Archive for the ‘Status Quo’ 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

Status Quo Stockton Globe Theatre 3 March 2022

Status Quo. A band I have a long, enduring history and friendship with. A night of nostalgia and emotionSTATUS TIX on many fronts. I will recount these below.

The Venue. Stockton Globe is a legendary theatre. I remember hearing of it in the late 60s and the early 70s. Many, many great bands played there before it closed: The Globe is a Grade II listed Art Deco theatre, in Stockton-on-Tees, England. From the 1950s to the 1970s the Globe was a premier venue hosting many famous acts, such as Buddy Holly, the Rolling Stones, the Animals, Cilla Black, Lonnie Donegan, Cliff Richard and Chuck Berry. The Beatles twice played at the Globe, the first on the day U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. As late as the 1970s, bands such as Mud, Showaddywaddy and the Bay City Rollers played there. Whilst the theatre played host to these famous bands, it was also a cinema. One strange coincidence, the guy a few seats along mentioned to us: Status Quo were the final rock band to play there in December 1974, which is confirmed by Wikipedia. It is strange Francis didn’t mention this. Maybe he was not aware of the fact. The doors of the Globe closed only to re-open as a bingo venue for a few years until closing for good in 1997. However, it has recently undergone a £4 million renovation, maintaining its wonderful art decor features and reopening a few weeks ago. It holds around 3000 people. (Some of this courtesy of Wikipedia).

STATUS 3Status Quo. I must’ve seen Status Quo more than 50 or 60 times since the first time I was lucky enough to witness them close up in Sunderland Locarno in 1971. Since then I have seen them again in the Locarno, Sunderland Top Rank Suite, Sunderland Empire, graduating to Newcastle City Hall where I saw them many, many times on their annual tours, several festivals including Lincoln 1972, Reading many times (including at least one headline appearance), headlining Donington Monsters of Rock, opening Live Aid at Wembley Stadium, splitting up and reforming, and then seeing them at Whitley Bay ice Rink, the Sage Gateshead, back to the City Hall many times, open-air summer shows, Harrogate centre, the return of the frantic four at Manchester Apollo, Newcastle Arena, Birmingham NEC and so many other places over 50+ years. I love this band and their music and they never let me down. Some people view them as a “joke”. But they are a great rock ‘n’ roll band; the best UK boogie band there is.

Francis Rossi. This guy is one of my heroes. His banter with the crowd is well-known; the cheeky Cockney chappie comes through and he always has a bit crack on and joke with the audience, talking to us as if we are old friends (which of course, many of us are). Tonight is no different. He talks about being off the stage for the longest time ever because of that “dodgy cold” (his words, not mine). A few years ago, when STATUS 2Rick Parfitt sadly passed, I felt strongly that Francis should not continue without his old mate. Rick was simply the best rhythm guitarist and one man boogie machine that has ever lived. In many ways I felt the soul of the band was gone; after all it was always about those two friends together. However, I now believe he was right to continue. Francis has assembled a lineup with old and new members, which does continue the rocking soul of the band and plays tribute to Rick and his legacy. It is strange to see new people sing old favourites such as “Rain “, but somehow it works. So more power to your elbow Francis; please do keep this band going for as long as you can. The loud, rocking boogie machine which is Status Quo continues.

STATUS PROG 22Andy Bown. Andy joined Status Quo in the early 1970s and became a full member during the 1980s. He has been playing keyboards and sometimes guitar for the band for almost 50 years. As such, he is the longest serving member after Francis.It was great to see him coming up front alongside Francis and the others. He was up front more this time than usual, I think, which is a good thing; it felt right seeing him up and more in the spotlight. Andy was, of course, a member of the classic 60s band The Herd, alongside Peter Frampton; who produced a wonderful trio of singles; the quite strange, psychedelic, proto-Gothic “Paradise Lost” and “From the Underworld”, along with the much more pop oriented “I Don’t Want Our Loving to Die”. Now wouldn’t it be great if Andy sang one of those songs with Status Quo? What do you think Francis?

The Performance. It was as good as ever. The set list was predictable, but so what! Yes, they started with the usual “Drone” intro, followed by “Caroline” and finished with “Rockin’ All over the World”. In between they played the usual mix of old and new, four from the latest album, some very old tracks such as “Softer Ride”, a medley of greatest hits, “In the Army Now”, “Down Down”, and others. The place was packed, which I found quite surprising to be honest; the fan base continues to be strong, all decked in denim and STATUS 1Quo patches. And they were loud, very LOUD: great! Sadly, but understandably, everyone stood up. We were right down the front but I couldn’t see much from my wheelchair with everyone standing around me. But such is life. The encore was “Paper Plane”. Status Quo were simply first-class, as good as ever; everyone strolled out of the theatre into the cold, dark night; happy and satisfied. Another great night with an old friend and a great band. Happy days.

Oh, and a special mention for the excellent support act Laurence Jones, who performed a fine set of blues rock, finishing with an excellent version of Hendrix’s “Purple Haze”.

Setlist: Caroline; Rain; Little Lady; Softer Ride; Beginning of the End; Hold You Back; Backing Off; Get Out of My Head; What You’re Proposing / Down the Dustpipe / Wild Side of Life / Railroad / Again and Again; Mystery Song; The Oriental; Cut Me Some Slack; Liberty Lane; In the Army Now; Roll Over Lay Down; Down Down; Whatever You Want; Rockin’ All Over the World

Encore: Paper Plane

Many thanks to Jackie the photographer and Chris for turning out late to help get me into my bed for the evening, my ears still ringing and memories of Quo swirling through my head.

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.

Status Quo Newcastle City Hall 6th December 2017

Francis has done some naughty things lately, in my view. Firstly, I miss Rick. In fact I miss Rick to the extent that I thought Status Quo shouldn’t continue when he passed away. I am a long-term Status Quo fan since I first saw them in 1971 and I must have seen them at least 30 times since then, maybe even 40 or 50; I have lost count. I thought I couldn’t bring myself to go and see Status Quo without Rick, but there I was in the City Hall quo tixwaiting to see what the new band was like. And secondly, Francis told us that the Last of the Electrics tour, would be just that; the last electric rock Status Quo tour. In fact, if you look at the ticket, you will see that the show was originally announced as an acoustic tour, Aquostic. Somewhere along the line, Francis decided to go back to the rock show. Now I was partly looking forward to the acoustic concert, but I was also secretly pleased that this was going to be a rock tour. Anyway, as I said, there I was, a little against my better judgement, sitting in my chair at the end of the row waiting for my first dose of the new Status Quo, with my carer Jackie.

The band are heralded onto stage with the usual drone, which leads into those opening chords of “Caroline” which always hit me emotionally and new guitarist, Richie Malone, does justice to Rick’s power chords. The set is a mixture of old favourites such as “Little Lady” and “Softer Ride”, and new (and now becoming classics in their own) “Creepin’ up on You” and (the mildly racist) “The Oriental.” The usual Status Quo medley of hits quo progcontains some other old favourites “Down the Dust Pipe” and “Railroad” and is swiftly followed by the loud, driving chords of “Down Down” and I know we are on the home strait now. They end with, as they always do now, “Rockin’ All over the World.” The encore starts with the classic “Don’t Waste My Time “from the equally classic album Piledriver, followed by (the little too middle-of-the-road/poppy for me) “Burning Bridges” and they finally end with, as always, “Bye Bye Johnny.” Well you know what, that was actually pretty good, and I forgive you Francis for all your recent naughty deeds (as referred to above). So Status Quo are back, and you know, they are actually pretty good. I even bought tickets to see them again at the Sage Gateshead later this year (if we ever get out of this crazy lockdown safely) and I am really looking forward to it. And…… I even rejoined the fan club. So, in the lyrics of “Beginning of the End”, “Happy days are here again.” 🙂

Setlist: Caroline; Something ’bout You Baby I Like; Rain; Little Lady; Softer Ride; Beginning of the End;    Hold You Back; What You’re Proposing / Down the Dustpipe / Wild Side of Life / Railroad / Again and Again; Paper Plane; The Oriental; Creepin’ Up on You; Don’t Drive My Car; In the Army Now; Roll Over Lay Down; Down Down; Whatever You Want; Rockin’ All Over the World. Encore: Don’t Waste My Time; Burning Bridges; Rock and Roll Music / Bye Bye Johnny.

Judie Tzuke Newcastle City Hall 25th April 1980

tzuketixJudie Tzuke’s emerged in 1977, when she signed to Elton John’s Rocket Record label, and had her first major single success “Stay with Me till Dawn” in 1979. “Stay with Me till Dawn” was co-written with Mike Paxman (more of him later) and featured on Judie Tzuke’s debut album “Welcome to the Cruise”. It was a massive success and stayed in the UK charts for 16 weeks.In 2002, BBC Radio Two conducted a poll to determine the top fifty British songs of the past fifty years, and “Stay With Me Till Dawn” was at No. 39. In 1980 Judie Tzuke released her second album “Sportscar” which was a bigger success than her debut album. I saw Judie Tzuke at this time, when she toured the UK playing at Newcastle City Hall on 25th April 1980. It was great concert, by a superb artist.tzukeprogBut there are a few facts relating to this concert that I have to mention. The first is the Status Quo connection. The aforementioned Mike Paxman, who was Judie Tzuke’s co-writer for “Stay with Me till Dawn” and many other songs, as well as her guitarist, has more recently been a producer for Uriah Heep and Status Quo. Paxman had produced several Quo albums including Heavy Traffic (2002), The Party Ain’t Over Yet (2005), Quid Pro Quo (2011) and the recent Aquostic unplugged album. But that’s not the only Quo connection here. Judie Tzuke’s band also included John “Rhino” Edwards on bass, and Jeff Rich on drums. Rhino is of course Quo’s current bass player and Jeff Rich was drummer for the Quo from 1985 to 2000. If you look closely at the centrefold picture from the Judie Tzuke programme pictured here, you can see a young Rhino. He is the tall blonde guy in the leather jacket. Jeff Rich is the guy with the red curly hair, also wearing a leather jacket. tzukeprogcentreBut there is yet another interesting connection relating to this gig. The support act was an unknown new wave mod band called Graduate (see the flyer which I found in my programme). Graduate had just released their debut album “Acting My Age”, and a single “Elvis Should Play Ska” (which refers to Elvis Costello, rather than Presley). The single wasn’t a big success and Graduate soon split, but two of their members Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith went on to form Tears for Fears. If you strain your eyes you may be able to recognise Curt and Roland.
graduateflyerJudie Tzuke’s music is classic adult rock with great melody and romantic lyrics. David Sinclair reviewed a London gig in the Times: “the central image throughout was of the disarmingly beautiful Miss Tzuke, face framed by a tangle of teeming blond hair, singing with a fragile passion in the voice of a convent schoolgirl turned waif. Combining a glacial poise with her innate sensuality, she projected with controlled emotion through the preponderance of haunting slow songs… dignified and compelling performance.”
Judie Tzuke continues to record and perform today.
Judie Tzuke setlist: Chinatown; Sukarita; Welcome to the Cruise; Stay With Me Till Dawn; Living on the Coast; The Rise of Heart; Nightline; Rain on the Hills; Southern Smiles; Katiera Island; The Choices You’ve Made; Sports Car
Encore: For You; Ladies Night; New Friends Again; These Are the Laws

Rod Stewart, Status Quo & Joe Cocker Gateshead Stadium 2nd June 1991

Rod Stewart, Status Quo & Joe Cocker Gateshead Stadium 2nd June 1991
rodtix91This was an excellent line-up with three class acts, and played for two nights at Gateshead Stadium in 1991. How could I not go to this one, Rod, The Quo and Joe Cocker. I have always been a big fan of Joe Cocker, and was very much looking forward to the opportunity of seeing him in concert again. It had been almost 20 years since I had last seen him perform, on a cold windy night in a field somewhere near Lincoln. rod91tourbookIf my memory is correct this was also a wet day, but all three acts played great sets to a packed crowd. I took Ashleigh along to this concert, and although she wasn’t a fan of any of the acts and a teenager at the time and into punk and heavy metal, she also enjoyed it. Rod Stewart setlist: Tonight I’m Yours; Sweet Little Rock’n’Roller; This Old Heart Of Mine; The First Cut Is The Deepest; Downtown Train; Hot Legs; Tonight’s The Night; Passion; Go Out Dancing; Every Beat Of My Heart; Sweet Soul Music; Rhythm Of My Heart; Da’Ya’ Think I’m Sexy?; Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay; Time Is Tight (band only);Every Picture Tells A Story; Mandolin Wind; You’re In My Heart; Muddy Waters Blues; Baby Jane; Some Guys Have All The Luck; Reason To Believe; Maggie May; You Wear It Well; I Don’t Want To Talk About It; Sailing; Twistin’ The Night Away; It Takes Two; Stay With Me

Status Quo Dublin & Newcastle in 2006, Harrogate in 2007

quotixWell you will be pleased to know that I have finally come to the end of my ramblings on Status Quo. My writings over the past week sort of mirror my relationship with Quo. I started quite enthused about the band, recalling just how amazing a live act they were in the early 70s. Working through those early 70s festival gigs and the 70s tours brought back great memories of an age which is long gone. An age when denim and simple rock and boogie were fun, and it didn’t matter if it was cool or not. When Status Quo were a serious player, and quite simply on a good night, the greatest rock’n’roll band on the planet (OK I know, I will have said the same about Zeppelin, The Who, The Stones, Slade and one or two others…but when I was in the City Hall, and they were playing Backwater or 4500 times, I did believe that they were the best band in the land, just as I believed it about Zeppelin when they played Communication Breakdown or Dazed and Confused…oh well, you know what I mean 🙂 ). Then there was the break-up in 1984, the comeback in 1986, my loss of faith in the band during the 90s, and then a renewed energy in Quo, and my renewed interest, with the release of Heavy Trafficin the early 2000s. Well my renewed interest stayed for a few more years until perhaps 2009, or 2010. But I am afraid I have to report that the sets and the tour became too similar, and I started to lose faith again. I saw Quo at Dublin in The Point on 25th October 2006. quolostchordI was over for work and Quo were playing (result! 🙂 ). They were also doing a book signing at a large department store in O’Connell Street the day before the concert, so I went along, bought a book and got it signed and met Francis and Rick!! Then I was back to see them again at Newcastle City Hall on 2nd December 2006. The following year I saw them at Harrogate International Centre on 25th November 2007, as I couldn’t make the Newcastle gig (I think I was away in London that day). Great gigs, but as I say, a few years later I started to tire of it again a little. However the recent reunion tour renewed my faith again, and I missed last years Winter tour to have a rest for Quoing. However, I will go along and see them on the Winter 2014, and am looking forward to it, after writing these blog entries, and after not seeing them for almost 18 months (wow).
That takes me to my 33rd Quo experience. I’ve seen the band 6 times since these gigs, taking my total to 39 shows; I blogged on those gigs at the time. So that concludes my Quo blogging marathon 🙂 The next instalment will be in December when I go to see the guys play at Newcastle Arena on their Winter tour (which will be my 40th Quo gig….now can I get to 50?)

Status Quo: Rick’s return after his cancer scare Birmingham NEC 21st May 2006

Status Quo: Rick’s return after his cancer scare Birmingham NEC 21st May 2006
quonecThe publicity at the time was pretty scary: “singer/guitarist Rick Parfitt feared that the title of the band’s latest album, The Party Ain’t Over Yet, would prove sadly ironic when a cancer scare forced the cancellation of their traditional pre-Christmas UK tour….group faced the possibility of winding up the party and calling it a day when doctors discovered a growth on 57-year-old Rick’s larynx.” Rick himself said at the time: “For a week I didn’t know whether or not it was malignant – it was the worst week of my life,” The good news was that the growth was not cancer, but Rick was worried that he may not be able to sing again: “It’s been a long slog, going from just being able to whisper to singing on stage again….the first show was last month at a ski resort in the mountains of the Austrian Tyrol and when I opened my mouth to sing Something ‘Bout You Baby I Like nothing came out…All I could think was ‘is my career over? Will I ever sing again?'” When I got an invite through the post from the Quo fanclub to go and see Rick’s UK return concert with Quo at the NEC, Birmingham, I couldn’t resist going. quodoingit
More from Rick at the time: “Seriously, I must be the luckiest man on the planet. My voice is pretty much back to normal just in time for the NEC show. I’m now in a much better frame of mind. The concert was recorded and released as a live DVD. From the official Quo shop: “Kings of rock ‘n’ roll Status Quo released their explosive concert DVD ‘Just Doin’ It Live’….filmed at their sell out concert at Birmingham NEC, the DVD is the band’s first ‘live in concert’ release for an incredible fifteen years. The concert marked Rick Parfitt’s return to full Quo duty since his health scare last Christmas, 12,000 loyal fans ecstatically welcomed him back on stage with long-time partner Francis Rossi. ‘Just Doin’ It Live’ features the full rocking concert of over 2 hours and includes all of Quo’s most memorable hits…..”
The gig itself was a pretty emotional experience. The NEC is a old Quo stronghold, and the denim hordes turned out in their masses to welcome Rick back, and show him how glad we were that he was ok. I had a seat in one of the front blocks with a pretty good view. Quo played a blinder. I was still on a Quo high, and they could do no wrong for me at the time.
Setlist: Caroline, Somethin’bout you Baby I Like, don’t waste my Time, 4500 Times, Rain, All Stand Up, Solid Gold, The Oriental, Creepin’ up on you, Mystery Medley, Belavista Man, The Party Ain’t Over Yet, Gerdundula, Roll over lay Down, Down Down, Whatever You Want, Rockin’all over the World, Proposin’ Medley, Junior’s Wailing, Rock’n Roll Music/Bye Bye Johnny.
Quo gig No 30.

Status Quo Winter tour Newcastle City Hall 2003, 2004 & 2005

quotixThe next three Status Quo tours all called at Newcastle City Hall. These were: the Riffs Tour on 6th November 2003, the XS All Areas Tour 17th February 2005 (rescheduled from 19th December 2004 due to Francis being ill) and The Party Ain’t Over Yet Tour on 3rd November 2005. David came with me to the 2003 gig, still somewhat under sufferance. We had tickets in the front row, right in the middle. We ended up resting on the stage, looking straight up at Francis and Rick. The experience was incredible, watching the energy of the two guys; Rick in particular was on fire and a relentless rhythm machine. But the sound was awful; because of our position directly in front of the massive backline all we could hear was Rick’s guitar at screeching volume, and no vocals at all. I am not joking when I say that I sometimes didn’t know which song they were playing. My old gig mate John was over in the UK from the States with business and joined me at one of the 2005 gigs. Just like old times 🙂 !
The setlist changed little over this period and would usually be something like this: Caroline, Somethin’bout you Baby I Like, don’t waste my Time, 4500 Times, Rain, All Stand Up, Solid Gold, The Oriental, Creepin’ up on you, Mystery Medley, Belavista Man, The Party Ain’t Over Yet, Gerdundula, Roll over lay Down, Down Down, Whatever You Want, Rockin’all over the World, Proposin’ Medley, Junior’s Wailing, Rock’n Roll Music/Bye Bye Johnny.quoprogsIn fact, the samey nature of the setlist became (and remains) an issue for some fans, who longed to see some radical changes in the songs played. Me, I was still in my “back into Quo” mode, and they could do no wrong by me at the time. I just had to hear the first couple of bars of “Caroline” and I was away again, back in the Quo zone. On a good night there just isn’t a better band in the land.
Then the unthinkable happened.
On December 8th 2005 we all learnt that the remainder of the UK tour had been cancelled due to the discovery of a growth in Rick’s throat. The press release read: “Guitarist and Founder member Rick Parfitt has been suffering from a throat problem…….This morning he saw a Consultant surgeon at the Nuffield Hospital in Plymouth who has expressed concern with a growth in Rick’s larynx and has recommended that it requires urgent investigation. Consequently all 9 remaining shows on the current sell out UK tour have been cancelled.” The newspapers were full of it: “Rick has throat cancer”, the stories went. We all feared the worst, and thought this might be the end of the Mighty Quo. Of course the news was, thankfully, ultimately good, and Rick didn’t have cancer. The next time I saw Quo was at Rick’s UK comeback gig at Birmingham NEC in May 2006. I’ll write about that emotional gig tomorrow.

This takes me to 29 times

Status Quo Dalby Forest Yorkshire 22nd June 2003 Heavy Traffic

quodalbyWell I guess Quo had to find their way again and, in 2002, it happened with the release of “Heavy Traffic”. Heavy Traffic was the twenty-fifth studio album by Quo and made No 15 in the UK charts. The album was released following a reunion between Rossi and his writing partner Bob Young, who was the guy who would come onstage and play mouth harp during “Roadhouse Blues” and who also co-wrote, with Francis, many of the band’s great songs between 1968 and 1980. This is was also the first album to feature new drummer Matt Letley. The album was welcomed by fans and critics alike, and is generally recognised as a return to form and, at the time, Quo’s best album for 20 years or so. “Heavy Traffic” sees the guys returning to their rock and boogie roots, with some classic Quo heavy rockers that stand up alongside the tracks they turned our during their 70s classic rock period. Particularly strong tracks are opening song “Blues and Rhythm”, “All Stand Up (Never Say Never), “Creepin’ Up On You” and “Jam Side Down” which was released as a single. Several of the tracks made their way into the live set and have become favourites.qupheavytrafficprogDavid continued to come to see Quo, still somewhat under sufferance. This time it was to another National Trust open air gig, deep in the forest (Dalby Forest to be exact) in Yorkshire. Dalby Forest is located somewhere near Pickering and on the road I would take if driving to Flamingo Park (anyone reading this of a similar age to me, and from the North East is likely to remember Flamingo Park as a regular destination for school trips in the 60s). I bought “Heavy Traffic” and my faith in Status Quo was renewed, to the extent that from here on and for the next 10 years, I went to see them any tour, and sometimes more than once in a year. I saw the old Quo again, and felt a renewal of energy in the band, and the fans who went along to the gigs. The Dalby gig was another fun rocking night. David and I stayed in a nearby hotel and were awoken at 3am by the alarm going off….the hotel was evacuated and we were all standing outside, half asleep and half dressed. I can’t remember what set the alarm off, but we had to wait until the fore engine arrived and we were given the all clear to go back to our rooms and back to sleep. Not the best nights sleep that I have had 🙂
Setlist: Caroline, The Wanderer, Somethin’bout You Baby I Like, Don’t waste My Time, 4500 Times, Rain, All Stand Up, Solid Gold, Heavy Traffic, Creepin’ up on you, Mystery Medley, Gerdundula, Big Fat Mama, Roll over lay down, Down Down, Whatever You Want, Rockin’all over the World, Anniversary Waltz / Oh Carol / Junior’s Wailing / Bye Bye Johnny.

PS That makes Quo gig No 26 for me (there is an end to this, I promise)