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That was the Quo month that was ... April 2015

5th - Rhino's Revenge gig at Court Theatre, Tring

The final show of Rhino's solo tour took place at the Court Theatre in Tring on 5th April. This final show was originally intended to be filmed for a DVD release, but a press release in the weeks prior to the event changed all that:

"Due to technical issues, the final show of Rhino's 17-date UK and European Tour will not now be filmed for future DVD release. Instead, the concert at the Court Theatre in Tring on April 5 will be an 'End of tour party'.

Popular tribute act State Of Quo has been added to the bill, which will be opened by rock band The Charge, featuring Max and Freddie Edwards and Matthew Starritt from Rhino's band alongside singer and guitarist Adam Parkins.

Following the band's performance, Rhino and members of his band will be 'at large' in the venue bar, and elsewhere, to meet ticket holders, have photographs taken and to autograph items. Rhino hopes you can join the party!"

The sad news that State of Quo's Paul Carr had suffered a heart attack just before this gig meant State of Quo didn't appear either, but the show went on and those who attended deemed it a fitting end to a great solo tour.

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13th - Francis and Rick on Steve Wright In The Afternoon (BBC Radio 2, UK)

Francis and Rick appeared on the Steve Wright In The Afternoon show on BBC Radio 2 on 13th April, in a well-timed promo move for the Aquostic tour. The first topic of conversation was Rick's health and he said he's so slim now because of healthy eating and no drinking. Francis indicated he gets worried about the future of the band when sickness strikes. After the health chat, talk moved to the Aquostic gig at at The Roundhouse and Francis said that during the warm-up gig, the crowd were like "dead fish", but he found the actual gig very enjoyable. Steve plugged the upcoming Aquostic tour (and Francis said they will "probably" do an 'electric' Winter tour) before playing out with the current single, "Break The Rules".

The interview can be heard on the Radio 2 website here.

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18th - Quo article in the Daily Mirror (UK)

The following article - titled "Status Quo reveal break-up plans as Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt rarely speak anymore" and written by Steve Myall - appeared in the UK's Mirror newspaper on 18th April.

"Status Quo have confessed they plan to break up the band – and the ­famous ­frontmen say they don’t speak to each other unless they have to.

Former hellraisers Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt , who even insisted on giving separate interviews, claim they have recorded their final album after nearly 50 years together.

Rick, 66, said they don’t even hang out after a gig any more. He said: “As soon as Quo is finished I’m off – we don’t speak, we don’t communicate.”

Their army of fans will be distraught at the news from the Rocking All Over The World duo, who have notched up nearly sixty Top 40 hits ­including two No. 1s, plus four chart-topping albums.

Rick, who was raised in Woking, Surrey, said: “When we are not working, Francis has his life, I have mine. We go and reap the benefits of our success.

“Unless there is a band issue we don’t speak.

"He recently texted me to suggest I join another band – and even gave me a name for it. I thought, ‘That’s f***ing nice.’ It was c**p.

“We work well within the Quo bubble as that is what we are together for.”

When they are not gigging, London-born Francis, 65, spends his time doing crosswords by the pool at his £3.5million mansion in Purley, Surrey.

Rick is usually 1,500miles away at his family villa in Marbella, Spain.

Renowned for their rock’n’roll excesses during their heyday, Francis and Rick – who tomorrow start what could be their final tour – have performed with Quo through several line-up changes.

But Francis admits he would be happy to call it a day after half a century.

He told the Sunday People he is “pals” with Rick but admits: “We don’t see each other socially, we don’t go out for dinner or hang out.

“It’s how it works for us. We are different people than when we set out.

“We’ve been asked for another album but I’m not sure, I’m getting too old. I will go a little longer, but not much.”

Francis, wed to second wife Eileen, added: “I’ve done what I said I wouldn’t, still going in my 60s.

“I don’t want to be working at 75.

“If my 30-year-old self saw me he’d say, ‘What the f*** are you doing?’ I don’t want to die on stage. I maybe did when I was younger, not any more.”

He admitted it’s not the music or friendship but making money which motivates him in his seventh decade.

A bad property deal cost him a “huge amount” and he added: “Various pensions that I had crumbled.”

Rick was ­invited to join Quo by Francis in 1967. They topped the charts with Down Down in 1974 and in 1994 with Come On You Reds – recorded with Manchester United FC.

Rick is resigned to the band breaking up but hopes it won’t happen just yet.

He said: “It would be crime to stop at the 11th hour and 59th minute without having 50 years of hits.

"I’m not saying we will hang on in there for the sake of it but I would hate for the band to split up because I can’t talk to him and he can’t talk to me.”

One-time rock rebel Rick, who wed third wife Lyndsay in 2006, has survived several heart attacks brought on by his former booze and drugs lifestyle.

He said: “I had to kick it all or die. I have a house in the mountains of Spain for weekends. I sit there in the evening and think, ‘It ain’t a bad life.’”

One thing they do agree on is neither is interested in the General Election.

Rick said: “I don’t give a f*** who wins. They will never get it right.”

Francis said: “I gave up voting years ago. I don’t have faith in change.”

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20th - Quo "Aquostic" concert at Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow

The first gig of the "Aquostic" tour took place at the beautiful Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow on 20th April. A sold-out crowd of 3000 saw Quo in action and the typically raucous Glasgow reception was still there even for Quo in this mellower form! The setlist for this show follows.

The following review of this gig appeared on Metal Talk, written by Johnny Main.

"Status Quo have dabbled in acoustic performances before – some of their back catalogue songs have acoustic guitars on them like 'Living On An Island' and the incredibly under-rated 'Someone Show Me Home', and the band have performed the occasional song acoustically during radio and television appearances, but the recently released 'Aquostic' album, is the band's first bona fide acoustic album – and long overdue it is too.

Such was the success of the album (incredibly, it sold more than 100,000 copies in the first nine weeks of its release – outselling Sir Paul McCartney's last two studio efforts – and has spawned four singles to date) that the band took the bold step of booking a handful of live dates to showcase the album, and they chose the Quo stronghold of Glasgow to unveil their set on the first night of the tour.

This was Quo's first time in Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall (and for many of their fans too, I suspect), and as the audience took their seats, there was a feeling of anticipation in the auditorium. Even before the house lights went down, the back up musicians walked on stage to ready themselves and it didn't take the sold out crowd long to get impatient, stamping their feet and singing the familiar "Quo-o-o-o-o" refrain, much to the amusement of the musicians onstage. As the house lights finally dimmed, the band took to the stage as to an orchestral version of their famous drone intro and a huge ovation.

Predictably, the band kicked off their set with the first single released from the album, 'And It's Better Now', which saw frontman Francis Rossi with a huge smile on his face as band and audience got used to this new style of Quo gig. Usually striding about the stage in jeans and trainers, it's strange seeing the band all seated and dressed up in posh shoes and shirts.

By the time 'Break The Rules' burst into life, the previously reticent crowd begin to let loose as they clapped along to the song which affords Rossi, who looks like he's having the time of his life, his first proper guitar solo of the evening.

It seems very much like Rossi is the driving force behind these acoustic gigs and he certainly seems to be most at home on stage. Throughout the gig he's laughing and joking away with the band and audience. During 'Paper Plane', he's so busy enjoying watching the crowd clap along that he loses himself midway through, but simply laughs it off.

"It's posh in here, innit?" he says at one point before adding "it's good doing these (shows) because I get to wear my glasses during the gig so I can finally see you lot!" So much for his reputation of being a grumpy old man then, eh?

Whilst introducing 'Down Down', Rossi explains that the evolution of the 'Aquostic' project began with the song being performed acoustically for some adverts for an Australian supermarket. "Did you make any money?" shouts some wag at the back of the hall to fits of laughter all round. "Would you have made a schmuck of yourself for nothing?" retorts Rossi, showing he's got a wicked sense of humour that's sometimes lost on the audience during the band's bigger arena gigs.

The other Quo stalwart, Rick Parfitt on the other hand just didn't seem to be having such a great time. 'Mystery Song' might have had some members of the audience on their feet, but Parfitt was hard pushed to put a smile on his face. The song segued into 'Little Lady' which introduced the sextet of stringed instruments, tucked away at the back of the stage, which bolstered up the sound, but the performance from Parfitt was noticeably lacklustre.

'All The Reasons' had Parfitt's vocals getting lost in the myriad of stringed instruments and percussion whereas the classic duo of 'Rain' and 'Whatever You Want' in comparison had Parfitt giving his performance everything he had. Parfitt's performance did get noticeably better as the evening wore on, so maybe it's just a confidence thing from his point of view?

The latter two songs certainly got the crowd on their feet though, with 'Whatever You Want' benefiting from percussionist Martin Ditcham's and the string section's unique take on the classic intro.

Delving deep into Quo's back catalogue, the set list was made up of a generous number of their hit singles including 'Again and Again', which heralded the first appearance of the accordion, expertly played by Geraint Watkins, that has infuriated so many hardcore Quo fans with Parfitt leading the community sing-along during the chorus.

It also gave backing singers Amy Smith and Hannah Rickard their first moment in the spotlight with their voices slightly overpowering at time, much to the amusement of Rossi. At the back, drummer Leon Cave set the audiences feet tapping a steady beat as the familiar strains of their usual set opener, 'Caroline', finally brought the party atmosphere to the Royal Concert Hall as the air guitars and glow sticks came out in force, and by the end of the song, practically everyone in the stalls was on their feet.

The inclusion of the band's 1968 hit single 'Pictures Of Matchstick Men' had the audience resuming their seats, however, as the band earnestly strummed their way through the number.

There were a number of album tracks also included in the set like 1973s 'Softer Ride', which works so well in this format and was one of the stand out performances of the night. Likewise 'Claudie' is just made for this type of set up and was performed effortlessly.

Ditcham's percussion bolsters Cave's drum sound in this often overlooked number and it's a song that surely deserves a place in their electric set list. Even the simplistic sounding 'Nanana' gets a look in here, with Rossi trying to conceal a fit of giggles midway through the number as he shares a joke with keyboardist Andy Bown.

The inclusion of the 1983 hit 'Marguerita Time' in the set is an obvious one, but it's still a controversial choice. It's obvious because it fits so well with acoustic guitars and piano but it's controversial because it's been maligned by swathes of Quo fans for, well, years because of its pop credentials. There's a light sway in the audience, but they all remain firmly seated throughout and unlike some of the other numbers, there's no sing-along at the chorus showing that even acoustically this song divides opinion.

As the venue curfew approached, it was left to the evergreen classic 'Rocking All Over The World' which was a predictable high point in the set as the audience got to their feet and broke out their air guitars once again. With tremendous applause ringing in their ears, the band retreated to the backstage area before the baying crowd encouraged them to come back on stage for the final two numbers, 'Rock Til You Drop' and 'Burning Bridges'.

A predicable end to the set, yes, but it left the sell out crowd wanting more and that's the bottom line. Some Quo fans have poured scorn on the whole project from the beginning, whilst others have embraced it wholeheartedly, and for those who decided not to go, they missed out on a unique Quo gig that was every bit as entertaining, if not more so, than some of their electric performances."

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21st - Quo "Aquostic" concert at City Hall, Sheffield

The following review of the Aquostic show in Sheffield on 21st April appeared on the Metalliville site, written by Glenn Milligan (and awarded a rating of 10/10!).

"After watching the BBC televised show that the lads performed at the Roundhouse late last year it’s little wonder that the acoustic, sorry I mean aquostic show in Sheffield was completely sold out.

Okay, we knew the set list but seeing this spectacle live was another thing entirely. There was so much happening up there that I personally felt afraid I was missing something by focussing for too long on any given part of the stage. We were totally spoilt with the band plus Rhino’s Son Freddie also on guitar as well as female backing vocalist, percussion, accordionist and a cracking string section too. Not one bit of the boards were spared and the sound mix being utterly magnificent even with so many folk performing.

Rossi had fun with his limp mike joking away with us not to mention a few in the right hand side of the front row acting like it was your typical electric Status Quo concert since they rocked, headbanged and bopped a lot of the way through. Francis said they couldn’t stand up since it was an acoustic gig or they’d be bopping to it all too. Leon did a damn fine job on that drum kit and fits in solidly with the band. I am looking forward to seeing him again when they are electric again as he has way more confidence up there now. All the band members were having such fun and smiling a lot of the night. I got the impression that Rhino was dying to get up and rock out because the man hardly stopped still, not to mention laughing away with Andy Bown especially. It always intrigues me what they talk about up there? What about you?

The band intro from Frame was so funny where he tells us he’s forgot their names (cue crowd laughter) only for him to name every member who are playing alongside the Quo which was rather impressive and sees him chortle away at the though of getting the Eeyore player’s name wrong (I mean the Accordianists) – Geraint Watkins he’s called. He even has a joky rant at Rhino too for making an bass noise out the blue – “You always do that every time – it’s always you” which sees Mr. Edwards laughing in response. Talking of the Edwards family, Freddie seems to be a definite hit with the ladies and appears to get more of a reaction than the main members of the Quo!

There were many stand-out songs from the show that included ‘Pictures Of Matchstick Men’; ‘Whatever You Want’ and 'Mystery Song' which sounded so warm with the beautifully, powerful string section. One of my favourites, brought back especially for the occasion is ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll’ from 1980 which you'd think was completely designed for this kind of reworking. Those violins and oboe cut through way better than the keyboard samples used on the original. I do hope they pop the song in their electric set in the future. ‘Rollin’ Home’ was a pleasurable experience too and they had everyone in the hall clapping away to it – not to mention happily singing along at highish levels.

Francis had us singing the chorus during that ‘Dog Of Two Head’ classic ‘Nanana’; purposesly fluffed words during ‘Down The Dustpipe’ and going ‘lalalala’ instead of singing the words ‘New Orleans’ the first time around which I have to admit was unexpected but funny. You can never tell what Frame is going to do next to keep you on your toes when it comes to singing those lyrics. The band are laid back and interactive with the fans when they shout something out and there are quite a few waves given during the night - most notably Rhino waving to someone he recognises up in the balcony seats.

Rick Parfitt’s voice was miles better than on the 'Aquostic' album and Roundhouse show I am really happy to say since he sounded like he was finding it tough on those during ‘Reason For Living’ and ‘All The Reasons. What was truly impressive was the lighting in the City Hall tonight Status Quo had really gone town to make it magnificent without taking it away from the bands performance value – the blueness in here was simply adorable..

I must say that it always annoys me when folks only got up as a majority to ‘Rocking All Over The World’. As my buddy Alan Shooter put it, “It’s like at a Motorhead show when a lot go mad for ‘Ace Of Spades’ and not as much for other songs". Personally I couldn’t agree more myself since I know it's a major hit of theirs but I do wish that they'd get up for for a number like ‘Whatever You Want’ since that one was penned by them and in my opinion a far better song.

That said, what a fantastic show we were given in Sheffield. Believe me, I am looking forward to another tour like this when Aquostic album number 2 is released. Next year maybe? I wonder what numbers will be placed in the set for it as well."

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22nd - Francis and Rick on BBC Breakfast (BBC1, UK)

Suited up and looking very dapper, Francis and Rick appeared on BBC Breakfast on 22nd April. Before the interview started, "Pictures of Matchstick Men", "Down Down" and "Rockin' All Over The World" were played, with each in original form then morphing into the Roundhouse gig's Aquostic versions. The interview started by talking about how "Aquostic" came about (with a shout out for the Coles acoustic "Down Down" advert) and then moved on to the Bryan Adams photo shoot (which they described as a lot of fun). Invetiably, the "50 years since we first met" story was also covered during this eight-minute slot, good promo for the tour and current "Aquostic" product.

A YouTube clip of this interview can be found here, while good photos from their time at the BBC studios in Manchester are available here and here.

The following article about this BBC interview appeared in the Manchester Evening News on 22nd April, titled "Status Quo all smiles in sunny Salford for BBC Breakfast appearance" and written by Denise Evans.

"No sign of tension between Rick and Francis as they were spotted at MediaCityUK.

Status Quo were spotted in sunny Salford this morning.

Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt from the rockers were in the region to appear on BBC Breakfast.

The pair had taken time out of their stripped-back 'Aquostic' national tour, which heads to Wolverhampton Civic Hall next to take a seat on the sofas at the BBC studios at MediaCityUK.

The tour culminates with a date at London’s iconic Albert Hall on April 30.

There was no signs of animosity between the band’s lead singers, who insisted on giving separate interviews to M.E.N. sister paper The Mirror earlier this week because they ‘no longer speak’.

Rick also confirmed the band would split after this latest tour, despite being together for nearly 50 years.

The 66-year-old added: “When we are not working, Francis has his life , I have mine. We go and reap the benefits of our success.

“Unless there is a band issue we don’t speak.”

But appearing to put any differences aside, The Rockin' All Over The World duo looked dapper in suit jackets and smart jeans as they met fans and filmed a segment by the Quays waterside.

They were of course pictured over the water from Old Trafford, home of the club they famously recorded 1994’s Come On You Reds with, which was released four weeks after Manchester United won the FA Cup, beating Chelsea 4-0 in the final. It reached number one in the UK charts."

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23rd - FTMO convention article in the Western Daily Press (UK)

The following article about the FTMO fan club convention appeared in the Western Daily Press newspaper on 23rd April, titled "World's first Status Quo convention heads for Butlin's in Minehead" and written by Tristan Cork.

"The world's first Status Quo convention is to be held at Butlin's in Minehead later this year – and is being co-organised by a 16-year-old superfan.

Aidan Johnson, from Wiltshire, is probably Britain's youngest rock promoter and is co-organising what is thought to be the first Quo convention ever held – 50 years after that fateful meeting of music legends Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt at Butlin's back in 1965.

Young Aidan, in partnership with Yvonne Hanvey, who runs the official Status Quo fan club, is staging the convention and hopes to attract thousands of Quo fans to the special two-day event in October this year.

He is arranging exhibitions, Q&A sessions and a line-up of the nation's top Status Quo tribute acts, each instructed to play a specific album.

The headline acts for the convention include two bands, one led by John Coghlan – Status Quo's original drummer – and the other by John 'Rhino' Edwards, Status Quo's bassist.

And the teenage impresario is already making waves in the rock circuit after acting as promoter for a sell-out tour for John Edwards' band, called Rhino's Revenge. Later this year, Aidan is organising a promoting a six-date arena tour for a trio of tribute acts, including gigs at the famous Glasgow Barrowlands, and the 2,100-seater Sheffield O2 Academy.

It all began in his last year at school in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, for the 16-year-old. He got to know John Coghlan, who lives just the other side of Swindon and regularly plays in the town, and invited him to first do an interview for his school's radio station, and then to bring the band back to the school to perform a gig.

"It went very well, and I was really pleased," he said. "From there I started promoting Rhino Edwards' band, and he's really pleased with what I've done and he's asked me to work with him again, so I'm promoting more dates in October."

After leaving school last year, Aidan is now at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford during the week, and working as a freelance music promoter in his downtime. Promoting gigs involved two of the most long-standing members of Status Quo is already something of a dream come true.

"I've been a Status Quo fan since I was about eight," he said. "I think I heard one of their songs on the radio. That year, they played at Westonbirt Arboretum and I went, and I saw them again there in 2011. I've probably seen them ten times already.

"The idea for the fan convention came from working with the lady from the fan club. Lots of people have got masses of memorabilia so it started off as an exhibition, and then I've added the bands and we've got loads of stuff happening over those two days.

"Hopefully Status Quo fans will come from all over Europe to Butlin's – after it all, it was where Rick and Francis first met 50 years ago.

"Venues and bands are initially surprised when they realise I'm just 16, but I know what I'm doing and it isn't an issue. I'm young as a Quo fan, and I'm young as a promoter, but Butlin's weren't nervous that it's being organised by a 16-year-old, they were really happy.

"I think maybe my age is an advantage because the way the music business works now has changed so much in the past ten or 20 years. Back then there wasn't the internet, but now a lot of the promoting is done on Facebook or through a website, and I know how that all works and how to get the best out of it," he added.

Yvonne, who runs the Status Quo fan club, said she was delighted to get Aidan on board. "The idea for the event was mine and having seen how well Aidan was doing in promoting the Rhino's Revenge album launch at the legendary 100 Club in London, I decided to get him on board to take over the promotion of the event," she said."

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23rd - Francis interviewed on Limerick Live 95FM

Francis was interviewed by by Paul Prenderville on Limerick Live 95FM radio on 23rd April. In this fifteen minute interview, he spoke fondly of the "Aquostic" gigs, saying he was enjoying them "immensely". He also suggested that "Aquostic 2" is in the offing (and they may start recording it early in 2016). In reference to the recent Daily Mirror article about the band "splitting up", Francis reiterated that he would be happy for Rick to perform with Alan and John (as "Quo PLC") and he would not object in any way because "Rick loves it, I don't". A new Rossi solo album later in the year was discussed and Francis confirmed that there will be a Winter 2015 tour. The interview wrapped up with some memories of Live Aid and the revelation that lemon sorbet is his fave ice cream!

The interview can be heard in full here.

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25th - Interview with Rhino and Yvonne Hanvey on BBC Radio 5 Live

The forthcoming FTMO Quo convention got a nice promo opportunity on 25th April when Rhino and fan club manager, Yvonne Hanvey, were interviewed by Stephen Nolan on BBC Radio 5 Live. Yvonne kicked off with an overview of what people can expect from the convention event and Rhino sounded excited about appearing at the convention. Rhino indicated that his favourite Quo song is "Paper Plane" and he put the band's longevity down to giving people what they want ("we do what we say on the tin"). Yvonne's passion for the live experience was obvious and Rhino was very upbeat throughout.

The six-minute interview can be heard here.

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30th - Quo "Aquostic" concert at Royal Albert Hall, London

The final gig of the "Aquostic" tour took place at the iconic Royal Albert Hall in London on 30th April. The sell-out crowd witnessed the same set as the other shows on the tour. Coverage of the gig on the Albert Hall's website can be found here, while a superb set of professional photos can be viewed here.

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