Status Quo 1974 QUO and on tour again

Status Quo 1974 QUO and on tour again
quoprog74aQuo-woh-oh-oh-oh….Some time in the mid-70s the Quo rituals started. A few drinks in the City Tavern and then in the City Hall bar, catch some of the support act (always guaranteed to be good, so had to watch them), and then up to our seats, the lights would go down and then our chant would start…”Quo-woh-oh-oh-oh….” The Quo intro drone would play and then they would run on stage, Alan at the front for the first song, which we knew would be “Juniors Wailing”.
“Love me baby, love me when I’m down; I said love me baby, love me when I’m down; Yeah you gotta love me baby; ‘cos there’s no use hanging around” (Junior’s Wailing, cover of a Steamhammer song).
Yes it was the same every time, but that was part of the fun, the ritual. The guys (I was going to call them our heroes, which they were, but that just doesn’t feel right, they were more like our mates) were up on that stage and everything felt good. For a few hours we were removed from our day to day lives, and subjected to loud music, frantic rocking with a sell-out crowd, all of whom understood and felt it in exactly the same way as we did. Oh and we had to wear denim. Levi jacket and jeans and t-shirt (ok maybe Wrangler was also allowed).
quotix74aThe other ritual was “the jig”. Not sure when it started, or exactly which song it featured in (I think it may have been included during “Roadhouse Blues” which was always extended and epic) but it became a regular feature of Quo shows in the ’70s, and we came to look forward to, and enjoy it. It’s going to sound naff now, and pretty uncool, but it was basically an Irish type jig played on guitar, led by Francis, and we all had to jump up and down to it. Picture a completely full, hot, sweaty, City Hall, towards the end of the gig, everyone in denim, hair flying around, jumping up and down in our seats with the three Quo front men on stage jumping up and down in front of us. Pure magic (ok it doesn’t sound cool, but you had to be there).
quotix74bI saw Status Quo twice in 1974, the 9th and 10th times I saw the band. The first time was at Newcastle City Hall on 20th May 1974. The band were so popular that this time they sold out two nights at the City Hall, I went on the second night. I saw them again later that year when they came back to the North East and played at Sunderland Empire on 1st December 1974. I remember going to the Sunderland gig with a load of mates. Looking at the ticket for that gig we were right up in the cheap seats that night (40p! bargain). Note the Empire tickets never named the band in those days.
Support act for the City Hall show was Montrose and at the Empire it was SNAFU. There was a big buzz around Montrose at the time. Montrose were fronted by the late great guitarist Ronnie Montrose and (later of Van Halen) Sammy Hagar on vocals. They had just released their debut album, and the awesome tracks “Bad Motor Scooter” and “Space Station #5” were big dance floor favourites at rock nights in the local Mayfair (Newcastle) and Mecca (Sunerland) ballrooms. It was one of the few times that the City Hall was completely full for the support act.
quoprog74bI’d seen Montrose just two days before, when they appeared on the bill at the Who’s Charlton concert. Montrose were great, very loud, rocking and full of energy. One of the few acts who almost (in my view) managed to upstage the mighty Quo. Hagar was a crazy front man, and Montrose an ace guitarist. From the QUO tour programme: “Montrose have compiled an energy-laden set consisting mostly of original compositions with the bonus of an amazing live version of the Roy Brown classic “Good Rockin’ Tonight”, that’ll keep your feet a dancin’ and your fingers poppin’.” Well I don’t remember my fingers poppin’ 🙂 but I do remember some “Good Rockin'”.
Typical Quo Setlist from this year: Junior’s Wailing, Backwater/Just take me, Claudie, Railroad, Roll over lay down, Big Fat Mama, Don’t waste my Time, Roadhouse Blues, Caroline, Down Down, Bye Bye Johnny.
Status Quo released their seventh studio LP “QUO” 1974. The album included the single “Break the Rules” which reached No 8 in the UK single charts. QUO reached No 2 in the album charts. It is pure classic Quo and one of their heaviest, due to the influence of bass player Alan Lancaster, who wrote six of the eight tracks. “Backwater” and “Just Take Me” were soon to become live favourites; “Backwater” in particular, is one of Status Quo’s best rockers. Quo hit No 1 in November 1974, with “Down Down” another classic, and yet another live favourite. There were truly on a roll.

7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mitch on May 17, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    I was at the first night show at Newcastle City Hall on Sunday 19th May 1974. Quo were great as usual.

    Quo set list at this concert was:
    Juniors Wailing, Someones Learning, Claudie, Backwater/Just Take Me, Roll Over Lay Down, Big Fat Mama, Don’t Waste My Time, Roadhouse Blues.
    Encores: Railroad, Caroline.

    But I thought Montrose were outstanding as the support band.

    They only played a thirty minute spot but Ronnie Montrose’s blistering guitar helped create an energy seldom witnessed before. The sound was loud but crystal clear and I remember they went down a storm with the City Hall audience and even returned for an encore – which not many support bands did in those days!

    Montrose set list at this concert was:
    Good Rockin’ Tonight, Bad Motor Scooter, Make It Last, Rock The Nation, Space Station #5.
    Encore: Roll Over Beethoven.

    Their well produced debut album is an absolute beauty which I often play – it never strays from high energy rock from the start to the finish – no ballads or fillers on there.


  2. Posted by Mike Hopkinson on May 19, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Thanks for another fantastic blog for the Quo ’74 tour. I would love to have seen both Quo around this time and the brilliant Montrose. I only got to see Quo for the first time in ’76, and then Sammy Hagar as a solo artist, plus Ronnie Montrose in Gamma in about 1981. My School pal Jonny saw this tour and I’ve been jealous ever since…look forward to more Quo blogs soon….


  3. Great memories, I was at both the City Hall and Sunderland Empire gigs. Great write-up, I remember these two nights so well. Both Status Quo and the support bands were at the top of their game. Totally agree with Mitch about Montrose, they were absolutely superb and I still play the first album regularly. This was the first time that I had heard and seen anyone use a theremin, and Ronnie Montrose kicked ass with it during Space Station #9. Both gigs were extremely loud and I distinctly recall flakes of paint floating down from the ceiling at Sunderland Empire during the Quo set.


  4. Posted by Nev Larkin on January 4, 2018 at 9:29 am

    Hi, I was at both gigs too. Fortunate enough to bump into Snafu before the Sunderland gig. My friend & I asked if we could give a hand with the gear they were carrying in. This got us access to Quo doing their sound check & a bit crack with them after (Big Fat Mama). They did not have the drone thing going on at this time though. Also, although I thought that Montrose played a blinder (Ncle), I thought that the crowd response could have been better. I had a front row seat but when I looked behind a few times, to see how the crowd was responding & there was not a great deal of enthusiasm ( I even took a pic as I did not think it was right when the band were working so hard. Anyway, thanks for the post.


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