Just as July suddenly decided it was July, a pleasant meander through the Gloucestershire countryside in the lovely Summer sunshine once again led to The Old Rangoon, just outside the pretty village of Fairford. The peace and tranquility was soon to be disturbed as we arrived to hear "State of Quo" soundchecking with John Coghlan. After renewing acquaintances with the band, we settled down to see the band rehearse, including their first ever performance of "Softer Ride" with John. Impressive stuff and indicative of what was to come later.
Rehearsing is thirsty and hungry work, so we plumped for a light meal in a nice pub in the village itself before a stroll through the surrounding countryside brought us back to the Old Rangoon in plenty of time to greet the band on their return and look forward to another fine performance.
The pub was nice and full by the time "State of Quo" took the stage at just on 10pm. Opening with "Caroline" was a sure fire way to win the crowd over and only a slight technical hitch stopped the band launching straight into "Roll Over Lay Down", mirroring Quo's standard live opening pair from the early 80s. All those old Quo tracks you've been longing to hear were there, including a brilliant first time live performance of "Softer Ride" with John, his first play of the song in many a year. Highlight of "part one" for me was "Big Fat Mama" which the band play very well and John loves to play. To close, "Rockin' All Over The World", "Whatever You Want" and "Bye Bye Johnny" edged us to midnight and the end of another show. A good crowd willing to get involved and the continuing enthusiasm of "State of Quo", combined with the unabashed talent of John Coghlan, made for a great night. My only slight disappointment was the lack of a drum solo due to time constraints.
While the gig itself was a delight, being able to spend time around the band and to see John really makes these events special for the Quo fan. How else would you discover John Coghlan's big secret of successful drumming (beer!) or hear his wonderful impression of Fred Elliot from Coronation Street !! (one for the UK members, sorry).