Archive for the ‘Francis Rossi’ Category

Francis Rossi Whitley Bay Playhouse 19 May 2023

rossi tix 23This tour was entitled “Tunes and Chat” as opposed to the previous Francis Rossi tour which was called something like “I Talk Too Much”. So, this time round Francis was accompanied by another guitarist, his guitar technician I believe, and the emphasis was more on the songs, and less chatting. Francis is a cheeky chappie, that we all know and love, and tonight was no exception. Plenty of quips, jokes (some of the ruder variety) and general chitchat about his past.

rossi flyerArrived in time to have a nice double whiskey. No merchandise this time around. Accompanied by carer Elaine and old mate Norm.So Francis started at the beginning with some tales of his Italian origins and Italian songs such as “Papa Pickalino” (or something like that) and how they introduced him to music, songs and the guitar shuffle which would be the backdrop to many of the Status Quo tracks. He talked about how psychedelia and pop led him to write “Pictures of Matchstick Men” and then moved on to explain how Status Quo became more rocky and the shuffle became songs like “Spinning Wheel Blues” and “In My Chair”. Then we got the great “Gerdundula”, “Down the Dustpipe” and others. “Burning Bridges” (“some people like it, some people hate it” said Francis) closed the first set. Time for ice cream (Ben & Jerry’s; lovely)

Francis-rossi-2007-07-18During the interval the merchandise stall was selling the latest Francis large format coffee table signed book, which I already have courtesy of his website. Before I forget to mention it, the second guitarist was excellent and played quite a lot of lead guitar; both men on similar looking electric guitars. The second set comprised more tunes and some questions from the audience. One in particular sticks in my mind. Francis’ sidekick read the questions from cards collected from a pile placed on the stage by audience members. “What makes you so successful and to have continued success over so many years?” After a little thought Francis replied “Well I am basically insecure. I always wanted to be famous and to feel loved. And I still do feel that way. So to fulfil my dreams and overcome my insecurities I have to keep coming out and performing to audiences like yourselves”.

Francis_Rossi,_Bula_Quo,_London,_2013_(straighten)Another question. “Which do you prefer? Large arenas or small theatres?” Again, after a pause, “I suppose I like the intimacy of smaller venues where I can actually see the audience and sing and talk directly to them”. Then we are into the final stretch and Status Quo favourites “Margarita Time”, “Rockin’ All over the World” and finally “Caroline”. All good fun. Elaine, Norm and I all enjoyed it. But hey Francis time to get the Quo back on the road.
Photography was not allowed so the images are stock photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

640px-Status_Quo_-_2019156201319_2019-06-05_Zeltfestival_Rhein-Neckar_-_Sven_-_1D_X_MK_II_-_0370_-_AK8I5331Setlist: Set 1: Pictures of Matchstick Men; (April) Spring, Summer and Wednesdays; Spinning Wheel Blues; In My Chair;  Gerdundula; Rock ‘n’ Roll; Claudie; Break the Rules; Down the Dustpipe; Burning Bridges

Set 2: What You’re Proposing; And It’s Better Now; Nanana; Tongue Tied; Marguerita Time; Rockin’ All Over the World; Caroline

Francis Rossi I Talk Too Much Newcastle Tyne Theatre 2 August 2021

FRANCIS TIXWell it finally came. My first concert for almost 2 years. I was excited and, I must admit, a little nervous. My first outing was to see my old friend/hero Francis Rossi of Status Quo at Newcastle Tyne Theatre on a spoken word tour, promoting his autobiography I Talk Too Much. So off I went, with my friendly taxi driver and my carer Lisa, armed with my copy of the book (which I hoped to have signed by Francis) to the lovely old Tyne Theatre in Westgate Road, Newcastle.

FRANCIS 3“In this explosive new memoir, the famously indiscreet Rossi reveals the true-life stories behind his unbelievable career. Painfully honest at times, the book covers the glory years, the dark days, the ups and downs of his relationship with the late Rick Parfitt and the real stories behind the creation of some of the greatest rock music of all time” (I Talk Too Much — FRANCIS ROSSI)

We arrived just in time to take our seats for the prompt 7:30 PM start. The stage was set with two nice comfy chairs one soon-to-be taken by Francis and the other by his interviewer/compere Mick Wall, renowned Rock journalist and author. Mick opened the proceedings by warming us up with a vintage video, which we have all seen and love, of Status Quo, a young Francis and Rick, playing “Pictures of Mastic Men” on Top of the Pops. It took us all back to the start and was a great introduction to the star of the show, Francis Rossi who took to the stage with a bow, his usual cheeky grin and sat down opposite Mike. And so the evening, and the fun, began. We had a great view, three rows from the front to the left of the stage.

FRANCIS 1Those of you who have ever seen Status Quo live will know that Francis is, by nature, a cheeky, chatty chap. He started by going back to his early life, reminiscing about his Italian, ice cream shop and van, roots in London and how his father would sing to him in Italian and how he soon learned to play the trumpet and then the guitar. The story moved on to forming a band with old friend and ex-Status Quo bass player, Alan Lancaster, how they went on to play at Butlins and met a flashy young face called Rick Parfitt. Soon they were together as Status Quo and Francis told us of how he wrote “Pictures of Matchstick Men”, basing it roughly on Jimi Hendrix’s “Hey Joe”. Francis picked up a guitar, playing and singing to demonstrate how he wrote their first hit record.

There was a box at the front the stage where you could post written questions in the first half of the show. Mick Wall then collected the box during the interval and selected some questions to ask Francis. I didn’t ask a question but one thing I should have asked is “When and why did Mike become Francis?” As I recall, in the late 60s and early 70s, he was always known as Mike Rossi and then somewhere along the line during the 70s he became Francis Rossi. I always wondered why, and still do. Maybe one day I may get the chance to ask him. The first half of the evening finished with the story moving on to the emergence of Status Quo the triumphant rock and boogie band that we all know and love, illustrated by some great video footage of the band at the height of their fame playing “Down Down”, “Rocking All Over the World” and “Whatever You Want”.

FRANCIS 4During the interval I treated myself to a glass of red wine, sat back in my chair and waited for Francis to return. Soon the show resumed and we moved on to tales of how they opened Live Aid, which I was lucky enough to attend in Wembley Stadium, Francis explaining that nobody really wanted the opening slot but they realised how important the concert, the event would be and how being the opening act would be a great place to be on the bill. Then there were tales of the breakup of the band, the re-emergence with Francis and Rick leading a new version of Status Quo and being back in the charts with “In the Army Now”. All of this was delivered with Francis’ usual cheeky Cockney charm. Then he moved through the years talking quite emotionally about the sad passing of Rick and the latest Francis led version of Status Quo. I must admit I always had my doubts about Francis continuing after Rick’s passing but I guess it is in his blood and to him it obviously seemed the natural thing to do.


And so a new era of Status Quo has begun. We then moved on to Mick Wall asking a few selected questions to Francis. One question concerned two blondes in the back of a Rolls-Royce as Francis and Rick drove into Manchester Belle Vue in the 70s. Francis quickly swerved the question of who the blondes were, changing the topic to the fact that the Bay City Rollers had played the venue the evening before, resulting in all the seats being smashed up! Cleverly done Francis. Somewhere along the way we also got an amusing tale of how he tried, and failed, to evacuate Cardiff Capitol Theatre during a bomb scare, on the orders of the police. The evening closed with Francis singing “Caroline”. Lisa and I quickly nipped out the back hoping to be first in the queue to get my book signed, only to learn that the book signing was not going to happen, I guess, and quite understandably, due to Covid.

And then it was off back in our taxi, on our journey home, picking up Chris on the way to help put me back to bed. I was soon back in my bed at around 10:45 PM. Quite a civilised evening for my first venture out. Well I did it. More to come in the future. Thanks to Francis for a lovely, friendly evening and a gentle start to my return to concert going.