The following review of Francis's "Tunes & Chat" show in Poole on 2nd April appeared in the Bournemouth Echo on 3rd April, written by Cliff Moore.
"Francis Dominic Nicholas Michael Rossi, scion of ice cream heritage and otherwise known as GOMOR (Grand Old Man of Rock) is back out on the road, but he's parked the Quo for a while.
Instead, he's five nights into his lengthy Tunes & Chat 2023 tour, which is running until November (with July and August off), playing more than 100 dates in theatres large and small, before Quo's traditional festivities kick in.
Rossi's GOMOR status is actually a bit of a misnomer as he's only 73 (compared to the Great-GOMOR's such as Jagger, 79, McCartney, 80, Cliff Richard, 82, Tom Jones, 83, Ian Hunter, 83, and great-great-GOMOR John Mayall, 89 and counting).
So here is the green-behind-the-ears young stripling, eschewing his pension to take up his acoustic guitar to play some stripped back Quo classics, rarities and rarely performed tunes, while throwing a few tales from on the road. With a musical heritage stretching back to 1962, there is no shortage of material.
The scene is two plush red armchairs, a grey rug and a coffee table in front of a big screen displaying 44 Quo album covers. The theatre is by no means full, the uber-fans who had earlier met and greeted their star seated at the front.
Rossi sits to the right, his guitar tech/second guitarist Andy Brook, the renowned producer/engineer, who had been tuning/preparing since we arrived, to the left. Rossi is dressed in black jacket, black jeans and white socks. His trademark ponytail is long gone, along with most of his hair.
He is a nervy, energetic, self-deprecating character, never sticking to the point, going off on tangents from tangents, worrying about the size of the audience, obsessing with the running time, holding is head in his hands on occasion. He's no raconteur, but his voice is holding up remarkable well.
The format is probably more songs than chat, kicking off with Pictures Of Matchstick Men and progressing serenely through the likes of In My Chair, Gerdundula, Claudie, Rock'n'Roll, Break The Rules and Down The Dustpipe.
After a brief interlude, side two continued with Rossi in a brown waistcoat playing What You're Proposing, followed by the likes of And It's Better Now, Blessed Are The Meek and Margarita Time, before Rossi's Q&A began.
Brook read out the questions posed earlier on postcards by the audience, enabling us to learn his favourite venue is Australia, despite the flight, he still loves the Everly Brothers, he wishes he was a member of ELO and his rock'n'roll lifestyle includes doing the crossword and going to bed early.
He also told us that BCP were ruining the music industry - Brexit, Covid, Putin.
Then we had the Rossi acoustic version of John Fogerty's Rocking All Over The World, followed by the Quo classics Paper Plane and Caroline - and the mainman was gone leaving Brook to soak up the applause - then the red curtain actually came down.
Goodnight."<! Link to top of page > Revisit the April 2023 event list
The following review of Francis's "Tunes & Chat" show in Newbury on 6th April appeared in Newbury Today on 13th April, titled "Francis Rossi, Status Quo's Chatty Man" and written by Brian Harrington.
"Francis Rossi: Tunes And Chat at The Corn Exchange on Thursday, April 6. Review by BRIAN HARRINGTON
A SHOW that did exactly what it says on the tin and was hugely entertaining in the process. A stage set with two winged armchairs, a green glass and reading lamp and two Fender acoustic guitars and a bucket greeted the near capacity audience tonight.
Francis Rossi and his guitar technician/accompanist Andy Brook instantly engaged with the crowd, with Rossi chatting as if he was talking one-to-one in his living room.
Starting at the beginning of it all with Pictures Of Matchstick Men, Rossi's candour and skill as a raconteur between songs was a joy, giving intimate glimpses in to a lot more than just his songwriting inspirations (a word he finds amusing, commenting with typical humility that is really too grandiose and 'ideas' might be more accurate), but packed with anecdotes about the rock lifestyle, from drugs to meeting royalty.
The first set included tracks like In My Chair, very appropriate given the setting, Gerdundula, which Rossi explained was about two people Gerd and (und) Ula who were hippies back in the day, adding that Gerd is now in the business of exporting abbatoirs!
The first set ended with Break The Rules, Down The Dustpipe and Burning Bridges. People were invited to jot down questions for Francis during the interval – revealing the purpose of the onstage bucket.
The second set included What Your Proposing, with a revealing explanation of its meaning, and continued with a Q&A session covering everything from songs and songwriters he admires to joke questions like "are you my dad?"
Musically, Francis included Tongue Tied, the track he had told me recently was the one he was most proud to have written, before finishing with Rockin' All Over The World, Paper Plane and, of course, Caroline.
From comments by fellow audience members and the numbers of box sets sold on the merch stand, Francis Rossi had gone down a storm.
He still undoubtedly has the voice, the charm and the ability to entertain.
A great night."<! Link to top of page > Revisit the April 2023 event list
The sold out show in Milton Keynes on Francis's "Tunes & Chat" tour on 7th April produced an official clip of the amazing acoustic version of "Spinning Wheel Blues" that forms part of these shows.
Francis was interviewed by Jackie Brambles on Greatest Hits Radio on 18th April, as part of his busy promo schedule for the "Tunes & Chat" tour. Jackie's show included playing "Down Down" and "Rockin' All Over The World" and Francis's interview is available here.<! Link to top of page > Revisit the April 2023 event list
Francis was interviewed live in the studio by Charlie Stayt and Nina Warhurst on BBC Breakfast on 20th April. The focus of the interview was of course "Tunes & Chat" and the showed a small clip of "Spinning Wheel Blues" from the Milton Keynes show.
He spoken very fondly about enjoying the different format of these shows and, thankfully, said he'd be back out with Quo in 2024!
Coverage of the interview appeared in The Express newspaper.
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Revisit the April 2023 event list
Francis's "Tunes & Chat" tour rolled into Chesterfield on 22nd April and the following review of the show appeared on MetalliVille, written by Glenn Milligan.
"Yes it's the man from Status Quo in solo mode. I remember him having a solo band a few years ago with his daughter's band supporting, well 12 in fact - God that went super-fast! Although there was the 'I Talk Too Much' Tour featuring his good self and the legendary Rock Interviewer, Mick Wall not too long since.
This venture is part of a flabbergasting 100+ date Tour around the UK and Ireland alongside his Guitar Tech who he introduced to us as Mr. Brook entitled 'Tunes & Chat' whereby the two of them break out 2 beautiful matching acoustics.
Basically it was what it said on the tin whereby Francis talked to us for a while and interspersed this with some of the Status Quo songs that were both well-known and more obscure to the Greatest Hits crowd in unplugged fashion. I must say it was the best I had heard him voice-wise in years and his guitar-work was nothing but virtuoso too!
Although there was somewhat a strict set list that they were working from, quite a bit of the incidental banter was off the cuff depending on the audience and what was said by them or Francis - proving to be very on the bone at various points which the fans in here loved. He laughed about being thought of as the 'Grand Old Man Of Rock' which some thought he would find insulting.
He told us about his humble beginning, cranking up 'Pictures Of Matchstick Men' before ploughing into the early 70'a bluesier numbers like Spinning Wheel Blues' and 'In My Chair'. A backdrop of each album where the song came from appeared on the LCD screen behind them which included the likes of Hello, Piledriver, 'In Search Of The Fourth Chord', 'Back To Back' and many more as he chatted about the time they were recorded and where various ideas came from for the 'tunes'.
One thing that really struck me about the folk in here was how old many of them were - I was one of the youngest there and I am a tender age of 49! Hahahaha! Some folk in front of us did not seem to have much of a clue what songs he was playing! Were they actually Quo fans or had they come on the wrong night expecting to see Chris De Burgh or Daniel O'Donnell? Myself and Steve Cooper were pretty baffled on that score to say the very least.
That aside, the conversation from the stage was nothing short of brilliant and in good old theatre style came in 2 halves with an interval when the bar was open and shut when the show itself was in duration. The very dapper looking Mr. Rossi loves the word 'Gobshite' that he laughed about during the night much to everyone's amusement. God knows what the black bucket was about though in part 1 that had a 3 pens and a battery in it for some bizarre reason - hilarious and random.
There was a cool story about his old gardener who was an ex-Copper who actually went to a Quo show without telling Francis and much, much more that I don't wanna reveal for fear of ruining the show for future fans yet to see this marvellous more intimate spectacle.
Another funny moment was him quipping that unlike his day job where he can move away from the microphone, he couldn't here since he was using a clip-on microphone and everything would be audible unless he turned it off so anything could basically come out of his mouth regardless - all good to me - uncensored is the way to go anyway - the legendary old Rocker kept it real!
The proceedings ended with a hand-picked set of questions that the audience had handed on entry to the show in the reception area. Those chosen included 'How many waistcoats does he own?' and 'Would he still be selling ice creams had he not made it in the music business with Quo?'. The answers to this were "About 100 waistcoats" and, 'Yes he would' to the other' - lol. Or what about the one where he was asked, 'What's the funniest/strangest thing that's happened to you onstage?' which Francis replied to a blonde wig ending up on the neck of his guitar - owned by a now wigless woman in the audience! Now that's priceless!
Everybody left smiling and I cannot recommend this show enough to you if you have not yet seen it. As good as any Quo show I have seen with even a bit of harmonica being thrown in too by Andy Brook."<! Link to top of page > Revisit the April 2023 event list
The following article about Francis appeared in the Swindon Advertiser on 24th April, titled "Swindon Status Quo support band member reunites with frontman Francis Rossi at gig" and written by Daniel Wood.
"A member of a popular Swindon band that once supported Status Quo has reunited with the iconic band's frontman years later.
Swindon's Green Steam was a popular band in the 60s and 70s and supported the likes of Status Quo, Slade, and Sweet in its prime.
One such time was when the band joined Status Quo on May 25, 1969, to support them for a gig at the Bournemouth Pavillion.
54 years later, Green Steam bass guitarist John Hennessy, who still lives locally, was reunited with Status Quo's frontman Francis Rossi as the latter came to town for a solo gig at the Wyvern Theatre.
"Francis immediately recognised John and remembered the gig where Green Steam had been the support for Status Quo," John's wife, Julie said.
"His memory was helped by the fact that Quo's Roadie got an electric shock that evening and had to be taken to hospital. This left Francis and the band with the task of loading all the equipment back into the truck.
"Francis joked it was one of Green Steam's leads that gave their roadie the electric shock. It transpired, the roadie was none other than Francis Rossi's father."
The two musicians reminisced about the 60s and 70s music scene during the meeting, and John presented Francis with a copy of a CD produced by Green Steam of their original tracks.
John said: "The time with Francis went very quickly. It was like old buddies getting together and picking up where they left off."
But this wasn't the only emotional reunion that John has had recently.
In December last year, Green Steam reunited for the first time in 50 years in honour to perform a gig at the Swiss Chalet in Swindon in honour of their late drummer and founder Terry Alderton who had died from cardiac arrest.
John was joined by original band members John Krelle and Kay Nugent (Nee Guest) who had both travelled from abroad to make the special event, drummer Steve Gobey, and Kay's son Mark as additional guitar.
All of the proceeds for the evening went towards the British Heart Foundation and a total of £600 was raised for the life-saving charity.
Following the gig, he said: "The feeling for all of us was very emotional from the first note. The band played like we had never been apart, this was reinforced by the audience's response from the very start."<! Link to top of page > Revisit the April 2023 event list