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That was the Quo month that was ... May 2010

1st - Quo concert at Rock For Life Festival, Bogbain Farm, Inverness, Scotland (cancelled)

Quo were due to headline the Rock For Life Festival near Inverness on Saturday May 1st. The following press release from April 22nd, however, indicated the reasons for the cancellation of the entire festival.

"Caledonian Productions have announced the cancellation of the 'Rock4Life' event on 1st and 2nd May 2010, which was to be held at Whiteness by Ardersier.

The promoters have cited that due to a lack of interest generated by the second day (which was cancelled recently and was to feature McFly and the Sugababes), both the overall production costs for the entire weekend and lack of ticket sales for the Sunday unfortunately had a knock-on effect for day one, which was to feature Status Quo as the headline act.

Sales for Status Quo were meeting expectations and continued to sell well every day in the lead up to the event, however, due to contractual tie-ups with suppliers, the overheads related to the two day event combined with a serious cash-flow situation left Caledonian Productions only one option which was to cancel the entire event.

A spokesperson for one of the acts commented, "It is unfortunate that the concert has been cancelled especially with Highland Hospice being a beneficiary. To have this outcome is very sad. On reflection, it would appear that parts of the event has been ill considered."

Tickets bought on Tickmaster and Iris using credit card facilities will receive refunds while those who have purchased tickets at other outlets will be contacted directly by letter to arrange refunds over the coming weeks."

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2nd - Francis on Johnnie Walker's Sounds of the Seventies (Radio 2)

Francis gave a good half-hour interview on Johnny Walker's Radio 2 show on May 2nd. Despite doing so many of these promo interviews in the lead up to his solo tour, he still sounded engaged and interested during this interview and was given free reign to go off on his unimitable ramblings! "Faded Memory" was also played during the interview.

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3rd - Release of Francis solo album, "One Step At A Time"

Francis Rossi's second solo album, "One Step At A Time", was released in Europe by EarMusic (through Edel) on May 3rd. The ten-tracker is mainly Rossi/Young fodder (not that there's anything wrong with that!) as well as a re-recording of "Caroline" (somewhat faithful to the original country style) and a cover of Little Egypt's excellent "Rolling Down The Road". The album was available as a CD and also a limited edition package of CD with signed 7" single (the single being "One Step At A Time" rather than "Faded Memory" unfortunately). There was also a blue vinyl edition of the album limited to just 1000 copies and coming in a nice gatefold sleeve.

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6th - Quo performance at the "Walking All Over The World" charity event, London

Quo performed at the "Walking All Over The World" charity event held at the Dorchester Hotel, London, on May 6th. The event was organized as a a salute to Sir Ian Botham and his 25 years of Leukaemia Research walks. Piers Morgan hosted celebrity memories of walking with Sir Ian, along with master of ceremonies, Rory Bremner. In addition to Quo, "Rick Parfitt Jnr & The RPJ Rock Band" were also in action on the same bill! Rick Parfitt Junior commented on the billing in the lead up to the event: "I'm not going to lie, it's hugely exciting for RPJ Band to be playing above Status Quo! I've not really given my dad any stick about it - I don't think he's appreciate it - but I'll be savouring the moment, that's for sure!"

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7th - Quo article in Birmingham Mail (UK)

The following article, entitled "Reunion of classic Quo line-up a step closer" and written by Andrew Coleman, appeared in the UK's Birmingham Mail newspaper on 7th May.

"AN emotional reunion between Status Quo frontman Francis Rossi and former bassist Alan Lancaster has raised hopes of a reformation of the band’s ‘classic’ line-up.

Prior to their meeting in Sydney during Quo’s Australian tour two months ago, Francis and Alan had not seen each other since the bass player’s acrimonious departure from the band following their Live Aid gig in 1985.

Threats of legal action had soured the relationship between the two Quo founders but Francis says those issues are now being resolved.

And they’ve talked about reports that Alan, who lives in Sydney, quit because he didn’t like the musical direction the band was going in.

Francis reveals: "He said to me ‘I didn’t hate your songs, I just used to get embarrassed playing them on stage’.

"I was so pleased when I saw him in Sydney. We’re going to phone and have a chinwag every week. I’ve known Alan since he was 11 years old so when he’s next in this country we’re going to drive around the area we grew up in."

There’s even a chance they’ll work together again, alongside current Quo stalwart Rick Parfitt and former drummer John Coghlan, although Francis says Alan’s health may not be up to it as he has suffered with MS. He also questions whether there would be sufficient interest in a reunion.

"People are under the misapprehension that the original Quo would get together and do 15 Wembley stadiums but no, it’s not quite like that. Quo are very big but not to the degree where the world would go crazy if they reunite."

So a guest appearance during a standard Quo show is more likely, I suggest.

"That’s what’s been put to me and if that was possible it would be quite good," replies Francis. "It would be nice if it could be done in a way that everyone envisages, with massive gates so those two could have some serious dosh, but I don’t think that’s the truth of it.

"I’m not saying any of that’s out the window – and I’m knocked out to be speaking to Alan Lancaster again."

Meanwhile, 60-year-old Francis is taking a temporary break from Status Quo to promote his solo album, One Step At A Time.

A short UK tour with a band that includes his son Nicholas on guitar sees him play Birmingham Town Hall on Thursday.

He’ll be opening the set with a country version of regular Quo opener Caroline.

"I’m like that – the more you say ‘you can’t do that’, the more I say ‘yes I can, watch this, it’s going to be hilarious!’."

He explains that the new version, also on his solo album, is how it was originally written, it just got speeded up and given a rocky edge for the 1973 album, Hello!

He’s now worried that during his solo gig he’ll put his foot on the accelerator and move it along at 100 mph as he does in a Quo show.

"In my head, when we’re doing a Quo gig, there’s a frantic ‘Aaahhh’ going on. If I haven’t got that I’ll think there’s something wrong!

"If my heartbeat goes up because I’m nervous, then it’s very very difficult.

"There’s something in me that says if it ain’t working you just play it faster, which is suicide really."

As well as tracks from One Step At A Time there is plenty of Quo material, new and old, planned for Thursday’s show, most of it rarely heard live.

But ever the worrier, Francis reasons: "The set list looks really good but until I’ve done it in front of people you don’t know if it flows as well as it looks."

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9th - Rick article in the News Of The World (UK)

The following article appeared in the UK's News Of The World newspaper on May 9th, entitled "Rick Parfitt battles to save marriage: Quo star's boozing sparks bust-up" and written by Tom Latchem.

"Hell-raising Status Quo star Rick Parfitt's three-year marriage is on the rocks... because he's hitting the booze again.

The rocker has had a string of rows with wife Lyndsay who's fed up with him hitting the bottle, the News of the World can reveal.

Last night a source close to them said: "It's touch and go whether their marriage will survive. Lyndsay doesn't know if she can take much more."

The couple went on a romantic break to try and save their relationship - but Rick, 61, even spoiled that by knocking back so much booze that his furious wife STORMED OFF home on the first night.

Drunk Rick barely noticed she'd gone and carried on partying. An onlooker said: "He acted like a total moron. Then he took off his shoes and danced with his hands in the air like a sad old uncle at a wedding."

The aging rocker's coke-snorting, drink-swilling days seemed to be behind him after he secretly wed Lyndsay, 49, in 2006 following a whirlwind romance. They moved to a luxury villa near Marbella, Spain, and had twins Tommy and Lily, nearly two.

Rick, who has had a triple heart bypass and a benign growth removed from his throat after years of hellraising, seemed to have turned over a new leaf. But he's recently started boozing again, hooking up with drinking buddy and Princess Diana's former lover James Hewitt.

Lyndsay now longs to return to the UK after spending long periods alone looking after the children while three-times married Rick tours the world with Quo bandmate Francis Rossi.

The source explained: "Lyndsay is totally fed up and wants to go back to the UK. She feels like she has no life."

The couple tried to patch things up by booking in to the luxury Marbella Club a fortnight ago before going for a meal at the nearby Polo House, owned by Hewitt.

But it turned into a disaster when Rick started drinking. An onlooker said: "He was really knocking back the booze. They had a big row which led to Lyndsay jumping in a cab and going home.

"But Rick didn't seem too bothered and stayed on drinking. He was totally slaughtered and should have known better."

A source added: "The weekend was meant to help save the marriage but it highlighted everything that is wrong with it.

"Lyndsay loves Rick dearly, but she cannot keep tolerating his drunken behaviour."

A friend of Rick's said: "Like all married couples, they do row. And we all know that Rick likes to party. He is hopeful they can sort things out."

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12th - Francis Rossi solo concert at Queens Hall, Edinburgh

Francis kicked off his much-anticipated solo tour to promote "One Step At A Time" with a sold-out show at the Queens Hall in Edinburgh, on May 12th. The entertainment kicked off with a 40-minute set from The North, featuring his daughter Bernadette on lead vocals, and they were well-received, especially for their excellent rendition of "In My Chair".

Francis himself couldn't have wished for a warmer reception and any sign of "solo" nerves quickly evaporated as he found his rhythm with the new band. Apart from Francis up front, a few other familiar Quo-related faces were in evidence - Francis's son Nick on guitar & backing vocals, Rhino's son Freddie also on guitar & backing vocals, and Paul Hirsh on keyboards (previously stood-in for Andrew Bown). The rest of the band comprised Leon Cave on drums, Gary Twigg on bass, and Amy Smith & Amber Zakatek on backing vocals. The setlist was a Quo fan's dream, including a number of tracks from the solo album as well as some previously unheard live Quo songs, as follows.

Some photos of Francis in action in Edinburgh can be found here and here.

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13th - Francis Rossi solo concert at Town Hall, Birmingham

The Francis solo tour rolled into Birmingham on May 13th for a sell-out show at the Town Hall. The same - excellent! - setlist ensued and photos of Francis gracing the Town Hall stage can be found here and here.

The following review of the show appeared in the local Express & Star newspaper, entitled "Francis Rossi goes solo – and brings the family" and written by Ian Harvey.

"It’s something akin to seeing Siamese twins separated to witness Francis Rossi on a stage without his Status Quo counterpart Rick Parfitt.

Rossi arrived at Birmingham Town Hall last night on just the second night of his first ever solo tour to promote his new album One Step At A Time.

He had earlier claimed to be nervous about appearing on stage without his Quo bandmates but there was no sign of that last night.

Backed up by a band which included his son Nicholas and two female backing singers, Rossi started off the gig in just the same way he starts most Quo concerts, with the 1973 classic Caroline.

This was a different Caroline though, slower and stripped down to the way he and his songwriting partner Bob Young originally wrote it.

The show gave Rossi a chance to showcase new Quo-like songs including Sleeping On The Job and Tallulah’s Waiting as well as the lovely ballad One Step.

There were even a few old Quo obscurities like Twenty Wild Horses thrown in to please the fans as well as the classic Don’t Waste My Time to finish on a real high.

Earlier, to make it a real family affair, Rossi’s daughter Bernadette, fronted her own band, The North, who even included Quo’s In My Chair in their set. Even her mum was in the audience."

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14th - Francis Rossi solo concert at The Academy, Manchester

The third show of the Francis solo tour saw Francis playing at The Academy in Manchester on May 14th. He played the same set list and some photos of Francis doing his thing in Manchester can be found here.

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14th - "Quid Pro Quo" tour dates announced to general public

Tickets for the UK leg of the "Quid Pro Quo" tour were announced to the general public on May 14th, a week after FTMO fan club members got the opportunity to purchase their tickets. The full list of dates for the tour follows.

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15th - "Statoz Quo" tribute band gig at Twin Towns RSL, Tweed Heads, Queensland, Australia

A gig on the hallowed turf of Twin Towns RSL saw Statoz Quo perform on their biggest stage to date on May 15th. Gracing the same stage as Quo themselves (last there in 2006), Statoz performed to a lively crowd of 150-200 people and a fine set of photos of the band in action can be seen here.

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16th - Francis Rossi solo concert at Her Majesty's, London

Heading closer to home turf, Francis's solo tour graced the stage of Her Majesty's Theatre in London (the former home of musical "Phantom of the Opera") on May 16th. The location ensured a gathering of the Quo clans, with Matt Letley, Mike Paxman and Bob Young all in attendance for this show. Photos of Francis in action in London can be seen here.

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17th - Francis Rossi solo concert at City Hall Ballroom, Sheffield

A trip back up North for the penultimate show of the short solo tour saw Francis play in Sheffield on May 17th. The show was originally scheduled to take place at the Memorial Hall, but was moved at late notice to the City Hall Ballroom instead, resulting in an extra 150 tickets being up for grabs (which all sold quickly). Francis stuck to the same setlist and was again ably assisted by The North.

The following review of this show appeared in the Daily Express national newspaper, written by Paul Jeeves.

"JUST when partnerships and coalitions become the nation trend Status Quo frontman Francis Rossi typically chooses to go against the grain.

So while Cameron and Clegg cosy up in number ten and Ant and Dec continue their quest to find British talent, Rossi had ditched blond bandmate Rick Parfitt to embark on a solo tour.

In fact the six-date tour of intimate UK venues to promote new solo album One Step At A Time, is the first time 60-year-old Rossi has ventured outside of the band he calls his “day job”.

But while his show in the atmospheric ballroom basement of Sheffield City Hall proved you can take the man out of Quo, it also showed that you can’t quite as easily take the Quo out of the man.

Starting with a stripped-down slow shuffle version of the 1973 classic Caroline and backed by a five-piece band including his son Nicholas on guitar, the distinctive 12-bar riffing was never far from the surface.

But it came with a slightly softer edge than the usual Quo barrage of power chords - not least in the form of slinky two black-dressed backing singers whose harmonies blended tremendously well with Rossi’s distinctive nasal vocals.

Having been constricted to playing pretty much a never-ending Greatest Hits tour with Status Quo for the last 20 years, what was delightful about Rossi’s solo performance was it providing the opportunity to hear lesser known album tracks or more recent singles interspersed with his solo offerings throughout a near two hour show.

The emotionally raw Tongue Tied – penned by Rossi on a tour bus after an Italian journalist asked him how it felt to have most of his career behind him – showed the alternative side while a thundering You’ll Come Round – lack of radio recognition aside - wouldn’t be out of place on any Heavy Metal anthem compilation you may have hidden in your record collection."

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18th - Francis Rossi solo concert at Glee Club, Cardiff

For the final show of his solo tour, Francis crossed the border into Wales for a gig at the Glee Club on May 18th. Photos of Francis in action at this comedy/music club in Cardiff can be seen here.

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21st - Quo concert at Basse Zorn Live Festival, Strasbourg, France

Francis returned to the Quo fold to play a festival show in Strasbourg on May 21st. The festival took place in Hoerdt, near Strasbourg, and Quo played in a large tent near a race course. Their set didn't start until 11.30pm and ran until about 1am thanks to a slightly shortened setlist (without "Pictures of Matchstick Men", "Ice In The Sun" or "Paper Plane"). A new light show was shown off to the packed tent audience of 2000-3000.

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22nd - Francis interview on Limerick Live 95FM (Ireland)

Francis gave a great half-hour rambling interview on Ireland's Limerick Live 95FM on May 22nd. Topics covered included the recent solo tour, the band's stranding in Moscow, the new Quo album (for release in March 2011), the setlist debate, illness on tour, difference between audiences throughout the world, his love of country music, and meeting Alan Lancaster in Australia.

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23rd - Quo concert at Rockhal, Luxembourg

Quo rolled into Luxembourg on May 23rd for a show at the impressive modern (and very red!) Rockhal. They played the same shortened set as in Strasbourg to an audience of about 2500 and photos of the band in action can be seen here and here.

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29th - Quo concert at Frederikshavn Rock Festival, Frederikshavn, Denmark

Quo rounded out three gigs in mainland Europe on Francis's birthday, May 29th with a show as part of the Frederikshavn Rock Festival. Quo didn't hit the stage until 10.30pm, by which time it was freezing cold as evidenced by Francis wearing a sweatshirt for the entire gig and even playing with his hand up his sleeve towards the end just to keep warm!

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