Concert: Merchants of Cool (2002)

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Released 13-Aug-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Menu Animation & Audio
Notes-Track By Track Comments
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Featurette-Famous Friends
Web Links
DVD Credits
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 87:55 (Case: 140)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (23:45) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Michael Drumm

Warner Vision
Starring Paul Rodgers
Simon Kirke
David Colwell
Jaz Lochrie
Case Click
RPI $34.95 Music Paul Rodgers
Mick Ralphs
Neal Schon

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (1536Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Fresh from the split-up of Free, singer-songwriter Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke teamed up with Mott the Hoople guitarist Mick Ralphs and ex-King Crimson bassist Boz Burrell to form Bad Company in 1973. Named after the 1972  Robert Benton film of the same name, Bad Company were managed by Peter Grant (ex-Led Zeppelin) and went on to record six successful albums over the same number of years. Their first album, the self-titled Bad Company, was a huge success earning five platinum discs.

    Paul Rodgers left the band in 1982 to pursue a successful solo career with backing musicians including current bassist Jaz Lochrie and guest guitarist Neal Schon. Bad Company were resurrected in 1986 by Mick Ralphs and Simon Kirke, recruiting guitar stalwart Dave "Bucket" Colwell and Brian Howe on vocals. Although the band did reasonably well and released six albums till 1996, the lack of the on-stage charisma and distinctive vocals of Paul Rodgers led to clamours for the original band to re-unite, which they eventually did, in 1999. Since that time they have toured to capacity crowds, released the Original Bad Company Anthology and Paul Rodgers contributed to the "Volunteers for America" concert in aid of victims of September 11th.

    The appeal of Bad Company's music lies in the precise, controlled, power performance of  blues-rock songs, mostly penned by Paul Rodgers, but with a substantial contribution by Mick Ralphs. The strong 'cowboy' links of many of  the songs, together with simple, yet powerful and moving emotional undertones, are well received in the USA where they have always had a substantial following.

    The Bad Company-Merchants of Cool DVD was compiled from two concerts recorded at The Grove, Anaheim on 30th January 2002 and The Paramount Theatre, Denver on 22nd January 2002 and flits frequently between each recording, even within the same song. The line-up for this concert features Paul Rodgers (vocals, guitar, piano), Simon Kirke (drums), Dave Colwell (guitar) and Jaz Lochrie (bass) - Mick Ralphs and Boz Burrell retired from touring in 2000. The performance is very competent and the genial Paul Rodgers has never sounded better. It's always great to see a band who clearly enjoy performing live and Rodger's interplay with and control of the audience is masterful. I guess for someone who's intimately  familiar with the original recordings, the only real criticism is that the guitar sounds a little thin - although 'Bucket' gives the daunting task of playing lead and rhythm his best shot, there's no doubt that the sparkle and innovation of Mick Ralphs' lead is missed. I felt the performance really came to life when guest lead guitarists Slash and Neal Schon were featured on the old Free classic: Wishing Well. Nevertheless Rodger's acoustic rendition of Seagull is as moving as ever and Deal With The Preacher and Rock and Roll Fantasy fairly sizzle along. Featuring all the old classics, the 17 songs featured (and bonus track) certainly cover the favourites and seminal songs of Bad Company's nearly 30 year history and provide a good anthology and thoroughly enjoyable performance.

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Track Listing

1. Burnin' Sky
2. Can't Get Enough
3. Good Lovin' Gone Bad
4. Feel Like Makin' Lov
5. Rock Steady
6. Movin' On
7. Seagull
8. Ready For Love
9. Deal with the Preacher
10. Rock And Roll Fantasy
11. All Right Now
12. Wishing Well
13. Bad Company
14. Silver, Blue and Gold
15. Run with the Pack
16. Shooting Star
17. Joe Fabulous

Transfer Quality


    The performances were filmed in NTSC video and the DVD has been well assembled and edited with some video trickery (eg multiple windows in All Right Now).

    The transfer is of average quality and presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 but not 16x9 enhanced.

    This PAL transfer has the slightly soft feel of an NTSC to PAL conversion. Shadow detail is average and there are several instances of low level noise.

     The colours were a little on the dull side with the usual rock concert of blues/reds and, for a little variety, purple haze thrown in for good measure. Skin tones were well rendered. There was mild chroma noise evident in some of the red backdrops.

    Aliasing was unusually minimal for a rock concert with the frequent diagonals found on strings, mike stands and stage fronts. Edge enhancement was visible when the mainly dark-garbed performers were filmed against dark backdrops but wasn't intrusive. Macro-blocking was evident in the red background at 27:07.

   There were no subtitles.

   The disc is a DVD-9 (not DVD-5 as claimed on the slick) and RSDL-formatted with a quite noticeable layer change situated between Chapters 6 and 7 at 23:45.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio recording and transfer are excellent.

    There are three audio tracks on this DVD - Dolby Digital 5.1. Dolby Digital 2.0 and DTS 5.1 - I listened to all on my usual home theatre set up and a more basic stereo system. All three tracks are excellent and I was happy listening to any one of them. DTS tracks on more recent releases seem to have ceased the 3dB volume increase found on earlier recordings and so it's a little easier to compare the two rival 5.1 formats. On my system, the DTS encoding gave a slightly fuller, more spacious sound whereas the Dolby Digital version sounded a little harsher.

    I'd have to agree with much of the hype on this DVD, in that Paul Rodgers is one of the world's leading rock singers and his vocals are expressive and clear - I had no problem in discerning any of the song lyrics. There appeared to be no audio or dialogue sync problems.

    The surround channels were appropriately and sympathetically used, in a low key manner, to enhance the reverberation and ambience of the performance and were neither distracting nor used for gimmicky effects.

    The subwoofer plugged along for the whole performance delivering the bass guitar line - I couldn't hear any evidence of kick drum on the subwoofer - either it wasn't ported to the LFE channel or else Simon Kirke had a sore foot!

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menu is presented at 1.33:1, featuring a watermark type backdrop video of the band and accompanied by an audio loop of the piano intro to Bad Company.


    4 pages of biography notes.

Track-By-Track Commentary

    9 pages of notes on the songs' origin and history.


    Album covers and release dates of the 'Original Bad Company' releases.

Photo Gallery

    24 pages of stills of the band presented in 1.33:1


   20 minutes of interesting comment from Simon Kirke and Paul Rodgers on the early days and where the band is now and less stimulating hype from each band member explaining how fabulous the others are.

Famous Friends

    8 minutes of more hype from industry pals on the rise of Free and subsequent evolution into Bad Company.

Web Links

    URLs for Bad Company's, Paul Rodgers' and Sanctuary Records' web-sites.

Hidden Bonus Track

    (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) Rehearsal and performance of the Neal Schon song 'Saving Grace' - accessed by hitting the left cursor off the Web Links option.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There is little information on the R1 release. The one review I could find claimed that this was 16x9 enhanced (which I would find hard to imagine) but otherwise the content appeared identical - if this is indeed the case then we've been short-changed (as have the R2 buyers).


    Welcome release of material from one of the great rock-blues bands of the 70s presented as an enjoyable compilation from 2 live performances recorded in January 2002.

    The video quality is a little ordinary, but quite watchable.

    The audio quality is superb, and all three audio tracks are worth a listen.

   The extras, although a little self-serving are of interest and well presented.

Ratings (out of 5)


© John Lancaster (read my bio)
Thursday, October 17, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDEAD 8000 Pro, using RGB output
DisplayNEC MP3. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationTheta Digital Intrepid
SpeakersML Aeon front. B&W LRC6 Centre. ML Script rear. REL Strata III SW.

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Comments (Add)
bassist and guitarist give "ok" performance -