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That was the Quo month that was ... December 2005



2nd - Quo concert at Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham

The packed crowd for Quo's show at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham got a little too enthusiastic, leading to a partial collapse of the theatre floor! A section of floor under the front four rows droppedup to 2 inches in some places and so the encore had to be cut short. The set list was thus as follows.

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3rd - Quo concert at Centaur, Cheltenham

Photos from Quo's gig at the plush new Centaur in Cheltenham are available here.

The following review by Paul Furley appeared on the BBC Gloucestershire web site.

"Fifty thousand plus racegoers make an incredible din on Gold Cup day, but seldom can Cheltenham Racecourse have rocked the way it did when Status Quo came to town.

Playing the Centaur as part of the band’s 40th anniversary tour was a trip into the unknown for the Quo, the multi purpose venue is less than two years old and still establishing itself on the circuit, but on the basis of this gig there will be plenty more rock acts visiting the home of National Hunt racing.

A crowd of nearly five thousand people queued up in the cold for the best spots in the concert hall and sung the time away as the atmosphere built to what turned out to be an incredible performance.

Supporting Quo was Casbah Club, a band containing former members of The Who, The Jam and Big Country; they played the loud and energetic mod rocker set you would expect from the likes of Bruce Foxton and Pete Townsehend’s younger brother Simon.

But it was bang on time at a quarter to nine when audience and on stage excitement levels finally gelled in perfect synchronisation as Quo opened up with their regular show starter Caroline, Rick Parfitt’s intro riff sending the audience into a frenzied state of clapping, pointing, head banging and jumping up and down.

Quo whizzed through Something ‘Bout You Baby I Like and Don’t Waste My Time before front man Francis Rossi gave everyone time to catch their breath. In the middle of his customary hellos and “are there any Germans in here tonight?” questions, he congratulated Cheltenham on getting itself a top notch gig venue with facilities – including back stage – not often seen in this country.

The remark was not exactly rock and roll, but signalled that Quo were in party mood: all the hits were there, belted out with plenty of interaction and nods and winks to the front few rows of an ecstatic audience.

The set on this tour has gradually evolved and tightened up into a mix that is Quo as you would expect – loud and fast paced – typified by the re-instatement of the ultra bouncy Hold You Back after it was omitted from earlier dates, the only minor gripe being that there was just the one track from the band’s new album The Party Ain’t Over Yet.

The fun continued as bass player John “Rhino” Edwards, during his one foray on to a six string guitar, wandered off stage during the catchy jig Gerdundula to change his instrument, a bit of pantomime preceding the part of the show where all the band except drummer Matt Letley end up simultaneously playing their own and each other's guitars – a feat which has to be seen to be believed.

Rhino’s comeuppance came just one song later as a string broke on his custom made bass during Whatever You Want, forcing him to play out that and the entirety of Rockin’ All Over The World before the break ahead of the encore with only three strings, but play it he did.

Having had to cut their encore short the previous evening in Nottingham when safety reasons meant the show had to end early, Quo’s encore was restored to full strength with the band’s new medley, and Burning Bridges wringing the last ounces of energy out of the crowd before Bye Bye Johnny brought the concert to a close.

With Rossi having quipped that the band could “go on for another four or five…” but refusing to specify minutes, days, months, years or decades there was a distinct impression Quo will be back at Cheltenham, especially when Quo’s lighting designer Pat Marks and a couple from Winchester who are watching each of the 35 UK shows tell you that it was the best gig of the tour, so far."

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8th - Remainder of UK tour cancelled due to Rick's health

The following press release appeared on the official Quo web site on December 8th to inform gig-goers that the remainder of the UK tour had been cancelled due to the discovery of throat problems for Rick Parfitt. The cancellation was widely reported in the UK and overseas press (making a number of papers as far flung as Australia!).

"CANCELLATION OF REMAINING DATES ON CURRENT UK TOUR

Duroc Management and Clear Channel Entertainment regret to inform the public that the current Status Quo UK tour will be cancelled with immediate effect.

Guitarist and Founder member Rick Parfitt has been suffering from a throat problem. Simon Porter, the band's manager, said, "This morning he saw Consultant Stephen Toynton ENT surgeon at the Nuffield Hospital in Plymouth who has expressed concern with a growth in Rick's larynx and has recommended that it requires urgent investigation. Consequently all 9 shows on the current sell out UK tour have been cancelled.

Whilst the band obviously regret having to disappoint their fans they are thankful for their understanding at this difficult time and look forward to seeing them soon.

The cancelled shows will not be re-scheduled. Tickets will be fully refunded at the point of purchase."

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9th - John Coghlan at Rock Classics Allstars, Bochum, Germany

John Coghlan played with an all-star band at the 5th event of its kind at Zeche, Bochum, Germany. During a gig of almost three hours, John was joined on stage by Chip Hawkes (ex-Tremeloes), Pete Phipps (ex-Glitter Band), Jeff Brown (ex-Sweet), Alan Silson (ex-Smokie), Ricky Grasser (Riff/Raff), Niko Arvanitis (ex-Warlock), Peter Szigeti (ex-U.D.O.) and Manni Schmidt (Grave Digger).

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10th - French Quo biography "Status Quo: La Route sans fin" published in France, Belgium & Switzerland

The first French-language Quo book was published on December 10th. Entitled "Status Quo: La Route sans fin" ("Status Quo: the never ending road") is written by Philippe Deponteil and P. Robin and weighs in at a hefty 450 pages! Although penned in French, it has broader appeal thanks to a foreword by Bob Young and over 150 rare photographs. The book can be ordered online via Amazon France.

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10th - Rick article in The Mirror (UK)

The following article - titled "I'll Beat It, says Rick" and written by Cameron Robertson - appeared in the UK's Mirror newspaper on December 10th.

"STATUS Quo star Rick Parfitt yesterday thanked the rock group's legions of fans for their get-well wishes in his battle against throat cancer.

And the heavy smoker, 57, vowed: "I will beat this. With such good thoughts from everyone, we will get through this together."

Rick, who struggled with his voice on the band's now-cancelled UK tour, will have an exploratory operation next week to determine the seriousness of his tumour.

But after the Mirror and official Quo websites were flooded with messages for a speedy recovery, he said: "I thank everyone for their incredible love."

Barry Frank, from Cork, said: "Hope everything works out Rick. Get well soon! Looking forward to seeing you and the band rocking all over Ireland again."

Sandra Bickerton, of Chester, emailed: "Just to wish Ricky all the best ... I saw him long before he was famous at Melody Inn."

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11th - Rick article in The Sunday Mirror (UK)

The following article - titled "I just can't give it up - I stopped smoking for 10 months but now I am back on 20 Marlboro a day" and written by Ben Todd - appeared in the UK's Sunday Mirror newspaper on December 11th.

"HE knows it's bad for him and he desperately wants to give up. But try as he might, Rick Parfitt cannot kick his smoking habit. Now the Status Quo rocker fears his addiction to cigarettes is to blame for the throat cancer scare which has forced the band to cancel their eagerly-awaited 40th anniversary tour.

Singer-guitarist Rick, 57, this week undergoes surgery to discover whether a tumour on his right vocal chord is malignant. A lesion has also been found on his left vocal chord.

In an exclusive Sunday Mirror interview, Rick said: "It is really scary. I would be lying if I said it wasn't - but at the moment we don't know anything.

"I've just got to see what happens this week before making any big decisions. It's a question of wait and see. When the doctor said there was a a tumour, I was terrified. But then he said it doesn't necessarily mean it's cancer."

The singer told of his lifelong battle to give up smoking and how his showbusiness lifestyle was a factor in his failure to stay off cigarettes.

Rick - who had a quadruple heart by-pass operation eight years ago - gave up smoking for 10 months last year. But he could not kick the habit long-term - and went back on his favourite packs of red Marlboro just weeks ago.

He said: "I have to have a fag. I did give up but I found with the stresses and strains of showbusiness that I just had to have a cigarette."

At least he hasn't been smoking as much as he used to. Rick said: "I've cut down my smoking by half. On a day off, I'll only smoke about 10. But on a working day, between 15 and 20. I know I've got to try to give the fags up now."

Following the cancellation of Quo's 35-date tour - which had the title The Party Ain't Over Yet - Rick is preparing for the operation at his home in Teddington, Middlesex with the help of his ex-wife Patty and their son Harry, 15.

He said: "Maybe it will be easier now I'm back at home. Patty doesn't let me smoke in the house anyway. Rain or shine I've always been banished into the garden because Patty and Harry hate me smoking.

"Now I know I have to knock it on the head - once and for all."

Rick had been struggling with voice problems for several weeks ...but thought it was just an infection. But he had also been feeling increasingly tired and last month had to be given oxygen after a concert in Holland.

"I have found the work more tiring," he confessed. "I found one show particularly draining. We did a quick trio of gigs in Switzerland, Germany and Holland - there was a lot of travelling involved. The last gig, in Holland, was 6,000 people on one level in a room with lights nine feet above our heads.

"To try and do the set at 100mph under the lights was just murder. And at the end, I had no stamina left. That gig felt like it took a lot out of me and I had to be given oxygen at the end. Afterwards, we drove straight back to England. We arrived back at 10am and I went straight to bed at the hotel. I didn't get up for more than 24 hours."

Quo's management called in ear, nose and throat specialist Stephen Toynton from Plymouth's Nuffield Hospital who advised an immediate exploratory op. He identified the tumours - and has ordered the full biopsy for this week.

The health scare may be the wake-up call Rick needs. His lovelife has been a merry-go-round between two women that has cost him more than £3million in divorce settlements. He left first wife Marietta for Patty... before leaving Patty for Marietta. He then split with Marietta again...and returned to Patty.

He said: "Marietta lives in America now but I speak to her and we still get on. We're all friends. Life's too short to have all those arguments and all that poison."

Earlier this year, after cheating on Patty with a besotted fan he vowed to quit the booze saying the shenanigans were alcohol-fuelled - but he has also been drinking again. He admitted: "I haven't given up the booze. I've just got sensible about it because the affair was all alcohol-fuelled.

"When my heart went, I don't necessarily think I induced it by my lifestyle. I think that was going to happen to me whether I smoked, whether I drank or whether I took drugs."

BUT he also added: "I've given up the drugs now and I'll drink sociably. Life changes if you stay away from the alcohol. Things slowly become real again instead of living in this haze of cocaine and booze."

And while he prepares for his latest health battle Patty is once more by his side. In the aftermath of his affair with the fan, the pair were close to splitting and there were reports that Patty had made a cry-for-help suicide bid.

But they are now fully reconciled. Rick said: "We are good pals - but I will never get married again."

Rick is not the only rock star to have faced throat cancer. Last year, the Sunday Mirror revealed how Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, 64, had to have chemotherapy for the same illness.

Five years ago rocker Rod Stewart had a nodule in his throat removed after doctors discovered problems during a routine examination.

Rick added: "I've lived this rock 'n' roll lifestyle and I've lived it to the maximum. So you never know what's going to happen next."

And as he awaits to find out if his tumours are malignant, he and legions of Quo fans are desperately hoping that for Rick, The Party really Ain't Over Yet."

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14th - Quo concert at Telford Arena (cancelled)

The following article - titled "Mighty Quo still rocking" and written by Ben Bentley - appeared in the Shropshire Star newspaper on December 7th.

"Happy 40th birthday, Status Quo. And a happy wedding anniversary, too, because by all accounts lead members Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt have been “married” to each other for 40 years.

To mark the celebrations of maintaining the Status Quo, the group’s members are currently doing what they do best, performing on a world tour that has so far taken in South Africa and Europe.

With the release of new album The Party Ain’t Over, the circus will come to town this month when they’ll be rockin’ all over Telford’s International Centre.

If it’s a cliche that bands on tour never know where they are, that’s because it’s true; today Francis Rossi has no idea where he is, so he consults a note on the wall.

“We’re in … Landshut,” he announces to the Shropshire Star finally, during a break in rehearsals mid-way through their tour of Germany. “It’s going very well. The better you are doing the faster the time goes.”

Time certainly has flown for the mighty Quo. In 1965 the group were knee-high to a grasshopper, in the era of the Aston Martin DB6 and the eight-track tape — both of which have long since bitten the dust.

But Francis, 56, can still recall those early gigs, travelling to Shrewsbury in an old Ford Thames van and unleashing “those three chords”.

“I remember it well,” he says. “Great days.”

Such parochial performances, however, were a far cry from what was arguably their biggest — Live Aid at Wembley in 1985.

“That was fantastic and I still have not experienced that again, to be honest. Rick and I did not realise quite how big it was going to be.”

Francis admits he had not seen any of the TV footage of starving African children that so captured Bob Geldof’s imagination. “I didn’t know what they were talking about, to be honest,” he says.

To the Quo, who opened the show with Rockin’ All Over The World, it was just another gig. Until they stepped out on stage, that is. “There was just a feeling. It was unusual,” said Francis.

Not half as unusual however as Status Quo’s appearance on Coronation Street, on which Francis strolled on sporting a neck brace. “That was fantastic,” he says. “I didn’t know whether we should do it at the time but I’m glad now.”

In that instalment of the soap, three strangers walk into the Rovers. Two of them lean on the bar. The one wearing a neck brace orders three pints and a brandy. The other inquires of Betty, “Do you do food, love?”

Betty responds to him in her usual warm and welcoming manner that has become the very epitome of northern hospitality by snapping: “Hotpot!”

He replies: “Lovely!” As predictable but loveable a response as a Quo three-chord tune, some might say.

Did he and Rick actually sample any of Betty’s famous hotpot?

“Oddly enough we didn’t. Every time she said ‘hotpot’ we just cracked up laughing. She’s a lovely woman with lovely granny eyes that go ‘ooh’ but we had to do a fair few takes because I was laughing.”

Whether they are on stage, on screen or in real life, Francis and Rick are still inseparable after four decades together. Francis says: “We’ve been through everything together. We’ve been through wives together … well, not literally.”

The highs, the lows; the ups, the down-down deeper and downs — the Quo have seen it all, and lived to tell the tale.

Basically because Francis still loves music. He berates pop queen Anastasia for personal reasons, yet his apparent dislike of the singer is trumped by his love for music. “I had to buy her record,” he says, “it’s fantastic.”

Fashions may come and go but you can rely on the Quo to stay the same. And Francis still feels like that kid from 1965 the moment he steps out on stage. “On the whole I still love it. I don’t like the travelling so much but I like the shows — that never changes. If there’s a mirror around that puts me off a bit, though.”

He recalls performing at Telford Ice Rink around 10 years ago. How was it? “It was bloody cold.”

Which brings us neatly to the question of cool — what do you think when people say you aren’t cool.

“We aren’t cool,” he answers, as quick as a Torvill and Dean twirl.

Happy birthday, Status Quo. Here’s to another 40 years.

“Let’s not be hasty,” says Francis. “I’ll be 96 then and I’m going to retire when I’m 90.”

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17th - State of Quo gig at The Greyhound, Wembley

As some compensation for the fans missing out on the Quo gig at Wembley, State of Quo performed a long set to an appreciative audience at The Greyhound pub in Wembley. This now annual event once again provided a great meeting place for Quo fans from all over the world, as far flung as Australia! Quo's producer Mike Paxman and also Rhino showed up at the gig and Mike Hrano from FTMO arranged for the Quo merchandise stall to be set up so that fans didn't miss out on those sought-after Quo goodies! The incredible three and a half hour set list follows!

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18th - Rick article in The News of the World (UK)

The following article - titled "Parfitt cancer op soon" and written by Katie Hind - appeared in the UK News of the World newspaper on December 18th.

"CANCER surgeons are preparing for an urgent laser op on Status Quo rocker Rick Parfitt this week.

The band cancelled their sell-out British tour when docs found mystery growths on the 57-year old smoker's vocal chords. And surgeons are ready to rush into action this week if, as expected, the growths are revealed to be cancer in test results due back from labs tomorrow.

Rick had a biopsy on Thursday and has spent an anxious weekend as specialists studied the tissue looking for cancer cells. Quo's manager Simon Porter said "From tests so far his doctors are assuming it is cancer.

"There are four stages to this type of cancer, and the doctors believe Rick is at stage two. When it is caught at this early stage, it can be treated by laser, rather than radiotherapy. So following the biopsy results on Monday the plan is to have laser surgery at a hospital in London before Christmas. They have to get the tumor totally removed.

"This has been a big wake-up call for Rick. He has given up smoking and realises he needs to change his lifestyle. He plans to be rocking all over the world for a long time yet."

New of the world Doctor Hilary Jones said: "Ninty-eight per cent of cases caught quickly result in a cure. He should be back on stage within weeks if he wants."

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20th - Press release to confirm that Rick Parfitt has undergone successful surgery

The following (very welcome!) press release appeared on the official Quo web site on December 20th.

"Duroc Media is delighted to announce that, after seeking expert medical opinion, Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt has been given the all clear following his throat problems which forced the cancellation of the remaining eleven dates of Quo's sell out 'The Party Ain't Over Yet' UK tour.

Simon Porter, the band's manager, said, "On Thursday 15 December, Rick saw Consultant ENT Surgeon David Howard who performed a biopsy on two suspect growths on his larynx. I'm now delighted to report that both growths have subsequently proved to be benign and have been removed by Mr Howard utilising laser surgery techniques under general anaesthetic.

"Rick will now spend the holiday period recuperating and we would like to thank all the band's fans and friends who have shown such incredible support".

Rick added, "The news that the growths are benign is the best Christmas present that I could possibly have. It has been an incredibly worrying time for me and I would like to thank all of our fans who have sent me literally thousands of messages of support in spite of their disappointment at the tour being cancelled. This has been a major wake-up call for me and I promise our fans that, after a four month break, we will more than make it up to them with some very exciting touring plans for the remainder of next year".

Quo's touring schedule for 2006 will be announced in mid January."

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28th - Swiss gig broadcast on Swiss Radio DR3

The one-off gig for Avo cigars in Basel, Switzerland, on November 10th was recorded and broadcast on Swiss radio station DR3 on December 28th.

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30th - "Piledriver" cover band gig at The Greyhound, St Kilda (Australia)

New Melbourne-based cover band Piledriver played to a large adoring crowd at St Kilda's infamous Greyhound Hotel on New Years Eve Eve! Forming the second act of a double bill with local Thin Lizzy outfit "Twin Lizzy", Piledriver showed off their stunning new backdrop and banged out a brilliant hour-long set of classic Quo material (but not afraid to show off the newer stuff either, in the form of "All Stand Up" and "Bellavista Man"). An impressive display of air guitar wizardry dominated front of stage and the appreciative crowd were begging for an encore when the 1am curfew unfortunately curtailed proceedings for the evening.

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undated - Quo article on contactmusic.com

The following amusing article - titled "The Smiths faced Status Quo collaboration" - appeared on the contactmusic.com website.

"British rockers THE SMITHS almost ended up collaborating with STATUS QUO guitarist RICK PARFITT in the mid-1980s, when the inebriated wildman stumbled into the wrong recording studio.

The Smiths were recording their classic album THE QUEEN IS DEAD in the studio next door to Status Quo, who were taping IN THE ARMY NOW.

And Parfitt, who is undergoing surgery this week to investigate a growth on his vocal chords, almost didn't realise the MORRISSEY-fronted band weren't his own bandmates.

Drummer MIKE JOYCE recalls, "We came in one day and saw this huge crate of wine. We were told, 'Keep your hands off, it's for Quo, they're next door.' So it was obvious they were on a bit of a mission.

"About a day later, our studio door opens and Rick Parfitt stumbles in, with shades on. We thought he'd come to say, 'Hi, guys,' but he hadn't. He was so p**sed that he thought we were Status Quo.

"It took him about 20 seconds to realise before he staggered off, f**king hammered, without saying a word."

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