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That was the Quo month that was ... February 2009

2nd - The North gig at The Old Oak, Cork, Ireland

In addition to their support slot for Quo in Ireland, The North played a pub gig at The Old Oak in Cork on February 2nd. The gig was advertised in Killarney and a few Quo fans turned out to watch them play a late-night set to an enthusiastic audience.

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3rd - Quo concert at Heritage Hotel, Portlaoise, Ireland

Quo played one of their smallest gigs in years at the Heritage Hotel on the second night of the Irish tour on February 3rd. Quo pulled out an awesome performance to an 1100-strong audience in the function room and by all accounts it was seriously loud! Photos of the band in action at Portlaoise can be found here.

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3rd - Rhino article in The Blackpool Gazette (UK)

The following article, titled "Rock legend drops in on Blackpool chippy" and written by Helen Steel, appeared in the Blackpool Gazette newspaper on February 3rd.

"AN AWARD-winning chippy will serve Whatever You Want – including rock and roll legends to share your fish and chips with. Shirley Jones and Gill Banks were tucking into their pre-Quo concert haddock at a Marton chip shop when bassist John "Rhino" Edwards unexpectedly pulled up a chair.

With just hours to go before his sell-out gig at the Opera House, the Rhino dropped in at The Cottage Fish and Chip Restaurant for some award-winning fish and chip fuel to keep him rockin' all over the stage.

Not only did the kind-hearted rocker give the adoring fans a lift to the gig – he insisted on taking the scenic route and leading them backstage.

Shirley Jones, 43, from Poulton, said, "It was so surreal, like a dream come true. Gill has been to dozens of concerts and I have loved them for ages.

"He chatted with us for ages, and we couldn't believe it when he offered us a lift. It wasn't what we were expecting – he was using a friend's battered old Renault.

"But he said he loved getting a feel for Blackpool before performing, so drove us all the way down the Prom, asking us to point out any landmarks.

"When we got there, he took us backstage, and even on stage, showing us all the instruments. We are still in shock now."

Staff at Newhouse Road restaurant had directed the Rhino to a table with Mrs Jones and Gill Banks, 50, from Marton.

Both the Quo fans work as civil servants at Warbreck House.

Owners Liz Horsley and husband Brian were equally surprised to see a lone Quo member walk in.

Mrs Horsley said: "We've had famous people in before but John Edwards was definitely the most fun. He said the other members didn't like to eat before the concert but he wanted a Blackpool speciality.

"He gave our fish and chips nine-and-a-half out of ten, and said it would have been 10 if we'd cut his chip butty into triangles!

"Throughout the show he kept pointing at us then at his stomach, mouthing that he was still really full. It's definitely an evening we will never forget."

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4th - Quo concert at Waterfront Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland

The following review of Quo's concert in Belfast on February 4th appeared in the Belfast Telegraph on February 5th, entitled "Quo just keep on rockin" and penned by Michael Conaghan.

"After a suitably Spinal Tap-ish fanfare, Status Quo opened with the brutal riffing of Sweet Caroline, thereby putting to rest all those rumours of a techno makeover.

Francis Rossi is not the chap to ask: ‘How do you like our new direction?'

And yet Quo once made the sideways leap from the cod psychedelia of Pictures of Matchstick Men (making a welcome appearance tonight) to the nitty gritty boogie that characterises so much of their work. The line-up may have changed, but that classic two pronged attack force of Rossi and Rick Parfitt still packs a considerable punch, never more so than in the opening Caroline and the Rick Parfitt-sung — or rather croaked — Rain.

Rossi is very much the showman, the missing link between Elvis and Albert Steptoe, leaving Parfitt to anchor and drive things, and there is much companionable shoulder rolling between them.

Yet beneath all the geezerish bluster is a very good heavy rock band whose fan loyalty was shown by the number of tubby men of a certain age in the moshpit.

It is useless to complain that their songs all sound the same — it’s the pile-driving rhythm that underpins them that matters. For every song like What You’re Proposing, which verges on self-parody, there is a Mean Girl to lift things.

The title of the band's current album, In Search of the Fourth Chord, suggests a band relaxed about their limitations.

It's probably why they've outlasted all their contemporaries."

Photos of the band in action in Belfast can be found here.

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6th - The North gig at The Pavilion Bar, Belfast, Northern Ireland

The North performed another show outside of their Quo support commitments on February 6th in Belfast. Belfast-based promoters SO:NI (Sounds of Northern Ireland) ran the show at The Pavilion Bar on the Ormeau Road, Belfast, headlined by female-fronted local act, Ajenda. B & The North were up next and the evening rounded off by the County Derry-based Glenn Rosborough Band. Kicking off the night were Ana Mae and the Four Four Twos – a 3-piece originally from County Tyrone. The B& The North setlist was as follows:

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7th - The "Ultimate Setlist" in The Times newspaper (UK)

The "Playlist" supplement on the gig list pages of The Times newspaper on February 7th featured a selection of Quo songs from the current set cited as 'The Ultimate Setlist'.

DOWN DOWN - One of the greatest intros of all time = solid gold three-chord rifferama.
PAPER PLANE - Heads down, no nonsense three chord boogie. Probably not about paper planes.
CAROLINE - Another twelve bar three chord classic beloved of many a pub rock covers band.
WHATEVER YOU WANT - Three (count em) chords here, last heard on that irksome Argos ad.
PICTURES OF MATCHSTICK MEN - No three chord boogie shock! Slice of pastoral whimsy that launched their career in 1969 (sic)
ROCKIN' ALL OVER THE WORLD - The unofficial anthem of Live Aid is as much a national institution as Rossi and Parfitt.
BYE BYE JOHNNY - Traditional set closer and Chuck Berry closer famously sung by the original Quo bassist Alan Lancaster.

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8th - Quo concert at Olympia Theatre, Dublin, Ireland

Quo's last show on the short Irish tour took place on February 8th in Dublin. Photos of the band in action can be found here and here.

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10th - Quo concert at Cliffs Pavilion, Southend

The first of seven rescheduled shows from the last Winter tour took place in Southend on February 10th. Support for these shows was again Luke White and photos of Quo tearing up Southend can be found here and here.

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13th - Quo concert at Plymouth Pavilions

Quo played a single show in Plymouth on February 13th. Photos of Quo rocking Plymouth can be found here and here.

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14th - Quo concert at Guildhall Theatre, Portsmouth

Quo no doubt made many Valentine's Day dreams come true when they returned to the popular Guildhall Theatre in Portsmouth on February 14th! Photos of Quo in action can be found here.

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16th - Quo concert at Corn Exchange, Cambridge

Quo played at the Corn Exchange in Cambridge on February 16th and photos of the band in action can be found here.

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17th - Quo concert at Regent Theatre, Ipswich

Quo played at the first of two nights at the Regent Theatre in Ipswich on February 17th and the gig was again recorded by Live Here Now for immediate purchase after the show.

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23rd - Rick article in The Daily Mail (UK)

The following article by Natalie Clarke appeared in the UK's Daily Mail newspaper on February 23rd.

"Meet rock legend Rick Parfitt's twins, a miracle that offers hope to childless couples everywhere.

He’s a rock hellraiser whose 20-year cocaine habit nearly killed him. She endured FOUR miscarriages and was told she’d never be a mother. Now Rick Parfitt and his third wife (combined age 109) have twins — and offer hope to childless couples everywhere... Rick Parfitt is lying flat out in the living room of his Spanish villa while his nine-month-old twins, Tommy and Lily, renew their acquaintance with their dad by prodding him and taking turns to crawl over his spreadeagled figure.

His wife, Lyndsay, brings him a nice cup of tea. She has just picked him up from Malaga airport, where he flew in from England after performing with Status Quo at the Regent Theatre in Ipswich. After 40 years, there is still a group of people out there who can’t get enough of ‘the Quo’.

‘He’s a bit tired,’ says Lyndsay. ‘He’s catching up with the twins and we’re going to have a nice quiet dinner at home tonight. He says he’s just walked from one world into another.’

There is certainly little that is similar about a concert hall filled with ageing, diehard Quo fans in denim and the serenity of Rick and Lyndsay’s secluded estate up in the hills overlooking Marbella.

They have orange trees and olive groves; chickens and goats roam freely on their land. It is an enchanting spot. Tonight Lyndsay is making her husband salmon with lightly spiced courgettes from the garden. He’ll have a glass or two of wine, but no more.

‘Everything in moderation,’ she says. ‘That’s the key.’

Well, they do say opposites attract.

It wasn’t always like this, of course. For much of his life, Parfitt has dutifully lived up to what is expected of the archetypal hellraiser.

The 20-year cocaine habit, the car crash in his Porsche, the booze and the fags. He once threw a complete dining room suite into a swimming pool.

But today, at 60 and a new father of twins, he is, Lyndsay assures me, a reformed character. He has even given up his 40-year smoking habit. ‘He hasn’t touched a cigarette for seven months,’ says Lyndsay proudly.

She’s sure he doesn’t have a cheeky one on tour? ‘Oh no, absolutely not.’

The taming of Parfitt is certainly miraclulous, but for him and Lyndsay the true miracle in their lives is the arrival of the twins.

After two life-threatening ectopic pregnancies and two miscarriages left Lyndsay unable to conceive naturally she had begun to come to terms with the likelihood that she would never have the children she longed for.

She suffered her first miscarriage at 20 and now at 47 IVF was her only hope — and a seemingly remote one at that.

Rick, meanwhile, was approaching 60 and had a long, colourful history of hard living behind him. But it worked — remarkably with Lyndsay’s own eggs and Rick’s sperm — and the twins were born last May.

‘We are truly blessed,’ says Lyndsay, who has just turned 49 but looks years younger. ‘Even now, I still can’t believe I’m a mother. I wake up in the night and see a toy in the corner of the bedroom and think, I’m a mum!

‘Rick and I are so happy. We feel we have been given a new lease of life.’

She is being interviewed because she wants to give hope to other women in their 40s who, like her, have given up on becoming a mother.

For Rick the arrival of the twins had an added poignancy. It was 27 years since his two-year-old daughter, Heidi, drowned in the pool of the home he shared with his first wife, Marietta.

‘We didn’t know for a while the sex of the babies and when we went for the scan I said to myself, please make one of them be a girl, because I know how much it would mean to Rick.

‘When they told us I was expecting a boy and a girl we both cried.’

Is Rick a hands-on dad? ‘Absolutely. Rick’s quite a nocturnal person, I think it’s something to do with being up all hours during the tours, so it works very well. I get some sleep while he’ll be happily up in the night with them.’

At the time that Lyndsay and Rick met, in 2006, Rick was living alone and was in a state of dark depression. He had been through an expensive divorce from his second wife, Patti, with whom he had a son, Harry, now 19. (With Marietta, he had two children, Richard, now 33, and Heidi.)

In 1997, the year after the divorce, Rick underwent a quadruple heart bypass operation. Then in late 2005 he discovered a growth in his throat. Luckily the tumour was benign, but he had it removed. Ill health and years of hard living had finally caught up with him.

‘I was so low I’d wake up in the morning, switch on the telly and still find myself slumped there at 3pm,’ he said recently, recalling the dark period of his life before he met Lyndsay.

‘I was lost. I started to fear going out, even to the local shops, and would disguise myself so I wasn’t recognised. I had no confidence, no self-esteem and often didn’t bother getting dressed.’ But everything changed in March 2006. He had started half-heartedly going to a gym, in an attempt to try to get his life back together. Lyndsay, who has always kept fit and is a keen runner, was a regular at the gym and she and Rick shared a personal trainer.

Like Rick, Lyndsay was twice married and divorced, and the owner of a beauty salon in Richmond, Surrey.

‘The trainer was doing a bit of matchmaking,’ she says. ‘He told me there was someone who would like to take me out and he introduced me to Rick. I knew about Status Quo, of course, but thought they’d disbanded years ago. One day at the gym, Rick came over to speak to me, but he could barely talk because of his throat operation. But he did manage to ask me out.

‘Our first date was watching Rick’s son, Richard, who is also a musician, do a gig at the Cafe Royal in London.’

Both felt they had met their ‘soulmate’. Rick said afterwards: ‘Something rushed over me, like butterflies in my stomach, and my life changed there and then.’

Four months later he proposed. They both wanted to get married quickly and privately, so they got hitched in a £46 register office ceremony in Gibraltar in September 2006. They honeymooned in the villa in the hills above Marbella where they now live.

When Lyndsay met Rick, she had told him she could not have children. He replied that he already had a family, he was older, so it really didn’t matter.

But once they were married, a deep sense of wanting a family of their own took hold of both of them.

Lyndsay had already suffered four devastating failed pregnancies. She first became pregnant in her early 20s while married to her first husband. ‘I was very keen to have children right away, ‘says Lyndsay.

‘I became pregnant quite quickly, but miscarried after eight weeks. Then I became pregnant again soon afterwards, but miscarried again. Obviously I was very upset, but the fact that I knew I could conceive was reassuring, and at that point I felt I had time on my side.’

Lyndsay and her husband divorced after seven years and she married her second husband when she was in her early 30s. She was overjoyed when she became pregnant again. Shortly before her first scan at three months, she began bleeding and by the time she arrived at hospital she was haemorrhaging and doctors discovered that the baby was growing in one of her fallopian tubes.

An emergency operation was carried out to remove the foetus and the fallopian tube. ‘I was told I’d lost so much blood I was an hour away from death. It was a horrible, distressing and devastating experience.’

But it was to happen again when she became pregnant two years later. ‘This time, of course, the doctors and I were concerned about the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy, so I was given a scan at around eight weeks.

‘I couldn’t believe it when the scan showed that the baby was growing in my remaining fallopian tube. There was no option but for the foetus and the fallopian tube to be removed surgically.

‘I hit a real low then. I thought — why is this happening to me? What have I done to deserve this. I think I became quite bitter for a while. I’d always longed for children and now there seemed to be no hope.’ This devastating episode put a strain on the marriage and it ended soon after. In her early 40s, while still single, she decided to try adoption. ‘I did pursue it for a while, but I became disillusioned. I found it a very negative experience.

‘There I was, quite obviously someone who just wanted to give a child a better chance in life, living in a nice house, and I’m being interrogated by a social worker trying to look at the negative side of everything.

‘I admire people who have the grit and determination to follow through the arduous process of adoption.’

After Lyndsay and Rick got together they discussed children and decided there was nothing to lose by giving IVF a try.

Lyndsay was now 47 and, on the face of it, the chances were not promising. And if it was to work at all, she might have to consider using donor eggs. But there was good news when tests showed that Lyndsay’s eggs were the equivalent quality of a 35- year-old’s. ‘There’s this perception that after 42 or 43 you’ve had it, but this was really positive news,’ says Lyndsay. ‘I was told the IVF had a 40 per cent chance of success.’

Rick's first wife Marietta with son Richard and daughter Heidi, who died in a swimming pool accident Lyndsay underwent treatment at a clinic in Marbella. First she was put on the Pill to regulate her periods, then given an injection to effectively put her into a menopausal state.

‘I felt a bit moody, but not too bad. A few days after this I was “rebooted”, if you like, with some tablets that send you the other way and make you more fertile.’

Then there was a week of injections to stimulate follicle growth before six eggs were removed. All of the eggs were fertilised using Rick’s sperm and two embryos were taken and implanted into her womb.

Ten days later her pregnancy was confirmed. ‘Rick was on tour, so I phoned him and he was over the moon.’ There was more momentous news when the ten-week scan revealed Lyndsay was carrying twins.

Lyndsay gave birth by Caesarean at a private hospital in Malaga. ‘It was spotlessly clean. You had to put socks over your shoes and the sisters were very strict. A natural birth had been an option at the beginning, but the twins were now lying sideways, so I had to have a C-section.

‘I really wanted Rick with me to hold my hand and he wanted to be there, too, but it’s a rule in that particular hospital that they don’t allow it, and generally across Spain. I don’t know why — I suppose they think it’s not the done thing.’

Tommy was born at 9.50am and Lily followed ten minutes later. ‘A nurse took them away and minutes later came back, carrying one under each arm. I just thought, they’re so beautiful, and then they took them up to Rick, who was anxiously waiting upstairs. It was very emotional for both of us.’

Two days later, Rick had to fly to Switzerland for a gig with Status Quo. ‘I really wanted to take the twins home with Rick — that is such a special moment for mothers — but there was no way he could have cancelled the gig. There are other people involved, the band, the fans.’

Rick was on tour for the next three weeks. ‘It was a wrench for him to go, but in a funny kind of way it worked out for the best,’ says Lyndsay. ‘I wanted to devote myself to the twins and if Rick had been there I would have been worrying about him.

‘I was in pain from the operation and not feeling that attractive and the time on my own allowed me to get better and learn to be a mother, and when Rick got back we were in a nice routine.’

Lyndsay says she feels ‘very fortunate’ to have a live-in nanny and during the first few weeks after the birth she had a midwife stay at the house to help. Rick has been back and forth on tour but when he’s at home, says Lyndsay, he is very ‘hands-on’.

‘He prepares the twins’ feeds and changes their nappies and gives them their bath.’

The twins are very close and sleep in the same room. ‘If Tommy cries, then Lily starts crying because he has. Tommy is the more dominant one of the two at the moment.’

At their combined age of 109, do they find being parents to twins very demanding? ‘Yes, of course, it’s tiring and they’re at an age now where they need watching all the time. But we love every minute.’

The memory of the tragedy of the loss of Heidi in the pool accident has not faded from Rick’s mind; a 3ft 6in fence has recently been erected at the pool in Marbella.

‘It’s not something you ever get over,’ says Lyndsay. ‘Living in this climate means that life revolves a lot around the pool, so we felt it necessary to ensure the twins’ safety.’

Lyndsay has always looked after herself, but says the babies have given fresh impetus to their efforts to stay fit. ‘We both want to be around as long as we can.’

Rick, meanwhile, has some tour dates left, but is looking forward to spending most of the time with his wife and Tommy and Lily in the coming months. Lyndsay is working on a health and fitness DVD, which will include pre and post-natal tips for mothers.

As she sits on the terrace overlooking the hills, Rick is playing and giggling with the twins.

‘I still have to pinch myself sometimes,’ says Lyndsay. ‘Who would ever have guessed that things would turn out like this? We both feel so incredibly lucky, so fortunate. The twins have brought us more joy than we could ever have dreamed of.’

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27th - 4 Bills And A Ben concert at the Boom Boom Club, Sutton

Rhino hooked up with Jeff Rich for a rare appearance with '4 Bills And A Ben' at Sutton's Boom Boom Club. on February 27th.

With Woodedz doing a great support slot, Rhino had little time to relax before banging out a well-received party set to a sizable crowd with his old mates in '4 Bills And A Ben'. Some great photos of both Woodedz and 4 Bills can be found here and here.

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27th - Winter 2009 tour dates publicly released

Tickets for an extensive UK tour in November and December went on sale to the public on February 27th (a few days after an exclusive booking period for FTMO members). The tour dates are as follows.

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