Paying homage at the Quo show

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Jan 2013 Paying homage at the Quo show

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Live : Status Quo

Thursday, December 13

The Opera House, Blackpool

 ON a very cold night on the coast, we wanted warming up, so a Status Quo gig was just what the doctor ordered.

After an energetic support from Eddie & The Hot Rods, the main event was eagerly awaited by the almost full theatre. And they did not disappoint.

As the lights went down and the intro began, the atmosphere changed into Quo-mode when Rick Parfitt launched into the familiar chords of Caroline: that was it.

Heads nodding as one, the whole auditorium paid homage at the Quo altar.

The first shock, as the spotlights illuminated the band was the sight of the shorter hair of Rick – that does take a bit of getting used to. On the visual front, brighter backdrops with animations provided a colourful, yet not distracting background.

But we weren’t there for any visual trickery, we were there for the music. The Quo know what we want, and they gave it to us in spades. Matt Letley provided us with some rock-steady drumming which wasn’t particularly showy until he came to do his drum solo. Rhino Edwards strutted and posed with his bass and complemented the dual guitar attack.

Andy Bown seemed to relish the fact that he can now get out front with the rest of the band as, in his early years with the band, he was seemingly relegated to the ‘background musician’ role. Now he plays all the keyboards, harmonica and joins in on guitar.

Naturally though, our focus is on the two ‘grand old men’ of the 12-bar boogie – Messrs Rossi and Parfitt.

Rossi has a rapport with a crowd that is amazing to see in action. He doesn’t actually speak until after the fifth song when he comes to the front and says: “Awlright?”

The crowd erupts – every time.

Rossi controls everybody in the theatre with just hand gestures and the odd raised eye-brow. He even chats with some of those at the front!

OK, the music. The band is as tight as a drumskin – always. When they end a song, it is cut off just as if someone has turned the instruments off at the mains – only years of playing together enables a band to do that.

Even after all this time, they seem to enjoy themselves on stage, and as a result, so does everybody else. The hits came thick and fast:

Caroline, Paper Plane, Mystery Song, In The Army Now and the famous Quo Medley (only one this time around) were note perfect. There were a few new ones from recent albums, Do The Oriental, Rock and Roll and You and Beginning of the End are new Quo classics, and Rick slowed things down a bit with his exquisite Living On An Island, although – it has to be said – his voice appeared to be struggling a bit).

The tour de forces that are Roll Over Lay Down, Down Down and Whatever You Want all cranked up the fervour until the piano intro to Rocking All Over The World took the roof off.

The encore was the only part of the show that had a Christmas feel as, with snow falling on the backdrop, we were treated to a medley of Winter Wonderland, Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree and the Quo Christmas song It’s Christmas Time.

The whole show came to an end with the balcony shaking Burning Bridges.

Status Quo do it year after year, and as the crowd disappeared into the cold night, many were already making plans for the next time.

You always know what you’re gonna get with the Quo – you’re gonna get Whatever You Want. Satisfaction guaranteed.

PS: Matt Letley, their drummer of more than 12 years, has decided to leave the band. Matt’s last show was on Wednesday, December 19, at the O2 Arena in London. Matt said: “It’s been a fantastic journey over the past 12 years.”

Martin Hutchinson

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