The following article about Rhino appeared in the Teddington Nub News on 2nd February, titled "UP CLOSE with Status Quo bassist and Teddington resident John Edwards" and written by Stuart Higgins.
"Local rock star John 'Rhino' Edwards is a familiar face as the bass guitarist in the line-up of one of Britain's most successful bands, Status Quo.
But when the Quo are not rockin' all over the world, Teddington-based John, and a fan of Brentford football club, is the front man for another band called Rhino's Revenge.
Here John, now aged 68, and about to go on tour with Status Quo tells Nub News about his other band and how it all started and his love of Teddington.
NUB NEWS: Rhino's Revenge - tell us a bit about the background to the band and its members?
John: "It's been my ongoing side project to Status Quo since the late 90s. I started writing songs that weren't suitable for Quo, and the band's producer at the time suggested I record a solo album, which I duly did. I came up with the title of Rhino's revenge, as Rhino is my nickname. It's been the name of the band ever since. It's a three piece band, a power trio, and a better rockin' combo you'd be hard pressed to find."
You are just about to go on tour with the band following the release of your first live album, Charge! Will you be touring all over the UK?
John: "That was the plan until 3 days ago. B***** Covid!! It's hit me quite hard, and the show we do is physically quite challenging, so for the sake of my health I've cancelled it. We'll reschedule for later in the year or early 2023."
How would you describe the music? There's a bit of Status Quo sound about it on first listening. Would you agree with that?
John: "It's like a punkier version I think, it's still rock and roll, but with gnarlier lyrics. The most important thing about a rhino's revenge show is fun, If you come to a show I guarantee you'll leave with a smile on your face."
Did you write all the tracks? Where was the album recorded? Is it available on vinyl?
John: "I've either written or co-written all the songs, except for a Bo Diddley ditty called Before you accuse me. It was recorded at various UK locations in 2019. We've released a limited edition of 250 on gold vinyl, and an unlimited edition on CD!"
Obviously, lots of people know you as Rhino but is there any hidden meaning in the name of the band, Rhino's Revenge?
John: None whatsoever, it just sounded good to me when I thought of it.
What is happening with Status Quo now? They have always been really big on the live performance circuit.
John: "We decided not to tour in 2021, which in hindsight was an inspired decision. We're gearing up to start again in March, a theatre tour of the UK, then on to Europe for festivals and indoor shows throughout the summer. We're doing a UK and European arena tour in November and December as well."
You have lived in Teddington now for a long time with your family. What makes it such a great place to live?
"I love it here. I'm actually from Whitton, but moved into London in the eighties. My wife Kathy and me were living in Harlesden, which was great, but a bit dodgy.
"When we decided we'd like to start a family it was an easy decision to move to Teddington, especially as her sister and family were already here. We're on our 4th house in Teddington and have been here 32 years, so I guess we must like it.
"Good schools, an interesting high street and it's not too far from Brentford football club, what's not to like?"
Tell us a bit about some of your favourite places in the area, pubs, restaurants and parks etc?
John: "Pubs, the Masons Arms. Best by a country mile. It's proper. Restaurants, Bengal Brasserie, Ho Me, Shambles and 114 does a great Sunday roast. Bushy Park, my favourite place on this planet.
"Plus Crane park from Hanworth to Hillingdon via Donkey Wood, amazing. Duke of Northumberland's river, oh yes, and the Thames as well. Hampton Court, the list is endless. I have to say, as someone who has really been around the UK, this is an amazing country to be lucky enough to live in."
Teddington and the surrounding area has a strong music heritage - do you feel proud to be part of that?
"I can only think of the Yardbirds and the Strawbs from round here, are there others? However, there used to be so many great local venues for live music.
"I used to go to Eel Pie island and the Winning Post in the late Sixties and early Seventies, I saw so many amazing bands, even including Quo in 1971 at the Winning Post, supported by Thin Lizzy, but Free was my band. I saw them on November 7th 1969, Richmond Athletic ground, an epiphany, I saw the bass player Andy Fraser and knew what I had to do. Become a bass owner, I'm still working on the player bit."
As you know there's a new vinyl shop in Teddington now in Church Road. Are you a big vinyl fan? Tell us about some of your most-played albums?
John: "I've always loved vinyl - 20 or so minutes per side, not the seventy plus minutes on a CD which people expect. There's a lot of filler on CDs.
"With the Beatles was my first album, wore that out. All the Free albums, Frank Zappa, Mahavishnu Orchestra.
"An album that has had a profound effect on me recently is Blackstar by David Bowie, which I bought on vinyl. What an artist, staring mortality full in the face and still creating a major work. We are not worthy. And it sounds even better on vinyl.
"I like to shop at Roan, it's good place to browse. If they haven't got what you want in stock, they'll find it for you, a proper record store. And they serve good coffee I'm told."
You have also been very supportive to the various local Rockin' The Lockin' charity gigs during the pandemic and as you know there are plans for another big local music festival in May organised by Teddington Together and the Landmark. Will you be involved in that too?
John: "I haven't been asked yet!"
Your family are also involved or/and interested in the music business, tell us a bit about their involvement and support for you with the band or the composing of the music?
"They've all been involved at various times with the Rhino's Revenge project, in fact the second album is me and my kids, it's the most amazing thing to have done for me personally.
"Our son Freddie is in a terrific band called Flawes, they're on Red Bull records. They were hammered by Covid, but have been cracking on, the second album is coming soon, they're amazing live as as well. You can check them out at flawes.com.
"Mae, our daughter, who is hopefully well known as a regular contributor to the Rockin' the Lockin' gigs is still playing guitar, writing and singing, but she's also training to be a teacher now, so not so much focus on the music, but she'll never lose her writing and singing skills.
"Max, our eldest, has an incredibly eclectic taste in music, all down to me of course! He's a drummer, but that's gone by the way for a while as he's busy with studying (he's a philosopher) and his new daughter, Elena. He lives in San Diego, not a bad life really.They's all very supportive of Rhino's Revenge - in fact Freddie guests on the new album."Revisit the February 2022 event list
A twenty-minute segment on Quo was aired on 3rd February on Sydney's 2GB radio station. Presenter Steve Jacobs ran through a brief history of the band and played "Pictures of Matchstick Men", "Ice In The Sun", "Mean Girl", "Caroline", "Down Down", "In The Army Now", "Whatever You Want" and "Rockin' All Over The World". He then took some calls from fans of the band. This was very rare coverage of Quo in the Australian media!Revisit the February 2022 event list
The following interview with Francis appeared in the YM Liverpool magazine on 4th February, titled "Status Quo frontman on memories of playing Liverpool & his Merseyside roots" and penned by Lawrence Saunders.
"Worldwide record sales in excess of 118 million, more hit singles than any other band in UK chart history, the first act on stage at Live Aid... Status Quo are bonafide British rock royalty.
Ahead of the band's gig at the Philharmonic Hall next month, we caught up with lead singer, lead guitarist and sole continuous member Francis Rossi to discuss the new tour, memories of playing Liverpool and his Merseyside roots.
When the 'Out Out Quoing' tour kicks off in Belfast on 27 February, it will have been almost two and a half years since the last Status Quo gig. Has it been strange being off the road for such a long time?
We haven't been off this long since the band first started. We have a two-week rehearsal planned [ahead of the first gig] - which I don't think is enough. Normally for every three weeks we've been off, we will put in a day's rehearsal. I started practising a few weeks back - trying not to get my throat sore, remembering lyrics.
I want to walk into rehearsals as if it's not that long ago [since we played live]. It's no good to me, or any of us individually, trying to brush up on anything whilst we're with the band. It's band rehearsal and we need to rehearse as if it's a show - keeping it slick and seeing whether we can breathe. As you can tell I'm not worried at all!
Save for a brief pause in the mid-'80s, Status Quo had been touring pretty much non-stop since 1968 until COVID-19 happened. Do you still enjoy it?
There's something about rock and roll... you wake up in the morning wherever you are, usually on a bus, and you know that you're on stage at 9pm. No matter what, [the] show goes [ahead]. Someone's feeling under the weather, someone's hungover, something's missing - 'Yeah well, we're going on at nine so you best find it!'. It's always been that way.
Years ago, someone won a competition to be out on tour with us. He was a big strapping lad, probably about six feet tall. I think he was due to be out for two weeks. After three days, the production manager brought him in and he was crying, saying 'I can't do this, I've never been away from home this long'. You realise that a lot of people cannot do that. Generally, people think 'I'll have a great time' but I say 'No you won't!'. It's what we've always done [but] I do miss being home and I always want to be at home.
Status Quo's most recent record Backbone, released in September 2019, was the band's highest-charting collection of original material since 1+9+8+2. Was it disappointing not to be able to get out there and perform tracks from the album due to the pandemic?
I have to be careful because I'm very cynical but they said 'the album did so well', for the time. I heard the other day that Adele had the biggest-selling album of the year at 600,000 pieces and I was like 'what?'. The Bee Gees were doing a million a week on Saturday Night Fever. People are now saying 'isn't that great news... for today'. It's like when people say 'Christ, you look well... for your age!'. But yes, it was a disappointment and I think possibly by working it a little, people who were perhaps sceptical about it would have been won over.
[However] most of the people who come to see Status Quo, come to see the hits. We are in talks about doing a live television performance in a few weeks and I thought 'Oh no, I've got to do Rockin' [All Over the World] again'. But if you'd told me 40 years ago that we'd have a bunch of hits that people just want to hear, I would have done anything to have them.
As a Liverpool-based publication, we were interested to learn from your autobiography that your mother, Anne, was born in Crosby. Do you know much about that side of your family?
My mother and father met [on Merseyside] somewhere. My dad used to swim in something up there which he later found out was a sewage outlet! I've actually been talking to one of my cousins recently, Paul, who went to Merchant Taylors' School. He's been telling me stuff that I didn't know about my maternal grandfather and the big house they lived in on Myers Road, Crosby.
I make jokes in shows about how everyone thinks I was taken to Italy (Francis's father was of Italian descent) for my holidays but it was actually Liverpool! We went once [to Italy], but the rest of the time my dad stayed home and worked and my mother took us up to Crosby on the train. It was fabulous! I used to love the Ribble buses as well - much better than what we had in London. Happy memories.
Status Quo have of course played in Liverpool many times over the years - going right back to the early days of the band. Do you remember appearing at the Cavern Club in 1968?
Yes, I do. It's funny because that was one of the venues, like the Olympia in Paris, that I would read about and think 'wow, that's got to be great'. But when we got up there, we discovered it was a s***hole! I used to love playing the Liverpool Stadium though (now demolished venue located on Bixteth Street) - it was marvellous. That was 'the' venue to play in Liverpool. We played there in 1972 with a band called Hackensack. During that period, we were all still young and pulling together.
I've just watched that Beatles documentary and as much as some people find it tedious to watch, to me, you can see most of the time they're messing about and then there's a 'moment'. How they were pulling together reminds me what [Status Quo] were like. When we were all together going for one goal, it was a fantastic time."
The band has a famously devoted following and each new generation brings with it yet more converts to the 'mighty Quo'. Why do you think your music has endured through all these years and continues to attract new fans?
I love that and I appreciate that but I don't think it's as massively important as some people think or say it is. Lots and lots of people [in the world] like Status Quo and the other few billion don't, and don't even know who we are! It is interesting that generationally [interest in the band] continues. I don't know if it's because [the music] is kind of simple and it's based on shuffles.
It's very tribal in its way and the rhythmic thing of it is almost addictive. Status Quo play shuffle in its most basic form and always will. There's something [special] about the music, but I would say that wouldn't I?!
Finally, are there any plans for a new Status Quo record?
I'd like to [make a new album] but I don't really know. We don't have plans right now and we're getting old. Like I said before, even Adele, the biggest thing on the planet, she's [only] done 600,000 units."Revisit the February 2022 event list
The following article about "Rockin' All Over The World" appeared on contactmusic.com on 6th February, titled "Status Quo baffled by song's popularity".
"Status Quo are baffled by the enduring popularity of 'Rockin' All Over The World'.
The band covered John Fogerty's track in 1977 and though artists including Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay and Bon Jovi have offered their take on the song over the years, the rockers' version is viewed as the definitive one and remains one of their most popular anthems across the world.
Singer and guitarist Francis Rossi said: "I don't know why ours has become this classic 'raaaawk' song. We played Sweden Rock festival and all these people dressed head to toe in black were in front of the stage going, 'This is great!' I'm looking at them going, 'What the f*** are you thinking?'...
"F**k me, even my dental hygienist sent me something the other day to say they were all singing it at some wedding reception."
Late guitarist Rick Parfitt has originally brought the track to their bandmates, who were sceptical.
Francis recalled: "It sounded a bid piddly, to be honest.
"But me and Rick used to joke that we could Quo-up anything with a guitar on it. So that's what we did...
"Our old fans hated it. We had so much mail going, 'What the f*** is this?' But that song brought it loads more new fans."
And Francis has particularly fond memories of kicking of Live Aid in 1985 with the song.
He told Classic Rock magazine: "Nobody wanted to go on first, so we went, 'F*** it, we'll do it - get the f*** on, get the f*** off.'
"But when we started playing that song, there was a total sense of euphoria. Everything slotted in. The sense of love from the audience was something else."Revisit the February 2022 event list
The band issued the following press release on 9th February to announce the rescheduling of mainland European dates of the "Out Out Quoing" 2022 tour.
"STATUS QUO today announce that the planned mainland European dates between March and April 2022 on the 'Out Out Quoing' Tour have been affected by the ongoing uncertainty due to the Covid situation and indeed the differing restrictions and protocols in mainland Europe. The UK dates are unaffected. With a couple of exceptions the tour dates have been postponed and rescheduled, full details of the new routing is below. All previously purchased tickets remain valid for these rescheduled shows.
Ticket holders for the cancelled shows in Karlsruhe, Hof, Strasbourg and Annessy should return to their point of purchase for a refund. More details on the show at the Rockhal in Luxembourg will be annnounced soon.
Francis Rossi said, "This is frustrating but is also the only sensible action to take at this point. We cannot wait to play again and it's been too long since we got to play anywhere. Going out is something that we all took for granted. Not any more. We share the disappointment that many of the fans in Europe will be feeling right now but we promise that these shows, albeit later than planned, will be very much worth waiting for. We can't wait to see you all."
STATUS QUO is a band known for their live performances across their incredible fifty year career and, although now unavoidably delayed for a short while, the 'Out Out Quoing' European tour dates remain unmissable."Revisit the February 2022 event list
Francis was interviewed by Kate Garraway and Ben Shephard on Good Morning Britain on 10th February, but the interview didn't go to plan! Coming from his home studio, Francis only chatted for about a minute before technical issues led to the interview being abandoned. The brief interview covered the forthcoming "Out Out Quoing" tour and his post-gig routine now being a cheese sandwich and a tonic water! He said he "liked the idea of still being alive" and fruit smoothies and keeping fit are all part of that.
The unfortunate technical hitch was even covered in the UK's Mirror, in the following article titled "Good Morning Britain guest cut off as show suffers awkward technical blunder" by Rose Hill.
"Good Morning Britain suffered an awkward technical blunder today as its guest was suddenly cut off and they were forced to end the show early.
Hosts Kate Garraway and Ben Shephard had been interviewing Status Quo star Francis Rossi as the rocker spoke about going back on tour.
Ben had asked Francis about what a 'young' him embarking on a career say if he could see himself now "drinking fruit smoothies and tonic water" on stage.
But after a few seconds of silence, there was no response, prompting Ben to awkwardly say: "I'm not sure he's going to say anything."
"I don't think he's speechless at the very question," Kate said. "I think we've got a technical problem and we lost Francis."
Ben asked: "Has Francis unfrozen? Or is he still in the ether somewhere?"
Groaning, Kate exclaimed: "I can't believe it! All morning we've been so excited to find out what he puts in his family's ice cream!"
Ben explained that Francis used to work in his family's ice cream parlour when he was young.
"He was working in the parlour and he put his hand into some of the ice cream and cut his finger," he continued. "And some of the blood went into the ice cream and they said, 'Oh, just mix it in and tell them it's strawberry.'"
Kate put a hand over her face as Ben said: "So he served it as strawberry ice cream!"
As they chattered a little more, Ben asked ITV producers: "Does it look like we're going to reestablish a link with Francis? Oh no, sadly we have lost Francis!"
They then turned to Lorraine Kelly as Ben asked: "Can we come early to you, Lorraine? I know it's unheard of."
Thankfully, Lorraine was ready on camera as she announced: "I'm here!"Revisit the February 2022 event list
The unlikely avenue of ITV's News At Ten provided Quo fans with their first snippet of live Quo music since 2019, with a short segment from their "Out Out Quoing" rehearsals being aired on 15th February. Francis was interviewed by Ian Woods (as was Simon Porter, very briefly) and the whole band looked well - and sounded great! Francis noted that these were the band's longest ever rehearsals after their longest ever break, so having some footage from these sessions is all the more notable. The full segment can be viewed on YouTube.
The following article about "Marguerita Time" appeared on the Classic Rock website on 16th February, titled "The story behind the song: Marguerita Time by Status Quo" and written by Dave Ling.
"Marguerita Time divides the fans, it even divided the band, but it was playlisted by the BBC and in 1983 gave Status Quo one of their biggest hit singles ever.
Perhaps more so than with any other band, Status Quo's repertoire includes a handful of songs that became enormous chart hits yet were reviled by many of the band's staunchest fans. In Quo's case examples of this include Living On An Island, In The Army Now, The Anniversary Waltz and Burning Bridges.
But Marguerita Time, a jaunty yet seemingly inoffensive ditty that Francis Rossi and collaborative partner Bernie Frost wrote about an alcoholic cocktail, was despised so much by one member of the group that it caused him to quit. Which may even have been a catalyst in Quo's decision to call it a day (temporarily, it turned out) in 1984.
The previous summer, the UK had been swept by a craze for getting smashed on margueritas - a sweet-tasting but deceptively strong tequila-based cocktail. Decorated with fruit and mini-umbrellas, for all its potency it was about as far from the good old-fashioned British pint as you could get. Rossi didn't care at all, and found himself supping more margueritas than was advisable.
"I'd never been a drinker until then, but they were delicious and really got you pissed," he recalls. "I used to order them six at a time. For a while I got out of control on tequila."
The basic structure of Marguerita Time came together while Rossi was "poncing around" on his grand piano at home, and the rest was worked up with Bernie Frost over the phone. (Rossi actually volunteers the similarities to Labelled With Love, which was a hit for fellow British band Squeeze two years earlier.)
The album it appeared on was 1983's Back To Back. It wasn't an easy record to make, and Quo almost scrapped it and started again when they returned home. Nevertheless, Rossi had very little trouble persuading Alan Lancaster - the band member who ended up opposing Marguerita Time so vehemently - to record his bass part for it.
"He didn't argue too much because he didn't think it would see the light of day," Rossi recalls. "But the record label knew right away it should come out as a single at Christmas time."
Speaking to Classic Rock, Lancaster once said of Marguerita Time: "All it did was advertise the fact that we were becoming a bunch of nerds." The fact that it became the band's first song to be playlisted by both Radio 1 and Radio 2 quickly brought matters to a head with the frustrated bassist.
"Funnily enough, it also made the Kerrang! heavy metal chart too," Rossi chuckles. Because Quo had already recorded lightweight songs like Living On An Island, Rossi couldn't understand Lancaster's anger. "Alan had this macho attitude which really pissed me off," he comments. "We'd be playing a song like Dirty Water [from the Rocking All Over The World album] on stage and he'd get really upset, claiming to be embarrassed to play material like that."
Nevertheless, Marguerita Time reached No.3 in Britain. And when Lancaster - who had emigrated to Australia years earlier - refused to fly back to London to appear on Top Of The Pops, his continued membership of Quo became almost untenable.
"Alan didn't wanna know," sighs Rossi. "Just like he didn't wanna know when Rick [Parfitt, guitar/vocals] suggested we record Rocking All Over The World [written by John Fogerty]. He told us that he didn't know how he'd face his family again. If he'd had the courage to say: 'I won't accept my royalties for that," I'd have admired the courage of his convictions."
In the same Classic Rock interview, Lancaster also insisted that Rossi was the only member of Quo who had wanted to record Marguerita Time. Rossi pleads ignorance regarding Rick Parfitt's opinion of the song, and his willingness to have played on it, but does point out:
"A lot of our fans absolutely hated Marguerita Time. The guy that drives us around these days keeps on at me for us to put it back into the set. He's got no fucking chance."
The band had planned to retire from the road after the Back To Back album and the End Of The Road tour. But of course their appearance as openers at Live Aid in the summer of 1985 prompted Rossi and Parfitt to put together a new line-up.
"It was a breath of fresh air," Rossi enthuses. "I'd gone to school with Alan Lancaster, we'd been good friends and he was a great guy. I just didn't want to work with him any more."
The ‘new' Status Quo played the controversial Marguerita Time live for a while, but as part of a medley. "Lots of people loved it when we did that," Rossi says, "but our hard-core fans were up in arms. That's the main problem this band has: the floating punters are the ones that just like the main tunes - one of which is Marguerita Time - and all the rest want to hear the album tracks. Personally, I still love Marguerita Time, but finding a balance is hard. Whatever we do, we seem to ostracise one side or the other."
Status Quo's UK and Ireland tour kicks off later this month."Revisit the February 2022 event list
The first gig of the "Out Out Quoing" tour saw Quo performing to a sold-out Waterfront Hall in Belfast on 27th February. The band's first live performance since 2019 (20th September at the Schupfart Festival in Switzerland, to be precise!) was preceded by longer than usual rehearsals. Those rehearsals paid off as the band appeared tight and up for it, even chucking in a couple of surprises in the setlist (as follows) in the shape of two additional tracks from the "Backbone" album!
The following glowing review of this gig appeared on Metal Planet Music on 2nd March, titled "Gig Review : Belfast goes Out Out Quoing at the Waterfront" and written by Ivor Whitten.
"The Waterfront Hall was host to an incredible mix of new and experienced, both on stage and in the crowd.
Tonight was going to be an interesting combination with a showcase of pure musical joy from Belfast's Dea Matrona and the incredible giants of popular rock, Status Quo.
Dea Matrona, of Mollie McGinn, Orlaith Forsythe and new addition on the drums Evan Walsh, took to the stage with a pure aplomb blasting off with their thumping "Just Wanna Rock" to get the blood pumping from the very start.
On into "Oh Well", "Its only Music" and a consummate cover of "Crossroads" as both Mollie and Orlaith showed their mastery of both lead guitar and bass, continually switching back and forth.
Their energy, ably supported by the solid drumming of Connor, was visible as was their infectious joy at being back on stage for a live audience after the enforced hiatus over the past two years. Dropping more get rocking tunes such as "So Damn Dangerous", "Cradle Rock" and "Stamp On It", the crowd that had thronged to the floor were really getting into the mood for a full nights entertainment.
On they went without almost a breath with "Wilderness", "Nobody's Child" and finishing with "Make You My Star". The crowd had thoroughly taken to this young three piece band that have been making a name for themselves for the past few years live on stage, busking the streets of Belfast and playing a number of live online gigs.
Their following is truly worldwide and tonight showed everyone there why they deserved it. Having predominately played covers to begin which showed their blues rock inspiration mixed with a bit of Celtic magic, tonight the audience heard more of Dea Matrona with the original songs they delivered with an enthusiasm and energy that flowed of the stage.
Keep an eye on this band as they will definitely go far.
Then came on the headliners of this sold out gig to the refrain of an intro piece that had little hints of one of their iconic early songs "Picture of Matchstick Men"
It was hard to believe that here, tonight, we had the privilege to watch a band still going since the sixties and still dropping emotional rock that made you just want to let loose and get lost in the riffs and rhythms of none other than Status Quo.
Especially since the sad passing of Rick Parfitt, there was a small doubt that Francis Rossi and the rest could pull it off and keep the lofty band going. From the very first refrain of "Caroline", there was absolutely no doubt whatsoever.
Just those first notes brought a physical shivering that went up and down the backbone. A strange emotion of almost rapture-like feeling to see Francis on stage with Ritchie Malone, Leon Cave, Andy Brown and the inimitable John "Rhino" Edwards overtook the whole building. This was truly a vindication of turning up to see the Quo.
"Rain", "Little Lady" and "Softer Ride" pounded out from a band in full control of the performance. And as with the rest of the night the singing duties were shared around the band helping them show off that they could all contribute like a true band of brothers.
Francis in between songs told us all that the band had only been practicing for a few weeks so they were a bit nervous of how it would turn out tonight.
The energy, partnership and professionalism they showed off during each song proved there was really nothing to worry about at all.
Even with a few weeks, Status Quo showed without a doubt that they had forgot nothing and seemed stronger than ever.
"Beginning of the End", "Hold Yer Back" and a medley of songs like "What You're Proposing", "Down the Dustpipe", "Wild Side of Life", "Railroad" and "Again and Again" saw the crowd heave to and fro, up and down in time to the unmistakeable Quo rhythms singing their lungs out along with the band.
Then came "The Oriental", "Cut Me Some Slack" and "Liberty Lane" as the entire Waterfront Hall rocked out and proved the unending joy Status Quo have brought to the generations with old and young all joined together by love for the Quo.
Then the classic "In the Army Now" brought to many that same shiver again like it was becoming an almost spiritual experience. The whole band were fully on form and delivering more than anyone expected.
This was no music by the numbers to put the set in. This was the full Quo experience and everyone there appreciated it. It was as if Belfast was the only gig they were doing and they wanted to go out with a bang.
In between songs Francis engaged in such a relaxed way with plenty of wit and wisdom along the way. He, and the rest of the band could quite easily be high and mighty, but they all proved they may stride the world through rock they were still very down to earth.
"Roll Over Lay Down", "Down Down" and "Whatever You Want" kept the energy flowing through the rocking out crowd, as they seemed lost in the music.
And finally came the most iconic song of all to finish off the evening of entertainment, "Rockin' All Over the World" and the crowd just went wild.
The whole evening was a pleasure from start to finish and both bands acquitted themselves perfectly.
Dea Matrona are on their way up, while Status Quo rightfully are astride the very top not only looking down at all they can survey, but reaching out to us all through their musical talent.
This felt like a truly unique evening in the presence of rock royalty and felt like it may never be topped. And that is the feeling that Status Quo delivered with quality and pure grace through an emotional performance that paid tribute to every fan since the Sixties.
This was the beginning of their UK and EU "Out Out Quoing" tour and it was such a beautiful moment to be able to be the first night. You really need to do yourself a favour and go see the legendary Status Quo when they come to your town."Revisit the February 2022 event list
The "Out Out Quoing" tour continued with another sold-out gig in Dublin on 28th February. Keen fans enjoyed a pre-gig warm-up in the afternoon thanks to the excellent Irish tribute band, The Matchstick Men, at Fibber Magees before the main event at the lovely Olympia Theatre.
The setlist was the same as for the Belfast gig the day before and this gig must have been a bittersweet return to home turf for Richie, without his father cheering him on - other members of his family were up in one of the stalls watching with pride, though!Revisit the February 2022 event list