My mum and dad used to say to me “It must be near Christmas – you’re off to see Status Quo” such was the timing of the band’s annual UK Winter tour.
Johnny Main: Pictures © Status Quo, Christie Goodwin
For as long as I’ve been a fan (some twenty seven years and counting, if you’re interested) they’ve always toured the UK in November and December and there’s something gratifyingly cosy about their pre-Christmas jaunt up to Glasgow.
Of course the naysayers will claim this isn’t Status Quo but some parody of a once great rock band, and the current set up are often maligned as “Panto Quo”, “Quo-Lite” or some other disingenuous moniker, but I dislike these names and enjoyed most of the tracks played during the band’s seventy minute plus set.
The current Status Quo line up are Status Quo in the same way that the current AC/DC line up is AC/DC – band members may come and go, but the core of the band remains resolutely the same.
The current Status Quo line up still sell out venues (that’s a fact, by the way), just not The SSE Hydro in Glasgow on a wet and miserable raining Friday night it seems.
The band’s sound may have softened a bit since their heyday in the Seventies but guitarist Rick Parfitt battering out the opening riff to ‘Caroline’ must surely send a shiver down every the spine of every Quo fan.
The set list for this year’s Winter Tour has been the subject of much negativity from Quo’s often hard to please fan base, with them moaning about its lack of change over the years, but this tour is here to plug the band’s latest compilation album, ‘The Definitive Hits’ so the hits (and let’s face it, there are lot of them) are on show for all those who ventured out on a very stormy Friday in Glasgow.
From ‘The Wanderer’ which has some of the audience bobbing along to the jaunty rhythm, the band go straight into their early Eighties rocker ‘Something ’bout You Baby I Like’ before Parfitt comes into his own with a duo of Seventies numbers in the shape of ‘Rain’ and ‘Little Lady’.
Eighties top five hit, ‘Burning Bridges’ is usually saved for the encore at Quo gigs and its position this early in the set took some people by surprise but it still gets the masses jumping around as it always does.
There’s a brand new medley, with an amalgam of five songs, and it’s kicked off with another Eighties hit – ‘What You’re Proposing’ however, it’s not the best thought out Quo medley ever.
I’m of the school of thought of why play a medley when you can play the songs in their entirety – especially when it comes to a stone cold classic like – ‘What You’re Proposing’. Then again, this tour’s all about getting as many hits out there as possible, and the medley whizzes past before being followed up by the rockier ‘Big Fat Mama’ in full. Nice!
Another sticking point for me is the inclusion of ‘The Oriental’ and ‘Creepin’ Up on You’, both of which have been included in the set since 2002 when they were first released on the ‘Heavy Traffic’ album.
Good as they are, they’re getting a wee bit past their sell by date and I’d rather the band had slotted in a couple of newer tracks like ‘Two Way Traffic’ or ‘Go Go Go’ but then again, I’m happy that 2007’s ‘Beginning of the End’ is still included in their current set, so it’s all down to personal opinion in the end, isn’t it?
Front man Francis Rossi seems to be going through the motions a bit and his sparkle seemed to have faded as the gig progressed. He plays off the crowd at the appropriate moments, however, and gets them laughing and giggling with his rehearsed bits of showmanship.
It’s not until “the big four” hits of ‘Roll Over Lay Down’, ‘Down Down’, ‘Whatever You Want’ and the ubiquitous ‘Rockin’ All Over the World’ that the audience seem to really come alive. Most of these tracks have been staples in the Quo set for, well, years and the audience reaction to them tells you why.
As the final chords to ‘Rockin’ All Over the World’ die down, the band disappear off for a quick break before returning for the encore, which is kicked off with early Seventies gem, Paper Plane’.
As the evening climaxes with a duo of Chuck Berry covers (‘Rock and Roll Music’ and a shortened version of ‘Bye Bye Johnny’), the band bids a final farewell.
Thankfully there were no Christmas medleys this year, but as expected, no amazingly different songs included from the band’s tried and tested formula.
Quo are a band to entertain the masses and they do – ‘Again and Again’ (if you’ll excuse the pun). With rumours of the band stopping touring in the next couple of years it seems like I’ll have to find another pre-Christmas gig to attend, but until that day comes, you can book me a ticket for next Christmas’ Quo show in Glasgow.
It’s just that I’d rather see them book The Academy, the ABC or The Barrowlands as opposed to the cavernous Hydro and have it less than half full.
You can see Status Quo live here:
Thursday 10th December – Bournemouth International Centre, Bournemouth
Friday 11th December – Brighton Centre, Brighton
Sunday 13th December – The O2, London
Thursday 26th May – Hessentag, Herborn
Saturday 23rd July – The Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh
Status Quo Set List
Something ‘Bout You Baby I Like
Burning Bridges (On And Off And On Again)
Beginning Of The End
What You’re Proposing/Down The Dustpipe/Wild Side Of Life/Railroad/Again And Again
Big Fat Mama
Creepin’ Up On You
In The Army Now
Roll Over Lay Down
Whatever You Want
Rockin’ All Over The World
Rock And Roll Music/Bye Bye Johnny
Status Quo are:
Francis Rossi – Vocals/Guitars
Rick Parfitt – Vocals/Guitars
John ‘Rhino’ Edwards – Bass Guitar/Backing Vocals
Andrew Bown – Keyboards/Guitar/Backing Vocals
Leon Cave – Drums/Backing Vocals