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That was the Quo month that was ... December 2006



1st - Quo concert at City Hall, Hull

Photos of Quo in action at Hull's City Hall on December 1st are available here.

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1st - Quo article in the Mirror (UK)

The following article, entitled "Blame It On The Boogie", appeared in the UK Mirror on December 1st.

"STATUS Quo’s Commanders-in-Chief, Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt, have steered their boogie bus through 39 years of rocking magic and chemical excess. The Quo may have been taken for granted, even ridiculed, but with more than 100m sales under their belts and more hit singles than any other UK band (62), Rick and Francis have long since learned to just laugh at their critics.

Relaxing in the lobby of a central London radio production company, Parfitt, 58, and Rossi, 57, are affable and good-humoured gentlemen of rock. On the eve of their latest marathon tour, their new DVD – Just Doin’ It, recorded earlier this year in Birmingham – shows they are at the peak of their powers.

“In the last five years, I’ve definitely become a better player because I practise,” reveals Francis. “One bad thing if you become successful when you’re young, is that you think, ‘I know what I’m doing. I don’t need to learn anything’. I used to think scales had nothing to do with what I did, but they improve your playing and your confidence.”

Rick adds, “This band is far superior to the original line-up and in the ’80s – in the way it performs, its attitude toward the audience, the togetherness. There’s no comparison.”

The Quo came of age with their psychedelic pop classic Pictures Of Matchstick Men, a debut chart hit in 1968. But they quickly became their own men, championing denim and long hair, which gelled perfectly with their rifftastic bluesy-orientated chart smashes.

There have been wobbles and near tragedies – Parfitt survived a heart bypass operation and a throat cancer scare, while Rossi lost much of his nose through cocaine abuse – but the Quo’s deep roots have ensured their survival.

“I still look to Little Richard,” says Francis. “That’s where we get the idea of energy. He commits physically to the music. I feel if I don’t commit onstage I’m not doing it properly.”

They scan today’s musical horizon in the hope of finding bands to take on the tradition, but struggle to name many.

“I think Oasis are a really good band,” says Rick, “but they just stand there staring at their shoes. There’s nothing physical going on. Even though we are getting on a bit we still try to move around onstage, keep it looking lively.”

The Quo reckon they’ve played an estimated 6,000 gigs in their career and still embark on some of the longest tours on the calendar but, amazingly, they still admit to pre-match nerves.

“You get a little wound up before you go on,” admits Rick. “But that’s a good thing. You start pacing, but you gotta do that because quite often we have a kip before a show. There’s nothing like having a nap in the afternoon.” “It’s reassuring,” confirms Francis. “You’re in the venue, everything is ticking over nicely, nothing can go wrong. Lovely, I can have a nice nap.”

If that’s what it takes to keep them match fit, so be it. The Quo magic is too potent to be frittered away by other indulgences.

“A lot of the partying has gone,” admits Rick, “because we aren’t as young as we used to be and it just doesn’t work. Now we find the playing so much more precise and we’re so much more together. I used to think you had to be a bit pissed to go out there and have fun, but you don’t. The way to have real fun is to go out stone cold sober.

“We love what we do and the very nice lifestyle it gives us, and we nurture and look after it because we’ve wanted to do this from when we were really young kids. So we are careful with it. It’s precious to us and we’d miss it greatly if it wasn’t here.”

And rock ’n’ roll would certainly be sorely diminished without their timeless, hard-driving, fun-loving presence.

The Just Doin’ It DVD is out today. For tour dates see www.statusquo.co.uk"

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2nd - Quo concert at City Hall, Newcastle

Photos of Quo in action at Newcastle's City Hall on December 2nd are available here.

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6th - Quo concert at Sheffield Arena

Photos of Quo in action at Sheffield Arena on December 6th are available here.

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8th - Quo article in the Birmingham Evening Mail

The following article, entitled "Three chord T-shirt perfect for Quo duo" and written by Andy Coleman, appeared in the Birmingham Mail on December 8th.

"AUSTRALIAN band Twenty-sevens hit the right note with Status Quo when guitarist Steve Tyson was spotted wearing a designer T-shirt.

Twentysevens were supporting the Quo during one of their Aussie tours when Quo man Rick Parfitt saw him sporting the Paul Smith shirt.

"It had a picture of a fretboard with three chords and the message 'Now start a band' on it," reveals 53-year-old Steve. "Rick said, 'I have got to have a shirt like that'. Francis Rossi just commented 'We started a band using two chords!'."

The two groups got on so well Twentysevens were invited to join Quo on their UK tour which plays Birmingham NEC tomorrow. But Steve says Rick is set to be disappointed if he's expecting to receive the Paul Smith shirt.

"I've searched high and low for another one but I can't track one down," he says. Twentysevens began life as three-fifths of folk-rockers Rough Red who enjoyed a measure of success on the folk festival circuit. "We toured Europe four times and even played the Montreux Jazz Festival," Steve says.

A desire for a more rock and blues-based sound led to Steve, bassist John Barr, and drummer Dave Parnell forming Twentysevens. Admits Steve: "I got back to my rock roots, and the more we played live the rockier we became.

"We grew up listening to the great acts of the '60s, and Quo was very much a part of that scene." Guided by a host of influences, the band's name alludes to rock icons like Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin , Kurt Cobain and Jeff Buckley who all died at the age of 27.

Although their current album, Songs From The Middle Ages, is unavailable in the UK the band has prepared a special Quo tour EP which will be available at the gigs. "The EP is more representative of the band, with lots of electric guitar on it. The album is more acoustic."

Twentysevens support Status Quo at Birmingham NEC Arena tomorrow. Tickets, priced £28.50 plus booking and transaction fee, from 0870 909 4133."

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9th - Quo concert at Birmingham NEC Arena

The following review of Quo's gig at the NEC on December 9th appeared in the Birmingham Evening Mail and was again penned by Andy Coleman.

"THIS time last year Midland Status Quo fans were in a deep depression because the band's much anticipated pre-Christmas NEC gig was cancelled due to guitarist Rick Parfitt's ill-health.

With Parfitt well on the way to full recovery Quo have more than made up for the disappointment, with Saturday's show their third visit to the West Midlands in seven months.

"We didn't expect anyone to turn up tonight," quipped frontman Francis Rossi as he surveyed the near 7,000-strong NEC crowd. He'd obviously underestimated the loyalty of the region's Quo army who do all they can to see the veteran rockers whenever they can.

And the fans were well rewarded on Saturday. With just about everyone in the building on their feet from the first chords of opener Caroline - and staying there till the final notes of Bye Bye Johnny nearly two hours later - the band offered a potent mix of hits, medleys and fan favourites.

Parfitt's voice is still not 100 per cent after his throat operation 12 months ago to remove a suspected cancerous tumour but he stormed through Rain and Creepin' Up On You with ease.

On other tracks later in the show he had sterling vocal support from keyboard player Andy Bown. So the party ain't over yet for Status Quo and they were left in no doubt that as long as they continue rockin' all over the world they'll be welcome at the NEC."

A series of excellent professional photos from this gig are available here.

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10th - Francis interview in Wales On Sunday newspaper

The following article, titled "Rossi: the big interview" and authored by Nathan Bevan, appeared in the "Wales On Sunday" newspaper on December 10th.

"FRANCIS Rossi is telling me all about the time his nose fell off, writes NATHAN BEVAN.

It was during the 80s – way before anyone had heard of modern cocaine casualties like Daniella Westbrook – and the perma-pony-tailed Status Quo singer was hoovering up so much white powder that he lost part of his hooter.

“I was in the shower one morning and I noticed this trickle of blood, then – doink! – a lump of it just landed on the floor,” says Rossi, back-stage in Llandudno on the band’s 40th anniversary tour. I’d snorted so much of the stuff that I’d burned my septum clean away.”

It’s not the sort of excess you’d expect from no-nonsense, ‘pie and a pint’ rockers like the Quo – a band so synonymous with regular British blokeishness, they were once immortalised in their own line of denim and leather Toby jugs.

But, after four decades of playing the same three chords, the jovial, straight-talking Rossi – now straight since ‘98 – is spilling the beans on their boozy bust-ups and break-downs, the health scares and heart surgery and their three-in-a bed romps with groupies and what Live Aid was really like.

“There were a lot of egos around that day,” laughs Francis, remembering the Quo’s legendary opening performance at Bob Geldof’s marathon musical fund-raiser at Wembley Stadium in 1985.

“Madonna had an entourage of about 15 people just to help her go for a pee, I thought that was bloody hilarious,” he adds.

The 57-year-old Londoner, dubbed The Grand Old Man Of Rock, bats away my suggestion that electing to go on first was a remarkably selfless gesture.

“You’d think that, wouldn’t you, but I realised that the first quarter of an hour was the bit of the concert absolutely everyone was guaranteed to watch,” Francis chuckles.

And being seen by an estimated 1.5 billion viewers worldwide must have done wonders for your record sales, surely?

“Well, at that time we had no idea it was going to be as big as it was,” he starts sheepishly, “so we didn’t even have anything out to flog. It ended up doing diddly for our bank accounts – but, to be honest, we were too sloshed to care.”

Anyway, it’s hardly like Francis has ever been on his uppers, the Quo having enjoyed more hits than any other group in rock and roll history – more than 60 in total, including such wedding reception staples as Rockin’ All Over The World and Down, Down (Deeper And Down).

But it’s been far from a smooth ride since he and partner-in-blue jeans Rick Parfitt met at Butlin’s in Minehead in 1962. The stress and temptations of heavy touring hit them both hard – the tousled-haired blonde guitarist in particular developing a penchant for getting blotto and having the odd bunk-up with willing fans.

“The odd bunk-up?! You could call it that,” snorts Francis. “Let’s just say that Rick likes to get himself in trouble.”

The 58-year-old six-stringer hit rock bottom – not to mention the tabloid front pages – a few years ago when he awoke from a weekend bender in a Harrowgate hotel bed with a couple of audience members – namely an electrician look-a-like named Nigel and his wife Angie.

Thrice-married Rick’s bad behaviour would take its toll on both his wallet – he is said to have paid out millions in divorce settlements – and his health – with a quadruple heart by-pass almost putting the kibosh on the Quo in 1997. Almost, but not quite.

“Rick’s got the constitution of an ox,” says Francis, of his band mate’s flagrant disregard of doctors’ warnings to change his wild ways, even after undergoing tests for suspected throat cancer late last year.

“He still drinks exactly the same now,” he adds, bristling with a mixture of anger and exasperation.

“You’d think something like that would make him sober up, but that’s the problem with Rick, he doesn’t think he’s doing anything wrong.”

With Parfitt relishing in the role of party animal, Francis likes nothing more than to go home after a show and close his front door.

In one interview, Parfitt mocked his band mate’s love of popping on his reading glasses and doing the crossword before a gig, calling him ‘Uncle Bulgaria’.

“Yeah, we’re chalk and cheese, Rick and me,” admits Francis.

Also, didn’t he say that you were the last person he’d want to see on his day off? “I wouldn’t be surprised, when we aren’t working we don’t actually see that much of each other,” he adds.

“But when you play nearly 200 shows a year together and spend the rest of the time doing promo or recording, that really doesn’t leave much time when you’re not joined at the hip.”

Francis, you make it sound like torture.

“Most days I do feel like packing it in, it’s true,” he says, the bonhomie suddenly vanishing for a moment.

“But once I get up there on stage with Rick and we’re jamming it’s great.”

And thank God for that, because in this topsy-turvy, ever changing world the Quo – staying true to the Latin meaning of their name – have remained constant.

And their entry in to the parthenon of UK rock legends was sealed when they recently appeared on the cloth-capped, cobblestone TV institution that is Coronation Street.

“Doing Corrie was a great experience and did wonders for the band’s profile,” says Francis, who admits he’s caught the acting bug since guest-starring on the soap.

“Hardly what you’d call acting, mate,” he laughs, “but we were supposed to be doing a film for German TV where the Quo get caught up in an illegal trade in human organs and go head to head with the Russian mafia – you know, as you do!”

And after surviving funk, punk, disco and grunge – and even gun-totting Eastern Bloc heavies – it seems nothing can stop Rossi and Co.

“I am surprised we’re still going,” says Francis. “Back when we were starting out, being a rock star wasn’t considered a proper job by my parents’ generation.

“They’d rather I’d gone into the family business and been an ice-cream man – you know, them being proper Italians and all that.”

He gives a big sigh before heading off to sound-check.

“I suppose I’m still trying to prove the old man and old girl wrong.”

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12th - Quo concert at Nottingham Arena

The first of three shows for me on this UK tour would be at the sizeable Nottingham Arena on December 12th. The last show I saw in Nottingham was quite a few years ago at the Royal Centre, so it was good to check out this "new" venue (and surprising to see an ice hockey rink as part of the same complex!). Arriving fairly early, there were plenty of fans around and the atmosphere in the bar was one of high expectancy of a great show. Picking up my ticket, I was pleased to learn that Rhino had included a "Meet and Greet" pass as part of the deal, so that was a great surprise! I decided to miss the support bands here and instead caught up with other Quo fans, before being escorted to stage left at about 8.30 to queue up to meet the band!

Quo rocking Nottingham There were a large group meeting Quo here, perhaps 25 or 30 all up, so the band's time was limited with each one of us. However, they did their best to chat to everyone as usual and it was special for Matt in that his family were there for this show. All the band looked good, seemed in good humour and showed no signs of stage nerves despite the "10 minute warning" going off while we were doing the meet & greet! It's always great to meet the band and it was especially good to say g'day to Rhino and thank him for the pass. It was a bit of a rush to get from the meet & greet and to my seat on the other side of the venue, on the elevated seating to the right of the stage. This position offered a reasonable view of the stage and a great perspective of the entire audience, which appeared to number 5-6000.

From the off, it was clear that this crowd were up for it with most of the audience on their feet and staying that way throughout the 1 hour and 50 minutes that Quo graced the stage. The usual Winter tour set was in evidence here including "Burning Bridges" but no "Junior's Wailing" and Rick's voice was noticably stronger than the last time I saw the band in Australia in May. The lengthy and changed set was well received and this was a thoroughly enjoyable performance, as I'm sure the assembled masses would agree!

The following journalist review of Quo's show at Nottingham Arena on December 12th appeared on the This Is Nottingham site and was written by Lisa Cherry-Downes.

"If Status Quo came in a tin, the label would say 'contains good clean no-nonsense rock 'n' roll'. And that's exactly what you'd get.

Perhaps that is the secret of their phenomenal success - give the fans 'whatever they want' - and plenty of it. It did the trick last night when they played their back catalogue of rock anthems to an almost full-house of at times ecstatic aficionados.

Starting with Caroline, they went on to complete a one-hour 50-minute play list that read like a 'Best of' album sleeve. With frequent changes of instrument Rick Parfitt, shirt unbuttoned to below the chest, churned out those familiar chords on rhythm guitar, occasionally taking the lead, while a charismatic Francis Rossi proved an affable frontman.

The crowd, whose ages probably spanned six to 86, clapped, tapped and rocked their way through the set, with more than half never taking to their seats.

The band performed crowd-pleaser after crowd-pleaser, whipping the audience up to an air guitar lover's finale of Down Down, Whatever You Want and Rocking All Over the World.

The band performed like they were at a party they had held a thousand times but were still clearly enjoying. Maybe not cool or sophisticated, but good fun."

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13th - Quo concert at Telford International Arena

The second of my UK shows on this tour marked the 20th anniversary of my first live Quo gig at Birmingham NEC on December 13th, 1986! The venue for this anniversary gig was the fairly new and large International Arena in Telford. This hangar-like venue would prove to be a challenge soundwise but the 2-3000 strong crowd seemed to enjoy the show regardless.

An early arrival was rewarded by a good spot in the queue for this all-standing gig and, when the doors opened at about 7pm, it was the usual rush to the barrier. I ended up dead centre in front of Francis, just one off the barrier, so was more than happy with that! Being a standing affair, this was an opportunity to check out the support acts for the first time too. First up was Australian band Twentysevens who played the support role for the entire UK tour after Quo took a shine to them at the Twin Towns show in Australia in May. The Aussie boys did a fine job of warming up the audience and, though their material was not the ideal fodder, their efforts were well-rewarded and they clearly made a few new fans along the way with their self-effacing larikin humour hitting a chord with the Quo fans. Next up, quite a contrast in the shape of young Swiss outfit, Vivian. They kicked off in loud and raucous style but, as their set progressed, they settled for more melodic material that seemed to go down well. A familiar sight on recent European Quo tours, the young band worked very hard and received a strong reception from the packed hall as Quo showtime approached.

Quo appeared at 9pm and blasted the new Arena from the get go. Francis's first talky bit with the crowd clearly indicated the band's dis-satisfaction with the new venue, with him complaining about backstage facilities and too many rules. He would complain again later in the show, so it seems unlikely the Quo camp will be revisiting this venue any time soon! Apart from that, Francis was in great cheeky form up front and seemed to enjoy the gig, although other members of the band (Rick, in particular) appeared disinterested at times. The set was the now familiar Winter tour set with "Burning Bridges" dropped unsurprisingly given the band's desire to get out of Telford asap! From my position up front, the sound was OK but not brilliant, though other members of the audience (and the sound guy) seemed very happy with it - this was surprising considering the height of the venue and the fact that the only separator of the Quo auditorium was a curtain (with an equal, if not bigger, sized area the other side of it). A good if not great show, perhaps marred by the band's poor experience with the venue.

Matt's drum solo Rhino rocking Telford The Gerdundula sketch in Telford

The following review of Quo's show at Telford International Arena on December 13th appeared in the Shropshire Star newspaper, titled "Quo can still get fans rocking" and written by James Shaw.

"More than 1,600 fans were rockin’ all over Telford last night as Status Quo played in the town for the first time in more than 14 years.The ageing rockers, whose last gig in the county was held at town’s ice rink in 1992, sent their fans home happy after tearing through an extensive back catalogue at the International Centre.

In a set lasting about 90 minutes, Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi proved why they have been one of the biggest acts in rock for over 40 years.

Much had been made of Parfitt’s throat cancer scare last year - which caused the cancellation of the last concert in Telford - but he was in fine voice as they kicked off their set with the classic Caroline.

From a high octane start, there were few chances for the band to let up as they quickly moved onto a string of 70s classics, including Fort Five Hundred Times.

Fans were also given numbers from the 2002 Heavy Traffic album, including All Stand Up (Never Say Never) and Going Oriental.

Long-time fan Andy Dodd, from Ketley in Telford, said the band sounded just as good as they did 30 years ago.

“They are just brilliant and it is about time they were here in Telford,” he said. “I saw them all those years ago and they are just as young! They still get the crowd going.”

Catherine Edwards, from Horsehay, said the band had a huge connection with its fans.

“I have been following them for years and they just have fun,” she said. “They enjoy themselves and they make you feel good.”

The band finished with a flourish as they launched into a majestic threesome of Down Down, Whatever You Want and Rockin’ All Over The World.

But like all good rockers, they were not prepared to end it there and they returned for an encore that included the evergreen In The Army Now and Bye Bye Johnny.

Lyndon Evans, from Pontesbury, has been following the band for more than 30 years and said their music never goes out of fashion.

He said: “Their music is a lot of fun and is just ageless.”

Photos from the Telford show can be found here.

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15th - Quo concert at Brighton Centre

Photos from Quo's sell-out show at Brighton Centre on December 15th can be found here and here.

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15th - Francis interview in the Daily Record newspaper

The following interview with Francis, titled "Rockin' the world isn't enough" and conducted by Rick Fulton, appeared in Scotland's Daily Record newspaper on December 15th.

"Despite their 40-year career and entries in the record books, singer Francis Rossi isn't happy with Status Quo's story so far.

They have had more hit singles than any other band - ever. Their record sales exceed 118 million, they've appeared on Coronation Street and were a subject on Mastermind.

Yet Status Quo still reckon they are music's outsiders.

The band first found fame in 1967 with their hippy-inspired Pictures of Matchstick Men (recently used in a Gordon's Gin advert on TV) before launching their head banging, guitar swaying sound on a ready world.

But, as they prepare for their latest gigs in Scotland, frontman Francis Rossi, 57, grumbles about almost everything.

He said: "We've been together over 40 years, had 60-odd singles and we still see ourselves as outsiders. We always have.

"We feel establishment because we've been around that long but I still feel we are struggling against the machine.

"Quo have always been unfashionable, but we have always put up a fight."

Together with Rick Parfitt, 58, plus a changing line-up over the years, Rossi's Quo hold the record for more hit singles than any other band, both international and British, in UK chart history.

And - despite their three-chord style being the butt of musical jokes - it is that success that drives them on. Francis said: "I still want No.1s, loads of them. When we were younger we didn't want to be a one-hit wonder.

"Now the idea is to go on as long as we can - but we are slowing now. If I was president I'd do two terms and then be looked after for life. As a musician you do an album, do a tour and then say, 'right, we'd better do another.'

"We might play the best gig of any band anywhere but what do you do the next night? You can't say, 'We were great last night, thank you.' You have to do it again."

Francis is funny and self-deprecating, yet he reckons the grass is greener elsewhere. On touring, he moaned: "I am eternally looking forward to going home but I can't look forward to going home unless I go away."

You'd think after more than 40 years and hits Rockin' All Over The World, What You're Proposin', In The Army Now, Caroline and Down Down (revealed posthumously as one of John Peel's favourite tunes) that he wouldn't worry about money - but you'd be wrong.

He said: "I have a high income but you always need more money. I'm like everybody else of my age who's starting to realise their pension plan isn't going to work. I have eight children and live in a very nice place which costs a lot and I like to live well.

"I'm worried my standard of living is going to run out so I need to keep touring or have to really rein in and live a life that's almost destitute because it's not going to last me."

That's probably why the boys do around 120 gigs a year.

AND just look at Rick - whose rock 'n' roll lifestyle caught up with him in 1997 when he was rushed to hospital for an emergency quadruple heart-bypass. Then this time last year it was announced he was undergoing tests for throat cancer.

Their tour was cancelled and the growths in his throat were found to be benign and were removed. Francis has also battled his problems, most famously the cocaine addiction which led to a piece of his nose falling off in the shower.

He admitted: "I used to worry about Rick but I don't anymore. If he can come through a quadruple heart-bypass by having a cigarette and a glass of wine the following morning I think he'll be fine."

Rick certainly looked fine last month when they had a laugh at themselves for Children In Need with clean queens Kim and Aggie in How Clean Is Your Gig?

With a new concert DVD Just Doin' It Live out for Christmas and the current tour, let's hope Francis feels a bit happier. For one thing, he's looking forward to seeing his Scots fans in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

He said: "Scottish people are so intense. If they like you, you really know it and if they don't, you f******know it.

"We used to get more money for going to Scotland because if they didn't like you, you'd get punched."

Now Status Quo just get cheered. They play Glasgow's SECC on Sunday, Edinburgh's Usher Hall on Tuesday and Aberdeen ECC on Wednesday."

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16th - State of Quo at The Greyhound, Wembley

The annual gathering of Quo fans before the Quo gig at Wembley took place, as always, in The Greyhound pub with entertainment provided by Quo tribute band, State of Quo. This event seems to get bigger and bigger, but the pub stays the same size so it's a pretty packed affair now. It was awesome walking into the pub at about 1pm to find it already very busy and an array of familiar faces greeted me, including Paul and Mikey from the band. I spent a while milling around catching up with old friends (too many to mention by name here!) before an unusual musical event took place...

For those with good memories of 80s rock music, the name "Spider" will be very familiar. Original members Colin Harkness and Sniffa hadn't played together for years but Mikey and Paul persuaded them to break their drought with a mini-set to the Quo fans. Mikey took on the drums while Paul backed on guitar and "Spider of Quo" (or is it "State of Spider"?!) belted out four of their best known boogie rockers to the encouragable Quo audience. This was a largely unexpected highlight of the afternoon.

It wouldn't be too long before State of Quo took the stage (including new, slightly scared!, bassist Chris) and kicked off what would become a three hour epic set! All the usual classics were there, music to the ears of those tired of the same old, same old from Quo themselves. Check out this for a setlist!

During the State of Quo set, a large TV camera could be seen filming the audience and the band and it was in fact a film crew working on a documentary for current Quo support band, Twentysevens, the members of which were also enjoying the Greyhound experience! Also lurking in the shadows was Bob Young, who was amiably meeting fans and signing copies of the new book. I took the chance to say g'day to him and had a brief chat, a serious highlight of this trip to the UK and a photo I've longed to have!

The "Greyhound Experience" is one not to be missed by any Quo fan and the event goes from strength to strength. Thanks to all the old friends who made my day so memorable and for an excellent review of the day's proceedings (and some photos) from Tracy Turner, click here.

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16th - Quo concert at Wembley Arena

Quo rocking Wembley Quo notched up gig number 40 at Wembley Arena on December 16th, yet another Quo record! The recently-refurbished Arena was home to a reasonable crowd of 6-8000 who were in a good party mood as always. The audience included the usual overseas contingents from Holland and Germany, plus oddballs from USA and Australia! As my last gig of this mini-tour, a Wembley show was a good way to finish off.

My seat was in row 4 but unfortunately well off to the right, in front of the PA, so I got a head-shattering dose of Rhino's bass all night! With the large stage on offer here, Quo used it to full effect and the new lighting show looked amazing. As is traditional by now, "Burning Bridges" made a comeback and was rewarded by an amazing audience release of balloons up front which made the Arena look great during this good-time song. A strong Quo performance here to a willing crowd and a good way to polish off yet another Quo tour for me!

The following review of the Wembley show appeared in The Times and was written by Pete Paphides (who awarded the show four out of five stars).

"The adage about not fixing what wasn’t broken in the first place fits few bands as snugly as Status Quo. The group’s two linchpins, Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt, worked out a long time ago that the key to longevity lies in working out what you’re good at and sticking to it doggedly. In fact, you suspect that Parfitt and Rossi have stopped perceiving time in a linear way.

It’s an outlook that seems to have arrested the ageing process too. Save for two inches of Rossi’s hairline, the band’s two frontmen look eerily identical to their late 1970s selves.

A career blip in the Nineties has clearly been forgotten. As such, when they opened with the ruthlessly functional boogie of Caroline, it was hard not to take it as a statement of intent. Almost everything about this performance was thoroughly unreconstructed — from the overhead “QUO”, which could have been flashing over them at a rainy 1970s Knebworth, to The Oriental, a paean to East Asian women that doesn’t bear repeating. There was something strangely reassuring about watching Parfitt and Rossi mooching in and out of each other’s personal space like two old family dogs.

When music critics talk about the mantric power of Seventies rock, it isn’t long before you hear German avant-gardists such as Can and Neu mentioned. In their way, though, there’s something just as uncompromising about Status Quo. Indeed, in a set that drew heavily from their earlier years, you realised just how their influence has been overlooked at times. If Rick Parfitt’s Union Jack guitar resembled the one favoured by Noel Gallagher, the steamroller riffing of Something ’bout You Baby I Like evoked about half a dozen Oasis singles.

An extended medley covered as much ground as possible, taking in lesser-known tunes. Even when they were not trying to compress several songs into one continuous performance, distinguishing between hits was a task to fox even those who had come with their inflatable guitars. Whatever You Want turned out to be Roll Over Lay Down. They had already played Caroline, so this one had to be Down Down . By the time they played Whatever You Want another German band sprang to mind. Just as Kraftwerk have constructed robots of themselves to succeed their mortal selves, it’s no great leap of the imagination to picture an animatronic Rossi and Parfitt, shadowing each other on these riffs in perpetuity. On tonight’s form, however, they won’t be needed for some time."

Some great photos of the setting up of the Wembley stage can be seen here.

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17th - Quo concert at SECC, Glasgow

Photos from the Quo show in Glasgow on December 17th are available here.

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20th - Quo concert at Aberdeen Exhibition Hall

The following review of Quo's sell-out show in Aberdeen on December 20th appeared on the This Is North Scotland website, titled "Quo keep the fans rocking on".

"The Frost covered roof of Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre rattled with the noise. Below a sea of denim-clad rockers, some waving inflatable guitars, tried to bounce their way into the Guinness Book of Records. It could only mean one thing ... Status Quo were back in town.

The lads turned up the heat at the chilly centre from the moment they opened with their classic hit, Caroline.

Francis Rossi, wearing his trademark white grandad-style shirt, black waistcoat, jeans and white trainers was in chatty mood and spoke to the audience like they were old friends.

Rossi, Rhino Edwards and Rick Parfitt - looking fit and in fine voice - were in grand form, though Rossi said he was in agony with an injured right hand.

You couldn't tell from his playing. It was spot on, as was keyboard wizard's Andrew Bown who showed his versatility by playing keyboards, guitar and harmonica.

Quo seem to get as much pleasure from playing as the audience do from hearing them play their hits live.

They may be long in the tooth now but as they proved last night, they've still got plenty of bite."

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undated - "A Week in the Life of Francis Rossi" in The Scotsman Online

The following interview with Francis, conducted by Jessica Kiddle, appeared in The Scotsman Online in December.

MONDAY

Today I had a day off from touring - it was a great feeling when I went to bed after our Paris gig on Sunday to know that I had nothing to do the next day. I spent most of the day on the tour bus as we made our way from Paris to Belfast. We used to fly a lot more in the past but air travel involves so much hassle at the moment that I prefer to go by road. We got mobbed by fans on the ferry across to Ireland and I spent most of the afternoon on my own in the video lounge - you tend not to get noticed quite as often on your own, whereas when I sit with Rick [Parfitt] we just look like one giant Status Quo advert.

TUESDAY

Rick and I went to the venue in Belfast in the morning and sat doing the crossword. Technically, we don't have to be down to rehearse until later, but I like our catering - at the moment we have a particularly good chef who makes the best monkfish with green beans for my main meal of the day - which I always eat at around 2pm on tour so everything's digested by the time we go on stage. In the afternoon came the "grip and grin" - whereby we meet a group of competition winners before the concert and have photos taken with them and then we played to a very keen Irish crowd.

WEDNESDAY

We travelled overnight to Dublin - I think we arrived at around 2am - where some of the band checked into the hotel. I prefer to stay on the bus these days. It's a lot bigger than your average coach and I have a living room and a bedroom area with a big double bed that is installed especially for me every time we tour. We did a book signing in the city centre that afternoon and that night played at The Point Theatre in Dublin - an old warehouse and a great venue.

THURSDAY

It was another overnight trip to Killarney tonight and then my normal routine of getting up and showering about midday and heading to the venue. The chef cooked risotto for me for dinner and then I sat about playing my guitar, slept in my chair for a bit and hung around until the gig that night.

FRIDAY

Today was the start of a two-week break for us so I spent the day travelling home to Surrey. I always head home feeling absolutely fine and then, when I get there, the tiredness hits and I feel awful and don't know what I would have done without a rest.

THE WEEKEND

I spent the weekend festering at home. I went to a nearby Italian café for a fry-up breakfast and did make it to the gym. However, I spent most of the time doing my crossword and practising guitar. I also met up with a singer-songwriter friend of mine as we're working on a few songs together and I worked on my daughter's music as she's making an album too.

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undated - Quo unveil their plaque at the Wembley "Square of Fame"

The following press release was issued by Wembley to mark Quo's induction into the new "Square of Fame".

"Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt - the original members of Status Quo - have unveiled a plaque of their handprints in Wembley's Square of Fame, which lies at the heart of Quintain Estates and Development PLC's Wembley regeneration project. Status Quo are the third entrants into the Square of Fame, in Arena Square. The concept of the Square of Fame was inspired by Hollywood's famous 'Walk of Fame' and will include a strictly limited number of plaques incorporating the handprint, footprint or signature of iconic music stars.

Rossi and Parfitt join Madonna and Cliff Richard in having a permanent cast of their hands in the Square of Fame. The Status Quo members unveiled their plaque ahead of their performance at the Wembley Arena, as they near the close of their Just Doin' It UK tour in this, their 40th anniversary year.

Quo first played Wembley Arena in 1969 and have now performed at the venue no less than 40 times - a record matched by no other rock band. A previous gig at Wembley put them into the Guinness Book of Records when they played four British shows in 11 hours and 11 minutes, in Sheffield, Glasgow, Birmingham and Wembley.

Quo hold several other records - they have made more appearances on BBC TV's 'Top of the Pops' than any other group (106), hold the record for more hit singles than any other band in UK chart history, and are second only to the Rolling Stones for the number of hit albums in the British chart (33). It is estimated that Quo have played over 6000 live shows to a total audience in excess of 25 million people. In doing so, the band has travelled some four million miles and spent 23 years away from home.

Nick Shattock, Deputy Chief Executive of Quintain Estates and Development PLC commented: "Wembley is a venue for legends and I am delighted to see these legends of rock taking their permanent place in the Wembley Square of Fame."

The Square of Fame, which fronts the transformed Wembley Arena, incorporates Europe's largest interactive fountain, lighting and music experience.

The Square of Fame (which is the size of Leicester Square) sets the scene for Quintain's transformation of the area with the regeneration of over 70 acres of land around the new Wembley Stadium into up to 8 million sq ft of residential, retail, commercial and leisure space. The scheme will form the largest regeneration project undertaken in London by a single developer and is unique in providing true mixed-use development on an unprecedented scale. The development will see the creation of up to 7,000 new jobs, provide high quality housing, improve facilities for the local community and attract an estimated £150 million per year into the local economy."

Revisit the December 2006 event list