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That was the Quo month that was ... December 2008

2nd - Quo concert at KB Hallen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Photos of Quo's gig at Copenhagen's large KB Hallen on December 2nd can be found here and here.

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5th - Quo concert at Kinnarps Arena, Jonkoping, Sweden

Quo played to a crowd of about 7000 in Jonkoping on December 5th. On the same day, tribute band Status Quiz also played in the same town, providing a Quoverdose!

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8th - "It's Christmas Time" released in the UK

Quo released their first ever Christmas single on December 8th. Entitled "It's Christmas Time", the single was made available in three different formats: CD single, 7" vinyl and as a download. The CD single and vinyl included tracks from the "Live Here Now" recording from Oxford. Due to problems with major music distributors in the UK following the demise of the Woolworths chain, few copies of the physical singles made their way onto store shelves, with the 7" vinyl being especially hard to find (and becoming an overnight collectable on EBay!).

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11th - Quo appearance on This Morning (UK ITV)

Quo appeared on the popular UK morning TV show, This Morning, on December 11th to promote the "It's Christmas Time" single. The band performed outside on London's South Bank with the chilly morning necessitating the band wear heavy coats and scarves! A large crowd had gathered to witness this interesting playback performance and a bizarre male dancer interrupted proceedings about halfway through!

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12th - Quo concert at Brighton Centre

Quo kicked off the second half of the UK leg of the 'Pictures' tour with a gig at the Brighton Centre on December 12th. The show was again recorded by "Live Here and Now" and they were ably supported by Manfred Mann's Earthband. Photos of the band in action can be found here.

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12th - Francis and Rick on BBC Breakfast News

Rick and Francis appeared on BBC Breakfast News on December 12th. The seven-minute interview included discussions about "It's Christmas Time" and 'Pictures', a video montage (of "Pictures of Matchstick Men", "Down Down", "Anniversary Waltz" and "Rockin' All Over The World"), their longevity, the move from a psych to a rock band, and the "It's Christmas Time" video.

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13th - Quo concert at Wembley Arena, London

December 13th marked that special day on the calendar when Quo hit the Wembley Arena and, as usual, the fans celebrated in style. The afternoon saw The Greyhound pub once again packed out with the Quo hardcore enjoying a great set from tribute band, Stated Quo (photos from the Greyhound can be seen here.

The Quo gig itself saw a crowd of about 9000 enjoy the usual 'Pictures' set and the band were in top form by all accounts. The following review of the show comes from Dave Ling.

"Afterwards I nipped over to Wembley Arena to see Status Quo and Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. UK appearances from the latter are as rare as rocking horse shit, so it was good to see the band on excellent form. Their 50-minute show included just seven songs (‘Captain Bobby Stout’, ‘Castles Burning (Don’t Let It Bring You Down)’, ‘Martha’s Madman’, ‘Blinded By The Light’, ‘Redemption Song’, ‘Davy’s On The Road Again’ and ‘Mighty Quinn’). Frontman Noel McCalla of Moon/Mike Rutherford/Partners In Crime fame had recovered from a heart attack and was back to his sensational, emotive best, likewise the rest of the group. Shame the audience’s reaction was so tepid but that’s Quo fans for ya. Here’s hoping the UK sees a lot more of the Earth Band in future.

It was wonderful to watch Quo over a few celebratory bevvies with my old china Nigel Glazier; we got to chink glasses as the band played ‘Dear John’, a song we’d actually appeared in the promo video for back in 1982. Having already seen the show at Croydon earlier in the tour, a few extra subtleties became apparent. I realised, for instance, that ‘Mean Girl’ was actually part of a two-song medley… at Croydon I’d been so deliriously excited to hear the ‘Dog Of Two Head’ classic, that fact pretty much passed me by. Okay, ‘Mean Girl’ was truncated and linked to another song, but you certainly won’t hear complaints from me for segueing into ‘Softer Ride’, from the immortal ‘Hello!’ album. Also noticed that the ‘Living On An Island’ reference to ‘Cruxie’ – as in John Crux, their now estranged former business manager – has been diplomatically amended to ‘Someone’. Never a band to bear a grudge… eh, fellas? If it sounds like a perfect evening, well… sadly, not quite. At encore time, ‘Junior’s Wailing’ was inexplicably exchanged with the aural monstrosity that is ‘Burning Bridges’; cue gnashed teeth, fingers being placed into ears and a burst of extremely loud humming from yours truly. Midway through I received a mocking text from Quo’s PR man, Chris Hewlett: “This one’s for you, Dave”. Bah humbug!!!"

Photos of Quo in action on the Wembley stage can be found here and here.

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14th - Quo concert at Glasgow SECC

The first of two nights in Scotland saw Quo taking on the Glasgow crowd on December 14th. Although some accounts describe the audience as a little more subdued than usual, the SECC rocked and photos of Quo doing their thing can be seen here.

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19th - Quo concert at Nottingham Arena

The following review of Quo's show at the Nottingham Arena on December 19th appeared on the This Is Nottingham website and was penned by Joel Wainwright.

"THINGS to do before you die – go and see Status Quo live… before they die! Aging rockers? Well, yes, but they're so near the speed of the chemically-enhanced days of their youth that you wouldn't notice.

The 'Pictures' tour celebrates 40 years of rock hits that not only span the musical generations from psychedelia to Christmas party singles, but appeal to the 8-80 age bracket. And the partisan Arena crowd were no different. From the young lad who strums the tennis racket in his bedroom mirror, to the fifty-somethings with their Quo tour t-shirts and the air guitars they'd brought with them.

They opened the show with Caroline, one of their best tracks, and a glorious way to get us in the mood for the next two hours of a pick and mix delivery of their greatest hits. I struggled to think of a classic Quo song that didn't get an airing, either with full-on hand-clapping and feet-stomping, or as part of seamless medleys.

All the well-known Quo traits were in force – Rossi's banter with the crowd, Parfitt's swaggering showmanship, and at times the four guitar heroes – Rossi, Parfitt, Rhino and Bown – side by side, strumming away in the familiar Quo pose. And Matt Letley's drum solos were superb.

This wasn't a chronological journey through the life of Quo, it didn't need to be. Pre-denim hits Pictures of Matchstick Men and Ice in the Sun found their place in the midst of classics Roll Over Lay Down, Rain and What You're Proposin'. But really, that's just scratching the surface – for sheer power and connection with the audience, you couldn't beat Whatever You Want and Rockin' All Over the World.

As Francis Rossi has said, this tour is all about giving the punters what they want. We wanted it all, and pretty much got it. And I expect we'll still be getting it on a 50th anniversary tour too. But go and see them before then, just in case."

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22nd - Quo concert at Birmingham NEC

The following review of Quo's show at the Birmingham NEC on December 22nd appeared in the Express and Star newspaper, entitled "Piledriving Quo still rocking on" and written by Ian Harvey.

"Back in the 70s there was only one thing louder than Status Quo... their audiences. The Quo Army was famous for raising the roof with a raucous singalong of the boogie merchants’ rock anthems.

These days the crowds may be a little more polite – and inclined to sit rather than stand – but the band themselves show little sign of slowing down or lowering their volume.

They may have had an astonishing 75 hit singles over the past 40 years, but Quo have often been the butt of music snobs’ jokes. Last night at the NEC, Quo showed why they always have the last laugh.

Surrounded by screens showing highlights from their four decades of hit-making, Quo hit the ground running with their classic opener Caroline - Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt delivering that famous heads down, legs akimbo riff.

Two hours later they left the audience still baying for more after a show which delved back to their earliest hits, including the rarely-played Pictures Of Matchstick Men, Ice In The Sun and Mean Girl.

Francis Rossi told the Express & Star just a few weeks ago that the LG Arena was the best venue in the country, and Birmingham celebrated a back catalogue that seemed never ending, from the 70s thunder of Roll Over Lay Down to the lighter moments like Living On An Island and the breathless singalong that is Rockin’ All Over The World.

Quo delivered on their promise to give fans Whatever You Want, apart from one glaring omission... rather than play their new single, It’s Christmas Time, they elected to leave the stage as it was piped over the PA system.

That led to the rather bizarre sight of most of the audience staying in their seats to sing along with it in front of an empty stage – giving themselves a big cheer at the end.

Earlier, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band entertained with a 50-minute set which showcased the astonishingly soulful voice of dreadlocked singer Noel McCalla.

With founding members Mann on keyboard and Mick Rogers on guitar, they got the crowd’s vocal cords warmed up with a short run through Do Wah Diddy Diddy, but really shone with an extended Mighty Quinn, as well as Blinded by The Light, Davey’s On The Road Again and a soulful reading of Bob Marley’s Redemption Song."

Photos of the band in action at the NEC can be seen here.

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23rd - Quo concert at Bournemouth BIC

The final show of 2008 took place at the Bournemouth International Centre on December 23rd. Photos of Quo in action at Bournemouth are available here and here.

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