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That was the Quo month that was ... December 2011

3rd - Quo concert at LG (NEC) Arena, Birmingham

Quo kicked off the "Quo Festive" tour at the LG Arena in Birmingham on December 3rd to a crowd of about 8000. Kim Wilde was up first, then Roy Wood, before Quo took the stage for their full set. The setlist was as follows, with surprises being the return of "The Wanderer", the inclusion of "Paper Plane" and the set closer being "Burning Bridges".

As had been hinted during promo appearances before the start of the tour, the "encore" consisted of Quo plus Kim and Roy all on stage to sing a couple of Christmas songs, in the shape of "Walking In A Winter Wonderland" and "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town". The encore appeared to be under-rehearsed and only Francis made any decent attempt to sing them fully. Most of the audience seemed to enjoy the festive singalong but the encore received a fan backlash on the Quo message board.

The following review of the gig appeared in the Birmingham Mail on December 5th, written by Andrew Coleman (and given four out of five stars!).

"THE countdown to Christmas has officially begun!

Status Quo’s traditional pre-Christmas tour is always a signal that the season of good cheer is here but this year the band chose Birmingham to launch their festive shows, with guests Roy Wood and Kim Wilde.

Kim warmed the crowd up nicely with hits like Kids In America and a new version of Buzzcocks’ Ever Fallen In Love. Then Birmingham’s own Roy Wood threatened to steal the show by ending his 45 minutes on stage with Blackberry Way and I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday which had most of the audience on their feet.

Quo needn’t have worried, though. As soon as the chords of opener Caroline were heard, everyone was up, air guitars at the ready.

The band announced before the show that they were planning a shorter set but to the relief of fans they stayed on stage for one hour, 40 minutes, not much less than their usual gig time.

Roy and Kim returned to the stage for Winter Wonderland and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. Let’s just say more rehearsal is needed, especially on the latter track.

The show ended in a flurry of confetti, leaving everyone in a suitably festive mood."

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4th - Quo concert at Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield

The Quo Festive tour rolled into Sheffield with a gig at the Motorpoint Arena on December 4th. The large arena was in intimate mode, but ticket sales were still disappointing at just 3,100. The setlist remained the same as Birmingham the night before, with the exception that "Gerdundula" was dropped here. The encore performance was also a little more polished, suggesting the problems at the previous gig were probably down to a lack of rehearsal.

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4th - Quo article in The Express (UK)

The following article, entitled "Status Quo: Our families paid price of fame" and written by Camilla Tominey, appeared in the UK's Express newspaper on December 4th,

"THEY have rocked all over the world, but the excesses that came with being in one of the world’s biggest rock bands have taken a huge toll.

Status Quo duo Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt admit their years of sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll meant they neglected their family life.

Parfitt, who has three-year-old twins, says his high cocaine consumption has left him unable to recollect most of the Eighties and father-of-eight Rossi also admits half the decade remains a blur. Now they are trying to make up for their years of relentless touring, though with new album Quid Pro Quo just out they are currently on a UK tour.

Rossi, 62, said: "When we were very young and once we had our first hit we wanted to stay with this. Whether that was selfish or wrong, that is what we did. But perhaps as parents we haven’t been particularly wonderful. It is just how it is. I sometimes regret that."

Things are now very different, he adds. "When we are at home we stay at home a lot. I don’t go out at all when I am at home, so I hope it balances it."

Parfitt, 63, who survived a quadruple heart bypass in 1997, confesses: "I don’t remember much about the Eighties at all. I remember going on at Live Aid in 1985. That is how it was at the time, out of our trees and enjoying ourselves."

Rossi adds: "We have periods where we don’t remember ... four or five years. It’s all a haze."

They do, however, recall the day in 2010 they were awarded the OBE. Rick said: "It was a wonderful thing to happen to us and we didn’t expect it.

"We go out in front of 30,000 people to play live. You get some butterflies but you’re not really nervous because we know what we are doing."

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5th - Francis interview on Roger Day Show (BBC Radio Solent)

Francis was interviewed by Roger Day on BBC Radio Solent on 5th December. Roger played "Rock and Roll" to kick things off, before he introduced Francis. He started off talking about the solo tour (which he said didn't go as well as he'd hoped in terms of audience numbers), then the problems of getting airplay for older acts, the good old days of Radio Caroline, and the Quo Festive arena tour. Roger then played "Better Than That" before they discussed the three chord thing, Francis's worries about the setlist, his general attitudes towards the music business, and progress with the filming of the Quo documentary (including time spent with Alan Lancaster).

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6th - Quo concert at Echo Arena, Liverpool

The Quo Festive tour rolled into Liverpool on December 6th with a well-attended show at the Echo Arena. The setlist remained the same as previous Festive shows, with the encore tightening up as the tour progresses. Keen Quo fans could also indulge in more live Quo, both before and after the main event with tribute band Stated Quo playing two sets at the nearby Pan Am bar (Rhino attended the afternoon show and got up to sing "Belavista Man" with the band!).

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7th - Quo concert at Capital FM Arena, Nottingham

The Quo Festive tour hit Nottingham on December 7th with a show at the large Capital FM Arena (which was filled to about two thirds of its capacity). Some fabulous photos of the band in action can be found here.

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9th - Quo concert at Brighton Centre

In their only sold out gig of the tour, Quo played the Brighton Centre on December 9th. This ever-popular venue saw Quo put in a solid performance of the same set (with "Gerdundula" now obviously being a one-night only inclusion at Birmingham on December 3rd) and a slideshow of photos from Kim Wilde through to Roy Wood and then Quo can be seen here.

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10th - Quo concert at Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff

Quo rolled into Cardiff on December 10th for their only gig on Welsh soil during the Quo Festive tour. The usual set unfolded and some photos of the band doing their thing to a Welsh audience in fine voice can be seen here.

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11th - Quo concert at O2 Arena, London

For the first time in their career, Quo played at the massive O2 Arena in London on December 11th, moving away from their traditional Wembley Arena gig for the first time in decades. Quo drew a substantial audience at the O2 and played the now familiar Festive tour set. The gig was recorded by Live Here Now and released as a limited edition deluxe double live CD. Photos of the band in action at the O2 can be found here.

Despite the band themselves moving on from Wembley, the long-standing tradition of Quo tributes playing at Wembley continued. The usual venue of the Greyhound pub was unavailable so The Speakeasy was turned into the Quo den for the weekend. Saturday saw an acoustic set and then a full Quo set from Stated Quo, with setlists as follows.

On Sunday, John Coghlan joined the Wembley mob and formed the "Band with no name", playing the following impressive setlist.

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13th - Quo concert at Bournemouth BIC

The ever-popular Bournemouth International Centre was the venue for Quo's next gig of the festive tour, on December 13th. An excellent turnout ensured a great atmosphere and some good photos of the band in action can be seen here.

The following review of the gig appeared in the Bournemouth Echo on December 14th.

"WE were rockin’ all over the BIC on Tuesday night when the legends that are Status Quo took to the stage.

The audience, nicely warmed up by Kim Wilde and Roy Wood of Wizard fame, roared their approval when the mighty rockers appeared as part of their 11 arena date UK winter tour.

It was hit, after hit, after hit, as the band belted out classic Quo numbers including Caroline, Just Supposin’, Whatever You Want, In The Army Now, Down Down and of course, Rockin All Over the World.

But the old favourites were interspersed with new music from latest album Quid Pro Quo such as Two Way Traffic and Rock and Roll and You, which went down equally well with the ever loyal fans.

The rock legends have been making music for more than 35 years and it’s not hard to see why – they had the entire BIC in the palm of their hands and it took just a couple of overhead hand claps to get the audience eagerly joining in and belting out choruses.

Following an encore of Burning Bridges, the band were joined on stage by Kim Wilde and Roy Wood for a Christmas finale of Walking In A Winter Wonderland and Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Quo style.

The delighted audience will be rocking all the way to Christmas."

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17th - Quo concert at SECC, Glasgow

The final show of the Quo Festive tour saw Quo heading North of the border for the Glasgow gig at the SECC on December 17th. By all accounts, Quo saved the best for last with a ripper performance to a packed house in Scotland. Rhino suffered a broken string during "Two Way Traffic" but played on until replacement could be made quickly during "The Oriental".

The Quo die-hards got the opportunity to have a very Quo-packed day, with two tributes playing during the afternoon before Quo's gig. Backwater and State of Quo rocked out at Ivory Blacks, playing very different setlists to the main attraction! The highlight of the afternoon seems to have been a twenty-odd minute rendition of "4500 Times" by State of Quo.

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25th - Francis Christmas Special on Planet Rock

Francis took the DJ seat once more for Planet Rock on Christmas Day. He kicked off with Roy Wood's classic "Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" and Francis spoke very fondly of him again. Next up was a modern Quo classic in the shape of "Two Way Traffic" and then Free's "My Brother Jake" (with Francis mentioning Rhino's love of the band). Sticking with classic old bands, he then played Cream's "Crossroads" and "2000 Miles" from The Pretenders, which he described as one of the best Christmas songs ever.

He talked about working with 10cc recently (over the UK Summer) before playing their less well known "The Second Sitting For The Last Supper". Next up was Paul Weller's "The Changingman" and Francis talked about how Rick had helped The Jam start off with some equipment and guitar lessons! Continuing his Muse obsession, he then played "Stockholm Syndrome" before the inevitable spin of "It's Christmas Time" which Francis described as sounding like Postman Pat!

Next up was Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" and Led Zeppelin's "The Ocean" before he closed out with, surprise surprise, an ELO song in the shape of "Mr Blue Sky".

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