The opportunity to combine a short foreign holiday with a Quo concert was eagerly taken up by the 50+ customers of 'In The Limelight' tours' coach trip to Frankfurt, Germany. Leaving the UK on Thursday, the weary travellers descended on the varied delights of Manhattan-like Frankfurt on Friday afternoon. The glorious weather which welcomed our arrival, however, was not to last and Saturday brought about a change to more dismal and wet conditions, helping to dampen the spirits on a trip to the pretty Rhine valley town of Rudesheim. After copious amounts of sausage and lager, though, the real reason for our trip rolled around and the weather offered some respite by the time our coach rolled out the short distance to Offenbach. Arriving early, there was plenty of time to soak up the pre-concert atmosphere and make new friendships with our German Quo fans. By 6.45pm the doors of the Stadthalle were finally open and we took up our places up front in readiness for the concert ahead.
Familiar support act 'Little Egypt' took stage at 7.50pm and were warmly welcomed by the packed Stadthalle, particularly by the British contingent. They kicked off with the infectious "Won't Back Down" and continued with the popular "Shine All Over You". Milking their 'Eyes of the World' album, there followed "Tryin'", "Garden of Eden", "By Myself" and The Who's "You Better You Bet"; all these tracks brought the studio material out to its live best and Nick Rossi (on lead vocals) worked hard to bring out the audience's participation. The Rossi domination was more firmly stamped by Kieran Rossi's appearance on bass guitar, but Nick looked far the more confident of the two. The set was closed in some style with "Eyes of the World" itself, a classic rock number displaying the versatile talents of 'Little Egypt'. A well received and well executed 45-minute set - a welcome return to the limelight for this quality act.
Another tense half hour brought the Stadthalle to capacity and the eager British fans did their best to get the atmosphere going with a few 'Quo-oh-oh-oh-oh's, but any fears of a poor audience were soon dispelled as Quo took stage at 9.05, to a quite amazing reception. The "Fun Fun Fun" intro tape gave way to "Paper Plane" (after a slight curtain mishap again!) and then into the superb "Softer Ride". Reminiscent of the UK leg of the tour, "The Wanderer" and "Something 'Bout You Baby I Like" were played in full (to the obvious delight of the German fans) while Rick's lead vocal on "Backwater" was really appreciated. The standards ("Mystery Song" medley, "Whatever You Want", "In The Army Now" and "Don't Waste My Time") were fodder to the ever-increasing wave of appreciation coming from the predominantly German audience and they revelled in the technical brilliance shown by "Gerdundula" and "Come Rock With Me/Rockin' On".
As the show progressed, the Stadthalle became a melting pot and both band and audience alike felt the heat, Rick in particular pouring with sweat after only a few numbers. The two 'Don't Stop' albums tracks only made matters worse! "Get Back" went down brilliantly and Rick worked hard to make the most of this familiar song, with backing from Rhino and Andy. The best, however, was yet to come - in the shape of "Get Out of Denver". Francis introduced the song and told us to watch Rick's neck turn redder and redder as the rigours of the song took their toll. Rick and Andy did what can only be described as a brilliant job in singing the song, clearly giving everything, and the extended attempts to close the song only made their job more demanding. A great "woooohhhh" and excellent all-round performance made "Get Out of Denver" shine and Rick more than deserved his short rest afterwards! Part one was closed, as ever, by a short "Roadhouse Blues" and left us wondering where the last 80 minutes had gone!
The encore contained no surprises - "Rockin' All Over The World", "The Anniversary Waltz - Part One", "Rock 'n' Roll Music", "Sweet Soul Music" and "Bye Bye Johnny" (with a great 'quiet' bit but no Batman) - bringing 95 minutes of live Quo to an all too abrupt end. The 4000-or-so crowd at Offenbach's Stadthalle were treated to a very energetic performance by the band, Rhino and Francis being particularly playful with the crowd. At times, the audience were a little too headstrong and Francis was left speechless waiting for some calm, often carrying on regardless! At least he acknowledged the British presence, a gesture which we all appreciated after our long journey. As we made our way back to Frankfurt and then the UK, the overall opinion seemed to be that the trip was a success and the travelling was well worth enduring to experience Quo at their best on foreign soil. Till next year...Revisit the May 1996 event list