The much vaunted Limelight gig from "State of Quo" would be my first venture to Crewe and to the club. This is a strange place - a converted chapel - but a classic live music venue and a great concept. Plenty of space to have a drink and shoot some pool as well as the crypt for the bands to perform in. Sacrilegious perhaps, but having fun is no sin and this is what this packed venue would certainly do, have fun along with a fun band.
The band would arrive early and it was a privilege to meet again Tony, Paul and Mike along with webman Par Engstrom. The soundchecks were a delight to witness, including Mike and Paul together just playing song after song that I'd never heard live before (even my favourite Quo song "A Year" from 'Piledriver'). The club gradually filled with a final push towards nine o'clock, the bizarre poster-lined crypt then being full to bursting point.
The band took stage about 9.30 and once again we were all to be transported back to a different time - a time when Quo had this suspicious looking drummer lurking behind a simple kit, a time when Quo played the kind of tunes the fans really wanted to hear, a time called the Seventies. Loud and proud, State of Quo kicked off with their usual opener, "Juniors Wailing" to the delight of the audience. The roof may well have fell in on us, but for all the right reasons as John Coghlan thrashed his drums and Tony thumped out the bass.
Noticeable in their set as compared to modern Quo, the band never seem to let up - and neither can anyone with the responsibility of forming their audience. They give as good as they get and this crowd were on top form, just as were the band. I've seen them perform more accurately, but so what.
Highlight songs for me were the ridiculous "Down The Dustpipe" (one of Quo's finest and silliest short pieces), "Spinning Wheel Blues", "Shady Lady" (such a great live song), "Big Fat Mama" (still State of Quo's finest song in my opinion) and, of course, "4500 Times".
An enviable combination of perfect venue, well aimed set and encouragable audience gave State of Quo their opportunity to shine. I always enjoy this band live and love to see John performing and, perhaps more importantly, enjoying it.
Thanks to everyone for making this a special night for me - lots of mailers (too many for my dazed brain to remember) and other friends. As a final live event in the UK before moving to Australia, I couldn't have wished for more.Revisit the May 1999 event list
Quo played at the annual Rhine Army festival at Bad Lippspringe on May 24th. Quo were in a good mood and Francis had a lot to say to the audience and to the rest of the band. The set list was as follows: