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That was the Quo month that was ... November 2000

3rd - Quo Vadis at the Plough Inn, Brisbane

This review comes from Tony Marles, aka Rick from 'Quo Vadis'.

Wow , what a week the last has been, so many great stories to tell, but last night was the GREATEST!

Our Quo tribute band "Quo Vadis" held a Status Quo "Welcome to Oz Party" at the Plough Inn Hotel in Brisbane last night (Friday 3rd November). This had been planned for quite a while and of course we knew Quo would be in town for the gig on Saturday night.

We had personally invited the band to the party/gig but of course it was going to be very difficult to organize such an event, but the boys from Status Quo were there last night rocking away to their music but played by someone other than Quo!!

Rick Parfitt was interviewed on 4MMM Rock radio station yesterday and Loretta Ryan asked played a rumour that Status Quo would be appearing at the Plough Inn as well. He said that the band was keen to see Quo Vadis play and that they would check it out !

Members of Quo Vadis with Rick Parfitt and Roy Lynes Gig started at 8.30pm ... Rhino & Crew arrived soon after ...

We had the full crew plus Rick Parfitt, Rhino, Matt and Paul as well as Tonto (who stayed and rocked right to the end and even gave us a great vocal effort on Roadhouse Blues!!), Dave Salt, David Walker, Mike Hrano (FTMO) and quite a few more. Rick arrived to hear Roy Lynes playing with us on "Down the Dustpipe" and stayed at the gig for nearly two hours ! Because all of Brisbane heard the rumour we had a lot of Quo fans around and Rick was signing plenty of autographs for the fans.

We played on for four full hours of Quo boogie to a packed house with Tonto joining us on stage for "Roadhouse Blues". The atmosphere was superb, with some old classics played as well - "Big Fat Mama", "Blue Eyed Lady", "Down the Dustpipe", "Break The Rules", "Down Down", "Roll Over Lay Down", "Whatever You Want", "Caroline" ... and even a couple from the latest album, "Rave On" & "Old Time Rock & Roll".

All the boys from Quo had a great time and we certainly just are over the moon about last night. We'll try and post some photos soon to the Aussie Quo page as soon as we have recovered from the gig tonight !

It was a great feeling to dedicate and play "Big Fat Mama" to the "Greatest Rhythm Guitarist in the World" ..Rick Parfitt!!

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4th - Quo concert at Brisbane Entertainment Centre

This review comes from Peter McCray.

Bit of an event for me just getting there, since I'm based in Canberra, a mere 1000kms or so from Brisbane. But Quo aren't getting to Canberra this time round - couldn't find a suitable venue apparently, although my backyard was always available!!! - but was I gonna miss out? No way - so off to Brisbane for a big Quo weekend.

Now, I've been in solid training for Quo for the past few weeks - lots of listening to the Berlin 2000 bootleg and Paul Bolger's excellent Blackburn recording as well, so I was well primed for the new millenium Quo. But as I need hardly say, Quo live - the real thing, in the flesh - is just something else altogether!

Some good solid support from the blues-oriented Outback Hippies and then, after a seemingly interminable wait, that heady gut-churning mix of excitement and anticipation as the familiar drone with its POMM refrain kicked in. And then all of a sudden there they are - Rick in the lights with the familiar thrashing intro to Caroline - and the boys are off. And what a performance it was. It's Quo's third appearance in Oz since their re-emergence here in 1997 after a twenty year break and for me anyway, it was far and away the best performance of the three.

Great sound, great atmosphere, Matt Letley a revelation on drums, Rhino in fine form, Roy Lynes doing guest keyboard on "Roll Over Beethoven" a special moment. But it was the Rossi/Parfitt combo that really made it special. Rossi was in fine form in the banter department - did he do that 'Queen Victoria's christening' line in the UK? Made me laugh anyway. And to watch his effortless mastery of the big solos in "Don't Waste My Time" and "Backwater" - honed to perfection, tight as a drum - is such a privilege. He just makes it look so easy.

And Rick. Slimmed right down and almost unrecognisable from the podgy figure we last saw here in 1998, he was on fire. The set list meant that he had a lot more time at the mike than on the previous two tours, and didn't he make the most of it! What a great rock voice he's got. From belting out "Big Fat Mama", "Backwater", "4500 Times" and "Rain" to ever so gently taking the mick in "Living Doll", he was never less than excellent. Well done Mr Parfitt!

The "Big Fat Mama", "Roll Over Lay Down", "Down Down" and "Whatever You Want" chunk of the gig was probably the high point in terms of audience reaction, but the whole thing went down really well, with maybe only "Oold Time Rock and Roll" possibly going down a little flat. Fabulous to hear "4500 Times" back in the set, just wished they could have carried on and done the full 20 minute version!!! But no complaints after 90 minutes of the finest night of power-laden good-time boogie rock I've had since.....Quo were last here.

A fabulous Quo night all round. Come back soon guys!!!

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5th - Quo concert at Newcastle Entertainment Centre

As Quo made their way down the Eastern flank of the Australian mainland, Newcastle would be their first stop in New South Wales after three shows in Queensland. It would also be my first stop on their tour, at least for a full-blown gig after the Grandchester promo gig just a week earlier.

Crowds drew early to the front apron of Newcastle's Entertainment Centre - new acquaintances made, old friendships renewed, liquid refreshment taken. Support band for the evening, The Outback Hippies, took the stage at 8pm, to a well-filled arena, and played an entertaining and well-performed set of blues and rock numbers. Perfect fodder for the Quo audience, they received a warm reception for their 35 minutes and the lead singer's declaration that he was a life-long Quo fan was always guaranteed to win us over.

The machine-like efficiency of the Quo crew in transforming the stage into one fit for the main event soon swung into action and within minutes all was set for Quo. At 9.05, the lights went down and this could mean but one thing - time to go Quoing.

Kicking off with "Caroline", it was just like old times. The 2500 crowd went wild, my front row spot was perfect, and we were in for a treat. Highlights of the first set were of course the classics - "Don't Waste My Time" (with Francis playing incredible solos, none of which were from the song!), "Backwater", "4500 Times", "Big Fat Mama" and "Down Down". Material like this is perfect for playing to such a heartland Quo town as Newcastle. The crowd's energy was saved for the big songs, in "4500 Times" and "Big Fat Mama". Even in shortened form, "4500 Times" sounded good but "Big Fat Mama" stole the first set, sounding fresh, energetic and raw. The subtle changes to the start and end of "Down Down" have breathed new life into the old dog and part one was rounded off by the crowd-pleasing "Rockin' All Over The World".

A few minutes of welcome respite, then full on again with an encore of "Roll Over Beethoven", "Anniversary Waltz", "Hold You Back", "Living Doll" and "Bye Bye Johnny". The choice of "Roll Over Beethoven" to kick off the encore is a bit suspect, especially for the Australian audience, but they redeemed themselves nicely with "Hold You Back" to get the crowd fully involved. A lengthy "Living Doll" left a good proportion of the audience for dead as it wasn't a big hit here and, before we knew it, we were singing our last bye bye's.

Rick rocks Newcastle Francis The awesome twosome in action Francis looks in pain!

To an interested and encouragable crowd, Quo played very well - Matt is now in fine form, Paul does his work well but bashfully (and please work on that "Rockin' All Over The World" intro!), Rhino is enjoying himself as ever, Rick looks great and Francis is having a ball. Minor complaints would be in accuracy, especially some of Francis' solos which were way off, and a few of the songs in the set are not well targetted for the Aussie audience. But those aside, the show was great - good sized crowd, largely well-chosen setlist, good sound, and the band in fine form. Francis enjoyed some wonderful banter with the audience and talked between songs more than I've seen in many a tour, less of that scripted spiel we've become so used to.

A great way to kick off my Australian tour, here's to the next four!

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5th - Francis Rossi interview in The Age (Melbourne)

The following interview, by Stephanie Bunbury, appeared in the November 5th edition of The Age newspaper. It was titled "Old dogs, top tricks" and was an impressive spread in this quality daily newspaper serving Victoria.

Status Quo, you may or may not be pleased to hear, are living up to their name. Still pumping. They have sold 110 million records in their time, have had 51 hit singles, have played 4000 gigs. But it's not enough, never enough because, as Francis Rossi said to me a few years ago, you don't stop shagging or anything else you like doing as the years go by, so why stop playing rock and roll?

I was sent to interview Francis, as I now think of him in rather a familiar way, about three years ago at his house in the stockbroker belt in Surrey. It was decades since I'd heard a Quo song, and I hadn't missed them. I knew nothing about the band and I didn't know what Francis Rossi would be like apart from, as I thought, a million years old and a guitarhead.

I've just dug that article out. "God I love it here," I wrote. "I want to move in. Nobody would notice me: Francis has eight children ... the youngest, now 18 months old, comes in and crawls over him."

It was true! Francis was so crusty and endearing, his wife Eileen was a delight and I imagined regressing 30 years or so and having them as my mum and dad. I could listen to Francis rattle on about the world forever; Eileen could feed me cheese on toast into the next millennium. And indeed, when I got up to leave after three hours, thinking I had already disrupted their lives for an embarrassingly long time, they did seem rather surprised I was going at all.

Now the Quo are returning to Australia, so I get to chew the fat with Francis again. He has on a real ragbag of clothes and is as funny as I remember, chewing a garlic clove to ward off a cold, telling me how much he likes the neglected roots in my hair, how more people should let the grey out as a color. "I think it's lovely," he says. I resist the urge to hug him.

Colston Hall in Bristol is the zillionth stop in a tour that has been rockin' all over the world since May. Most of the gigs have been in places like this - cold and shabby. Why, at 51, would you do this to yourself?

"Well, I thought this when I saw the schedule," says Francis. "But I've enjoyed this tour much more than I thought I was going to."

Smaller venues, getting close to the crowds: he apologises in advance for coming out with all the cliches. "But I don't know what it is, people are that much more enthusiastic."

Rock and roll, as they say in Spinal Tap. Status Quo, which is still built around Francis and his childhood mate Rick Parfitt, has such a solid fan base that they can tour for half the year and pull crowds every time. Most of the material goes back 20 or 30 years, but that just means more people love it.

So they're doing it for the rush, then? "Well, I can't get this anywhere else," says Francis. "I mean, I get home and I'm very popular, but not as popular as I am out here."

In between tours, Francis told me when I first met him, he gets twitchy. Even with swimming three times a day and the kids and the slightly obsessive enthusiasms - those jigsaws, plus koi carp and clay pigeon shooting, according to the fan website - he finds himself sitting around thinking. Too much thinking. Too little playing.

Too little showmanship is what it is. The Quo even hate rehearsing, Francis says, because playing the songs is nothing like doing the show. "It's like watching bloody paint dry, to be honest. This doesn't work unless you're actually fired." And they have had to rehearse quite a bit this year, because both the drummer and the keyboard player are new.

Jeff Rich, the Quo's drummer for 15 years, has left for good; Andrew Bown is taking time out. They have been replaced by Matt Letley and Paul Hirsh, both mates of John Rhino Edwardes, the bass player, so practically children in Quo terms.

You'd think anyone could pick up a Quo song in minutes - ker-chunk, ker-chunk, up and down three chords - but Francis says it takes a while to learn how to deliver the Quo feeling.

"It was the same when John and Jeff joined. They didn't realise quite the intensity and quite the physical commitment you need to make the thing work. It sounds easy and it is easy, I suppose. But it's being committed to it and actually seeing what the plot is."

He misses his old mates, but there is something to be said for new blood; it makes them all try harder. "If you aren't going to commit physically, then it's just a bash. And I think maybe we'd gotten too close to just a bash."

So it's the crowd who make it. The crowds have changed, though, over the years. "We do draw people older than us and that's weird," Francis says. Weird, because Quo are used to defining what old is all about in rock-and-roll terms. Old women, mostly, getting down to Roll Over, Lay Down ("and let me in", as it goes: the Quo were never less than direct).

There are a lot of young girls, too, which is also weird in its own way. "I think 'what are they looking at?"' says Rossi. "Because I can understand when they go 'whew, he's old', you know. But what are they looking at? Oh, it's us!"

He grins. The girls are great now, he says. They don't just gape up at the stage in a sexual stupor: they're too "sodding gone", as he puts it, too "into it", too rock and roll. "And their bodies are just moving, you know, you can't take your eyes off them. I don't mean that in a lascivious way," he adds hastily. "I'm not looking at them and leching. It's just they don't give a f--- about image or anything else!"

Status Quo's image, it must be said, is less than hip. A few years ago the BBC's pop radio station declared them too paleolithic to play, a battle that the band's management took to court, fruitlessly as it turned out. Francis learned then what it was like to fall from fashionable grace, but it hardly mattered: he never cared much for fashion. Now he can be uncool with impunity.

"I find I'm liking a lot of pop records lately," he says, "and apparently a person in my sort of position in this sort of band shouldn't say that. All that bullshit's come back in. You mustn't like Abba. Go f--- yourselves! You mustn't like Britney Spears. Well, look, I don't want to shag her, I don't want to join her fan club, I just liked a couple of her records!"

He twinkles with jolly defiance. "In England they're so shit scared of what they should and shouldn't like that you end up screwing yourself. We're island monkeys, that's what Europe calls us, and they're right: we've got so many hang-ups."

Just that morning, though, he succumbed to expectation. A local journalist asked what new stuff he liked. "And I went straight for Radiohead," he says. "And that's not true. I don't know anything about their new product at all."

His brow knits in puzzled memory. You can tell he's been waiting to expurgate that untruth all day; thank God another journalist turned up. Too much thinking, Francis, I want to say. Everyone says that crap.

But Francis is a relentless self-improver, a bloke who started doing crosswords on the road because he was worried his vocabulary wasn't up to par, who won't let the kids watch Teletubbies because they don't speak properly.

One of the pluses of longevity is that you can remake yourself as you go. He went from aspiring Sahf London hard man to prodigious rock and roll self-abuser; now he's a softie dad with a fitness regime. Who thinks. And who really likes to tell the truth.

We talk about the Quo hit In the Army Now, how it still makes people cry in the countries where kids are called up for military service. He remembers the fear of conscription when he was a kid. "I can accept where some people think it's good for some people, that it will make a man of you," he says dubiously.

"Well, I'm not sure about that making-a-man-of-you bullshit. I'm not into that. You know: play rugby, swear, shag a lot of women and drink and you're a man. Oh, yeah, really? That's not the kind of man I want to be." He never was tough, in fact, no matter what he pretended.

All the uncool artists he names and claims to like, I notice, are women - Shania Twain, Celine Dion, Christine Aguilera. Never mind that Francis fronts a band so everlastingly boysy it defines the genre. He actually likes country music most of all, loves Lone Star with that yearning girly vocal line, was addicted to the country music equivalent of MTV when, briefly, you could get it in Britain.

"I were stuck there," he confesses. "I'd sit in front of it all day, much more than I would in front of the porn. A couple of porn movies and I'm 'yeah, right', whereas with CMTV I'm like 'yeah, coming my love ... I've just gotta watch ... oh, this one's good!' And then they took the bastard off."

Other rock bands - in fact, most things on stage - bore him. The problem is simple: he knows exactly what they're up to. Even Les Miserables sent him to sleep; when he looks at a stage he just finds himself thinking about the way the dressing rooms are laid out.

So he is quite taken aback when I say I'm staying for his show. "Oh, no, shit!" he says in mock horror. It's going to put him off, he says.

Not likely. This, finally, is the revelation: the Quo on stage. I can hardly believe what I'm seeing, in fact. I have spent a lot of time looking fairly intently at Francis Rossi - there is nowhere else to look during an interview - and finding him amiably scruffy. Now, looking up at the stage, I see this extraordinarily glamorous person also called Francis Rossi, someone commanding, feline in that rock-god way, someone who scarcely equates with that crinkle-faced geezer in the dressing room.

Rick Parfitt will always look like a Spinal Tap original: his freshly washed hair, as thick and blond and bouncy as ever, cries out for a L'Oreal contract, but the rest of him looks as if it should be covered in plaster dust. Rick is a bloke; Francis is, quite amazingly, the dandy. Even his earplugs - because who wants to be deaf at 50, right? - look elegant.

And you never saw anyone enjoy themselves more with a crowd. During Rick's songs, Francis goes and exchanges a few words with anyone close enough to the stage who's up for a chat. He makes eye contact with people in the balcony. He reads out a few banners held up by fans, the entire crowd straining to listen as if he were a favorite teacher.

The Quo are into it. Sodding gone. They sing hit after hit, most of them about rocking here and there, at breakneck speed, plus a bunch of gold standards from their new covers album - Runaround Sue, Once Bitten Twice Shy, stuff like that. Rick even sings Living Doll, not because it's on the album but just because he can, and the crowd takes it up from the first bar so that he just croons around their melody, hardly able to keep himself from breaking up into delighted laughter as he catches Francis' eye. Even the septuagenarians in the crowd - and yes, they're there all right - are up from the start, singing and clapping along. And there are guys playing air guitar right next to me. Seriously.

That's it: the Quo show is riveting AND hilarious. You could set a metronome to the whole set and it would barely miss a beat, ker-chunk, ker-chunk, but who cares? I don't stop smiling and I barely stop looking at Francis. My whole idea about adopting him as my dad has certainly taken a U-turn - but maybe the less said about that the better.

There are limits as to how stupid I want to look in print, and I feel myself hurtling towards them at high speed. The speed, in fact, of Down Down, as played live and loud on that green '57 Fender Telecaster Francis bought when he was 19 and just a boy with a dream of being a rock god. Ker-chunk, ker-chunk. Yeahh-hhhhh! Yep, as fast as that.

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6th - Quo concert at Sydney Entertainment Centre

One of the largest venues of the Australian tour, the Sydney Entertainment Centre played host to Quo on the 6th of November. The shiny arena, close to the trendy Darling Harbour area of Sydney, would be in "intimate mode" for Quo, giving a capacity of around 7000.

Earlier in the day, the band made a personal appearance at the small Utopia Records store on George Street. A small queue of fans waited patiently for them to arrive at about 1pm and everyone managed some time with each member of the band on their way through. Many signed items later, the band left for a few hours rest before the soundcheck and gig itself.

Dr Lee with Francis at Utopia Dr Lee with Matt at Utopia Dr Lee with Rick at Utopia Dr Lee with Rhino at Utopia

A hearty crowd of early birds gathered in the bar opposite the arena, ready to lubricate their vocal chords for another full-on assault. Support act for this gig would be "Fox C", as seen on some shows of the 1998 tour. Forewarned, I chose to enjoy the extra time with friends prior to the main show, starting at 9.05 once again.

With the larger stage on offer here, the stage now included the Quo curtain and by the time the band were ready to the stage, the centre was about three quarters full, a sight greeted with momentary pleasure by Michael Chugg, Quo's promoter on this tour, who was lurking around the backstage area.

Right on cue, the curtain dropped and the familiar opening chords of "Caroline" spewed out of the PA to rock the Entertainment Centre. The same set as at Newcastle followed, but with a larger audience and somewhat tighter performance, the overall impression of the gig was better. Francis was once again in playful mood with some very long chats to the audience, taking in all manner of subjects from "hard core to soft core" Quo to the state of the British weather!

Stand-out song was again "Big Fat Mama", which was received with the same enthusiasm with which it was played. "20 Wild Horses" was loud and raw and even the FITLC tracks seemed to go down a bit better than in Newcastle.

On what could turn out to be their largest gig of the tour, Quo played very well and are operating as a well-oiled, confident and accurate unit. Keep up the good work guys.

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10th - Quo concert at Derwent Entertainment Centre, Hobart, Tasmania

11th - Quo concert at The Silverdome, Launceston, Tasmania

The chance to see Quo perform in Tasmania proved to be just the excuse a small band of keen Victorians needed to spend a weekend on the holiday isle. Flying over from Melbourne on Friday afternoon, we were soon in the Hobart CBD checking out the local record stores and in search of Quo promotion. A few posters were all we saw, but at least there was an ad in the local paper as well to say that there were tickets left for the gig at the out-of-town Derwent Entertainment Centre.

Not believing the ticketed time of 9pm, we arrived at about 7.30 to find a crowd of two fans who'd had the same idea. With no chance of being let into the venue before 8pm, we were left stranded outside to enjoy the delights of the Tasmanian weather. Finally we were allowed in to the slightly more pleasant environs of the foyer of the centre. A slow trickle of fans gradually filled the foyer (Quo T-shirts were a novelty...) and we were treated to what has to be a first - a Quo support act playing in the foyer of a venue! A one man band with backing tapes knocking out classic rock and pop material was received bizarrely well by the assembled crowd - and the main venue remained off limits a while longer.

It was to be almost 9.30 by the time the doors to main arena were opened, due to the late completion of a conference taking place earlier in the day. The surprisingly impressive venue filled quite nicely with a crowd of around 2500, who all took their seats in readiness for Quo.

A late showtime of 9.45 finally rolled around and the lights dimmed, the cue for a crowd reaction of .... precisely nothing. No applause, no standing, no chanting, nothing. The drone started ... and received the same response, nothing. Due to the small stage, there was no Quo curtain so the band simply walked on ... and still nothing. By now, we're looking at one another in disbelief and could hold ourselves no longer. A long walk from our mid-arena seats to the front barrier right in front of Frame met no resistance from the invisible security and two of us enjoyed the opening strains of "Caroline" from up front. Thankfully, a handful of people decided to join us after that, but for an opening crowd reaction, I've never seen anything like it anywhere in the world. It was clear from the off that Quo were going to have their work cut out to get this crowd going...

To the band's credit, they worked hard to involve the audience and Francis' banter was encouraging them every step of the way. At least they became vocal as the gig progressed, even if too many bums stayed on too many seats. Highlight songs again were "4500 Times" and "Big Fat Mama", but it was the classics that this crowd had clearly come to see, so "Whatever You Want", "Down Down" and "Rockin' All Over The World" worked especially well. Francis' long intro of "20 Wild Horses" fell on largely deaf ears and, as he turned to kick the song off, we heard him say to the rest of the band "it's quiet, innit?" which kind of said it all.

Rick tries to rock Hobart Matt Rick and Francis on song Francis keeps at it...

In no way a bad gig from a musical or effort perspective, the event was let down by an uninvolved audience who were just not used to Quo live. That said, it was a reasonable turnout and the "Examiner" on Saturday included a double-page interview article on the band.

Rick and Francis at the signing session A pleasant two hour drive North led us to Launceston and our early start was rewarded by arrival well in time for Quo's personal appearance at the city's CD Centre. The wait was eased by local band "Pete Cornelius and the DeVilles" who played some excellent blues material from the back of a truck parked outside the shop. Luckily, the wait was undercover as the rain hammered down and, although Quo were late, spirits were good in the long queue of eager fans.

The band arrived about 1.15 and hurried into the store to set up for the signing session. Fans had brought along a varied selection of material for the band to scribble on and purchases of "Famous In The Last Century" at the shop were helped along by a free promo poster with each copy, just perfect for signing! The long queue filed through amiably and Quo were in store for well over an hour, dealing with the large number of fans who'd braved the awful weather, some even going round again to make sure everything got the famous sig treatment. The band were happy to pose for photos and appreciated the more obscure items for something different to look at. Francis was especially bemused by a copy of "No Thought For Tomorrow", an Aussie-only vinyl release from the 70s!

With an open invite to a soundcheck and nothing better to do on a wet Saturday afternoon in Launceston, we headed out to the Silverdome at 3.30. The band were again running late and didn't show till 4.10, but we were happy to wait and even more happy to head into the venue for the soundcheck. First impressions on entering the venue were good - designed as a velodrome, the stage was set well forward in the arena and temporary seating filled the floor in front of it. Banked seating all around added up to a total capacity of about 5000.

Sitting well back in the arena near the soundboard, we were treated to a long soundcheck, including a full version of "Don't Waste My Time" and a worthy surprise in "Junior's Wailing", which sounded great. The sound from further back was huge, but very well balanced and Rick's vocals in particular sounded strong.

It was not too long till we were back at the Silverdome, lured by the more promising ticketed time of 8pm. None of the Hobart worries here, a good stream of cars was already arriving as we approached at 7.30. More traditionally, the support band actually played in the main arena and the blues outfit from the personal appearance in the city got their big break with a support slot for Quo. Pete Cornelius is a talented 16 year-old blues guitarist and vocalist, assisted by his Dad on drums and a bass player. They played a good half hour set and were received very warmly by their home crowd - thankfully this audience looked more clued up about what a rock concert was all about!

Francis contorts his poor face one more time Rick rocks Launceston As the lights dimmed, a roar from the crowd and we're in more familiar territory - phew! The larger stage here afforded Quo the luxury of the curtain and they burst on stage with "Caroline" to an enthusiastic, though still largely seated, audience of about 3000. The same set comprised part one, with some great banter again from Francis especially to the hecklers in the front rows. The encore also kicked off as usual but we were in for a surprise. The previously soundchecked "Junior's Wailing" made a welcome return just before "Bye Bye Johnny". They played it well and it went down well - poor Paul told us afterwards that he'd never even heard the song before they soundchecked it earlier that day! So almost 95 minutes later, another show was over and Quo had wringed the last drop of enthusiasm out of this better crowd.

The gig received a favourable review in the Sunday copy of the "Examiner" which included a nice live shot of Rick and Francis plus some of the audience. They rather ambitiously claim the gig was a sell-out, but there were plenty of spare seats in the upper reaches of the elevated seating as well as the far sides of the floor area.

By Sunday lunchtime, it was time for us to head home to Melbourne, our Quo weekend seemingly over. But alas no! As we checked in to our midday flight, I checked with Ansett as to when they were expecting the band to fly out - and got the perfect reply; "on your flight"!! Fortunately we had arrived early, so were around to see the band and crew arrive, about 90 minutes before the plane was due to leave. They all piled into the small cafe in the airport and were happy to pose for photos, although some of the crew were obviously worse for wear after a party following the Launceston gig. Luckily, the plane was running late so we got plenty of time to chat, especially with Paul and Matt. Of course, the band got the front rows on the plane, so as we boarded, we had to pass them all again as well as the main elements of the Quo crew. The small 50-seater jet was about half filled with Quo and their entourage, a few fans and some confused onlookers! Sadly they were all very well behaved, although some of the crew gave the poor hostess a tough job as they mimicked all her safety presentation actions before take-off.

As we landed in Melbourne, a few fans had turned out to welcome the band back onto the mainland and they again ended up doing a lot of photos.

Overall then, a full-on Quo weekend - two gigs, a record signing, a soundcheck and a flight home with the band. We call came home happy ;-)

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13th - Quo concert at Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne

As a precursor to their evening gig, Quo undertook another of their signing sessions at the Hard Rock Cafe in the city. Billed as a 12.30 start, the boys finally appeared nearer to 1pm after waiting for a queue to form - sadly it never really did. Only about 50 people showed, due in part to the weekday timing and slightly out-of-town venue. They signed pretty much anything again - including a pair of breasts - even though it was meant as a promotion of "Famous In The Last Century". A disappointing turnout but at least the small crowd meant that those who did attend were rewarded with an unusually long stint at the autograph table with the band.

In what would be the final leg of my Australian mini-tour, Quo played the Rod Laver Arena on Monday 13th November. As one venue of the large Melbourne Park complex, the arena is potentially a 12000-seater, but was put into "intimate" mode for Quo, reducing to about 6-7000.

Arriving late, only the last gasps of support act "Stand" could be heard but by all accounts missing them was no big deal. Entering the arena at 8.40, it was clear that ticket sales had been poor and even by 9pm, the side and rear seating areas were almost empty - the promotion people claimed only 2500 tickets had been sold, leaving the arena feeling distinctly empty.

Quo took the stage as usual at 9.05 and played the same set as in Launceston, including "Junior's Wailing". The crowd, though small, was loud and encouragable and most of the material was well received. "Big Fat Mama" and "Down Down" stood out, but for crowd reaction nothing could beat "Whatever You Want", "Rockin' All Over The World" and, to a lesser extent, "4500 Times".

It's a shame to see Quo play an empty venue anywhere and in Melbourne this was surprising. I'm sure everyone concerned would rather play to a packed hall (like the Palais a la 1997) rather than an empty hanger like the Rod Laver Arena. But the band played well again, seemed to enjoy it, and sent everyone home happy. Good to see the usual crowd there and some from the list too, keep the faith!

On the ball as ever, Aussie Mike 747 (Michael Pelman during business hours) noted the following amusing lines from Francis:

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14th - Quo concert at Adelaide Entertainment Centre

The following review comes from Mark Thomson.

Having waited nearly 20 years to finally see Quo live, it's an added bonus to see them 3 times in 4 years!

Quo waltzed into the sunny "City of Churches" on the 14th and set about raising the roof on the local Entertainment Centre. A crowd of approximately 3000 (surprising giving the almost absolute lack of advertising!!) gathered to watch their idols.

Having endured the rather forgettable opening act - The Stand" I think they were called - the crowd were in a good mood to greet the lads as they took to the stage at about 9:05. The audience were in fine voice from the start and Quo certainly delivered the goods. No surprises in the set list with the highlights being "Rain", "Don't Waste My Time", "Hold You Back" and, surprisingly, "Twently Wild Horses". The addition of "Living Doll" and "Juniors Wailing" during the encore were very well received by the crowd.

All too soon it was over though and I for one would like to see a slightly longer set. Francis and Rick have certainly been in fine form this tour and Adelaide was no exception. Francis in particular having a good time with a few ladies in the crowd and a rather drunken heckler (of sorts) near the front of the stage. As a group, this is definitely the best I've heard them sound in a number of years. The addition of Matt and Paul seems to have sparked some fresh life into the band.

With any luck Quo should be back again in the next couple of years. Lets only hope that next time the local promoter does their job a bit better and Quo get the promotion they so thoroughly deserve.

The set list was as follows:

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27th - "Famous In The Last Century" video and DVD released in Europe

After an interminable wait, the video and DVD to accompany the CD release of "Famous In The Last Century" finally appeared on the shelves in late November, over six months after the CD release. Containing video footage of the playback set from the Shepherd's Bush Empire gig plus outakes and unbroadcastable material from the interview sessions with Rick and Francis from the BBC "Excess All Areas" documentary, the video and DVD are released by Eagle Vision and have catalogue numbers ERE152 and EREDV152 respectively.

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30th - Quo concert at Apollo Theatre, Manchester

This review comes from Craig Rothwell.

Well, Awesome, thats all I can say, Awesome. I have been following Quo since 1977, and I was amazed at how they can still ROCK.

For the 1st time in many a year, I managed a prime spot, against the stage in front of Rick, it was excellent. Sound was good, energy was good, Frame was on top form. Rhino threatened to kill someone for pissing about in the crowd, yes, action all the way. Same set list, apart from a lengthy version of "Bachelor Boy" - sorry Rick, but if you want to sing something slow, how about a slow version of "Spinning Wheel Blues".

But to see the energy so close up was amazing, I do not know how they do it being so fckin old ! Highlights - "Rain", "Big Fat Mama", "Whatever You Want", "Burning Bridges" (Excellent Live), and I still hate ARMY, Oi, Rossi, No !!

Shook Ricky's hand at the end, asked Matt for a stick, even though he didnt bring any with him at the end, and complemented him on his work, he is the dogs bollocks, sorry everyone, he is THE quo drummer, he makes them sound so much tighter. He is a Top Guy, after they departed, a Roadie came over with a stick. Matt - YOU DA MAN.

Merchandise is SOOOO expensive, so the 'gentleman' outside selling the bootleg stuff are doing good business, Tshirts at a fiver and some great sweat shirts with hoods with Status Quo on the front for a fiver.

Wonderful nite, roll on this evening for AC/DC.

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undated - "Rhino's Revenge" reviewed in Record Collector magazine

The following review appeared in the November edition of Record Collector magazine.

"This new album by John "Rhino" Edwards (Status Quo's bassist) establishes the four-string boogie master as a songwriter in his own right. Many miles from Quo this 11 track opus is largely written by Edwards and largely played by him too. While Rossi and Parfait guest on this album, playing more than boogie, there's very little of their clichéd brand here. Driving bass lines and pleasant songs make for interesting listening. "Shame" in particular features a moody bass riff, while "Don't Come Around Here No More" has an element of funk.

Recorded in Judie Tzuke's studio, she also guests. A strong album sadly lacking in anything outstanding, but more original and enjoyable than Quo"

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