It was a rainy night outside at the Capital FM Arena, Nottingham, but the fans still queued up until the doors were opened at bang on 19:00. The gathered masses then started to make their way inside for what we anticipated was going to be an epic night out! Everyone quietly went to their allocated seats, myself and photographer Anthony May included, we then settled down stage-left. Now although I’ve been a fan of the legendary Status Quo for many years, and also possess a few well-worn vinyl albums, this was actually my first time seeing the guys playing live! What’s more to then have another great British institutional duo like ‘Chas and Dave’ as the guest group on the same bill, and on the same stage, just had to be an unmissable experience!
The first song from C & D was one of their very early hits ‘Gertcha’. Playing in that unmistakable pub styled slightly ‘off keyed’ sound, using his faithful old upright piano Chas got into the swing quickly with Dave on bass and Chas’s son Nick playing the drums. We were then bombarded with an impressive back catalogue of well-known popular tunes, from ‘London Girls ’ and ‘Margate ’ the now infamous classic ‘Rabbit Rabbit ’ and ( oh darlin ) ‘There Ain’t No Pleasing You! ’.
Looking very relaxed they entertained us for about an hour, where we saw Nick showcasing an impressive drum solo which got the crowd excited and showing their appreciation when he’d finished. Joined again by Chas and Dave, they concluded the set with ‘The sideboard song ’, ‘When Two Worlds Collide’ and the impossibly tongue twisting ‘Diddle Um Song ’. One of the best things I think was that they didn’t seem to have a pre-gig set list and appeared to just make it all up as they went on. Either that or their very good at looking super cool!!
After a short 30 minute interval when a lot of folks made an essential refreshment break for the bar and par-took of some London Pride and Pile Driver beers, we watched as the stage hands geared up for the main event!
Right on nine o’clock the lights then went down, and there was a low bass note hum that made your insides tremble. Then from behind the stage curtain we could see the silhouetted figure of Rick Parfitt about to explode into the first bars of ‘Caroline ’. The crowds were already out of their seats before we even got to see the guys! As the curtain was raised and Rick, Frances and John walked to the front of the stage everyone gave a huge roar, and the whole front row of fans then started to pogo to this great song! It was a great rendition of a classic Quo song mixed in with a bit of improvisation on the odd bar or two, which at a live event is something you come to expect anyway.
Several well know hits followed with ‘Something About You ’, the brilliant song ‘Rain ’which I first heard on the ‘Live At The Glasgow Apollo’ album way back in 1976, and the timeless track ‘Paper Plane’.
While the guys had a quick five minutes breather, Frances had a bit of banter with the fans. Talking about his shirt rubbing his nipples and it being no good if any girls had flashed theirs at him as he can’t see that far anymore! Also a light hearted jest about his very good friend Rick who “keeps falling down a lot lately ”. Rick then replied by belting out on the guitar, ‘Little Lady ’ which went down a storm. This was closely followed by ‘Hold Ya Back ’, and I think the guys now broke the ice with the crowd as they started to leave their seats and start dancing in the aisles. The multi talented keyboard player Andrew Bown, had now joined Francis, Rick and John playing a forth guitar and harmonica. We then got played what I thought was going to be a rendition of ‘What Your Proposing ‘, but this was just the start of a showcase of Quo hit’s. Morphing into the following song ‘Oriental ‘ with Mia from North Korea, which also changed into one of my personal favorite tracks ‘Big Fat Mama‘ . The guys seemed to having a ball now, running around on stage and pogoing with the crowd. We then got a brilliant real Blues Rock taste of ‘ Creepin Up On You ‘ changing to ‘Oh Baby ‘. This all culminated in one of their big 1980’s hits ‘In The Army Now ‘. It really was a great mix of old and not so old past hits, that by the time they took a quick break left everyone with big smiles on their faces.
Like I said while the guys had a breather, drummer Leon broke out into a mega drum solo called ‘The Caveman ‘.After which Francis came back out onto the stage in a very jovial mood, and started to sing ‘I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles’ just for the crack! The next song was a hit in the mid 1970’s ‘Roll Over Lay Down ’ which really went down a storm. It was a fairly mixed age ranged audience, but I have to say (we the older fans) were the ones who knew the routine, with thumbs in the front pockets, elbows pushed out, and with the head down and then rockin back n forth for some proper traditional Quo dancing!! The guys on stage all obliged and lined up side by side and were rocking to and fro with the beat. It looked dated to younger eyes, but god it was bloody good fun!!!
We were now into the last 40 minutes of the gig and they treated us to renditions of ‘Down Down, What Ever You Want’ and finished off the set with the song they have now given to the entire world, the magnificent ‘Rockin All Over The World ’! When they finely finished they got a standing ovation as the lads all bowed, said their own thank you’s and made their way off stage. But the fans were having none of it, to chants of “Woh Oh Oh, Oh Oh” the guys came back to do an encore of ‘Burning Bridges ‘, (Gimme that) ‘Rock N Roll Music‘, and their very own version of Chuck Berry’s ‘Johnny Be Good ’.
It was a brilliant entertaining night watching one of the U.K’s longest running rock and roll groups. Who we all hope will continue rocking us just that little bit longer.[flickrapi user=”planet mosh” get=”photoset” id=”72157649716707411″ size=”z” count=”100″]
Status Quo Band Members:-
John ‘Rhino’ Edwards
Something Bout You Baby
Hold Ya Back
Beginning Of The End
What Your Proposing
Big Fat Mama
In The Army Now
The Caveman (Drum Solo)
What Ever You Want
Rockin All Over The World