The long-awaited reunion of Francis, Rick, Alan and John kicked off with the first of nine gigs, at Manchester's 02 Apollo on 6th March. The sold-out crowd lapped up every minute of this historic event, overlooking some minor mistakes in many of the songs as the classic foursome (along with Bob Young) played their fantastic set of 1970-1976 material.Revisit the March 2013 event list
The second Frantic Four concert took place at Wolverhampton's well-known Civic Hall on 7th March and gave me my first taste of live 'original' Quo! It was a fabulous performance, with the same set as Manchester. The following review comes from The Midlands Rocks and was written by Dean Pedley. The photos were taken by me at this show, from my front row spot on the barrier."A little history lesson for our younger readers is in order before we get down to the business at hand. Way back in the 1970’s, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and the MR editorial team were still in short trousers, it was the golden age of double live albums. We had landmark releases such as Thin Lizzy’s Live And Dangerous, Peter Frampton with Frampton Comes Alive!, UFO’s Strangers In The Night and right up alongside them 1977’s Live! by the original twelve bar, three chord, eight legged boogie machine known as Status Quo. Status Quo, I hear you cry, surely not the same band that recorded a single with Manchester United, appeared on Coronation Street and who gave us the hideous ‘Burning Bridges’, ‘Marguerita Time’ and seemingly endless compilations. No, is the simple answer. Although only 50% of the personnel may have changed this is not the same band at all. Status Quo in the 1970’s consisted of Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt together with bassist Alan Lancaster and drummer John Coghlan, the self-styled ‘Frantic Four!’ and in 2013 one of the most unlikely reunions of recent years has finally come to pass.
Revved up rockers The Treatment kick started the evening, this tour being the latest in a series of high profile supports that suggests someone has high expectations for this likeable young band. They are reviewed frequently on here so it is enough to say they went over well and upcoming headline show at Rock City is surely the first of many to follow.
“Tonight…We have the number one rock ‘n’ roll band in the land…Will you welcome…The magnificent STATUS QUO!”
The Jackie Lynton intro sees the curtain fall and stood in front of the drum riser, striking the pose from the cover of 1973’s Hello!, are the Frantic Four, Lancaster’s throbbing bass ushering in ‘Junior’s Wailing’. Unlike the modern day line-up this is much more than just a double act, Rossi and Parfitt allowing their two returning band mates an equal share of the spotlight. In fact Rossi doesn’t open his mouth for fifteen minutes as Lancaster is the sole singer for ‘Junior’s…’, ‘Backwater’ and ‘Just Take Me’, a reminder this was a band that once boasted three lead vocalists. He and Coghlan may not look quite as match fit these days but there is no doubting they belong in this band. Anyone who went expecting to hear the hits will have left perplexed as Quo play just three of their 60-odd singles, ‘In My Chair’, ‘Rain’ and a storming ‘Down Down’. Elsewhere they dig deep into the back catalogue across a ninety minute set that is drawn entirely from the years 1970 – 76, and there is not a keyboard anywhere in sight.
With his purposeful swing shuffle holding down the backline Coghlan, drenched in sweat as the temperature inside the Civic soars, does a marvellous job in rolling back the years. The other three regularly congregate to belt out the riffs in front of his kit, emphasising that this is a close-knit and tight unit once again. A couple of false starts and finishes only adds to the feeling of spontaneity as they roar through ‘Blue Eyed Lady’, ‘Little Lady’ and ‘Most of the Time’, songs we never thought Quo would play live ever again. Long time collaborator Bob Young adds his harmonica to the chugging ‘Roadhouse Blues’ that closes out the main set before they encore with the joyous pairing of ‘Don’t Waste My Time’ and ‘Bye Bye Johnny’.
A nostalgic reminder of just how hard this band rocked in the dim and distant past, this was one of those very special occasions when you simply had to be there. No matter your views on what Status Quo became in later years, this is what they sounded like when it truly mattered.
Set List: Junior’s Wailing; Backwater / Just Take Me; Is There a Better Way; In My Chair; Blue Eyed Lady; Little Lady / Most of the Time; April, Spring, Summer and Wednesdays; Railroad; Oh Baby; Forty-five Hundred Times / Rain; Big Fat Mama; Down Down; Roadhouse Blues
Encore: Don’t Waste My Time; Bye Bye Johnny"
The Frantic Four headed North for the first of two nights at the O2 Academy in Glasgow on 9th March. A chilly night was soon changed by the massive enthusiastic crowd in the Academy and the band played their best show yet to this noisy and encouragable Scottish audience. The photos are again mine, taken from the barrier once more!
The Frantic Four played their second of two nights at the O2 Academy in Glasgow on 10th March. This was the band's slickest gig so far and the crowd went absolutely crazy here, the audience participation at times drowning out the band, amazing! My photos are again taken from the barrier... the only place to be!
The Frantic Four returned to the O2 Apollo in Manchester on 12th March to another sell-out crowd. The band were well played in by now and pulled out a fine performance to a worthy audience in this iconic Art Deco venue. Another barrier spot resulted in the great photos below.
The Frantic Four returned to the Civic Hall in Wolverhampton on 13th March to yet another sell-out crowd. The performance was far tighter than the first time just a week before and the audience were just as enthusiastic and noisy! Another barrier spot resulted in the great photos below.
The Frantic Four returned to the hallowed turf of the Hammersmith Apollo on 15th March to a sell-out crowd of 5500. The largest crowd of the tour so far were in seriously fine form and encouraged the band to their best performance of the tour by far. The audience interaction here was simply amazing and the band fed off the energy in this incredible venue. Yet another barrier spot resulted in the great photos below.
The second of two nights saw the Frantic Four blast the Hammersmith Apollo on 16th March. For me, this was the highlight gig of the entire tour - the band were in incredible form and the audience went wild from start to finish, what a night! After an afternoon spent enjoying the company of fans at the nearby Distillers pub for the Quo tribute bands, I arrived later for this show so appreciated it from further back (near the mixing desk), so these photos give a better view of the lighting show than the previous barrier shots.
The final gig of the Frantic Four reunion tour took place to a big crowd at the Wembley Arena on 17th March. This show was filmed for a DVD release, but they really should have filmed one of the Glasgow or Hammersmith gigs instead as the crowd here just didn't rise to the occasion in the same way (perhaps due to it being a fully seated venue). The band played probably their tightest set of the tour, though, and finished off in style in front of about 8000 in Wembley.
Quo kicked off their Australian tour with a spot on the Big Top stage at the 10th anniversary running of the West Coast Blues 'n' Roots Festival in Fremantle on 23rd March. A crowd of about 15000 turned out in the big tent and Quo played well to win over the festival crowd. Some photos of the band in action at Fremantle can be found here (see photos 55-66 in this set).Revisit the March 2013 event list
Quo's first non-festival show in Australia in 2013 took place at Sydney's iconic Hordern Pavilion on 27th March. Supported by the Marco Goldsmith Band, the band played to an almost full house at the Hordern and the set was well chosen for this audience. Alan Lancaster paid a visit to the band before this show too. Some professional photos of this gig can be seen here.Revisit the March 2013 event list
The second full show of the Australian tour saw Quo tackling the Brisbane crowd on 28th March. The large Convention and Exhibition Centre was essentially full and, despite over-zealous security, the audience gave Quo a good reaction especially during the big songs towards the end of the set. Roy Lynes was lurking around the foyer before the gig mingling with fans, which was great to see too.
Quo played the big Mojo stage at Byron Bay's massive Bluesfest on 30th March. The band took the stage to a packed house (well, tent actually!) and pulled out a great performance to win over the festival audience, with a single-song encore in the shape of "Don't Waste My Time". A set of great professional photos of Quo storming Byron Bay can be found here.Revisit the March 2013 event list
Quo played at the inaugural Deni Blues and Roots Festival at Deniliquin on 31st March. This small New South Wales town, most famous for its annual Ute Muster, saw an influx of music fans over the Easter weekend and Quo played their festival set to a hefty crowd on the Sunday night.Revisit the March 2013 event list