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That was the Quo month that was ... November 2007



8th - Quo appearance on This Morning (ITV UK)

Francis and Rick were interviewed on This Morning on November 8th. Following the interview, the band gave a surprise playback rendition of "Pennsylvania Blues Tonight", likely to be the only public airing of this song from the recent 'In Search of the Fourth Chord' album.

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11th - Quo concert at Regent Theatre, Ipswich

The following review of Quo's first night in Ipswich on November 11th appeared in the Diss Express, titled "Status Quo rock The Regent" and penned by Steven Penny.

"Even after 40-odd years in the rock business, things can still go wrong for Status Quo.

But despite problems with a curtain that refused to drop completely for the opening bars of Caroline, the Quo rocked on regardless.

Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt and the boys rattled through almost 30 of their hits in a near-two hour set as their nationwide In Search Of The Fourth Chord tour got under way in East Anglia.

The longevity of the band's career was reflected in the audience with the average age creeping up past 40 with a sprinkling of sprightly pensioners rocking like good 'uns.

A similar number of youngsters, kitted out in de rigueur denims and T-shirts were similarly playing their air guitars in time to a mixture of the band's hits, standards and a couple from the new album.

Whether it was the classic Rockin' All Over The Word, the less well-known Gerdundula (including impressive multi-play guitars from Messrs Rossi/ Edwards and Parfitt/Bown) or the latest single, Beginning Of The End, the crowd lapped it up.

The band's good nature and easy communication with the hordes who crowded round the stage brought a party atmosphere to the venue The majority of the crowd was on their feet from the start and remained standing until the dying notes of Bye Bye Johnny brought the concert to a close amid raucous cheers and applause."

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14th - Quo concert at Corn Exchange, Cambridge

Photos of the band in action in Cambridge on November 14th can be seen here and here.

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15th - Quo concert at Fairfield Halls, Croydon

A fabulous set of photos of Quo in action at their first night in Croydon on November 15th is available here.

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18th - Quo concert at Guildhall, Portsmouth

The following (less than flattering) review of Quo's gig at Portsmouth on November 18th appeared in The Times newspaper on November 20th (written by Stephen Dalton).

"The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin may have grabbed more headlines with their comeback shows but Status Quo, their blues-rock contemporaries, continue to challenge them both in terms of longevity – Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt have been musical partners for 40 years – and sales. Nobody would guess it from their no-frills presentation, but this is a band credited with selling more than 100 million records and scoring more hit singles than any other British artist.

Always popular with the public, the Quo have even won over sniffy music critics in recent years. They lost a legal battle over Radio 1’s refusal to play their singles in the 1990s, but earned widespread sympathy as a result. Stoically rocking through drug addiction, health scares and family tragedies, Rossi and Parfitt are now widely regarded as national institutions.

Both on the cusp of 60, the duo share guitar, vocal and frontman duties. But the Portsmouth show belonged mainly to Rossi, an alarming dead ringer for Jacques Chirac nowadays, with his craggy features and greying widow’s peak. The perennially blond and shaggy-maned Parfitt took the lead on several more guttural, bluesy tracks, but left most of the singing and talking to his partner.

Having titled their latest album In Search of the Fourth Chord, Rossi and Parfitt are clearly prepared to laugh at their famously limited musical palette. But endearing self-mockery only gets you so far. Long before the midway point of their two-hour set, the joke began to wear very thin.

Vintage tracks including Paper Plane and Down Down sounded virtually interchangeable with the brand new numbers Gravy Train and Beginning of the End. More Chas & Dave than Chuck Berry, the Quo have no truck with fanciful modern notions such as musical progression or melodic variation.

Of course, it is pointless and unfair to critique a Quo show for its abundance of chugging, pedestrian blues-rock. But even on their own narrow terms, this was a lacklustre spectacle. The band’s workmanlike performance frequently looked like bored autopilot, while each number sounded more generic than the last.

Besides a smattering of upbeat toe-tappers, notably Whatever You Want and Rocking all over the World, the plodding tempo hardly varied all night. Only In the Army Now, with its melancholy chorus hook and quasi-reggae rhythm, suggested that Rossi and Parfitt had ever heard anything more exotic than early Elvis.

British rock music has a long and noble tradition of dreaming its way out of drab, cramped suburbia to the bohemian salons of London, the rowdy bordellos of New Orleans or the far moons of Jupiter. Status Quo’s songs use the same basic American R&B ingredients, but stray no farther than the nearest pub. They may be a much loved national institution nowadays, but it would be hard to recommend this complacent, conservative show to anyone other than die-hard fans."

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21st - Quo concert at New Theatre, Oxford

An excellent set of photos of Quo in action at the first night in Oxford on November 21st is available here.

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22nd - Quo concert at New Theatre, Oxford

Having not managed to score great tickets for the Oxford show (we were back in row T of the orchestra stalls), expectations were fairly low of how enjoyable this gig would be, especially when we've been used to the up-close and personal experience of touring Australia with them in recent years. I'm delighted to say, however, that I couldn't have been more wrong - from further back, it was easier to appreciate the stage set, the lighting and the overall gig ambience than the vista obtained from the very front rows. Despite being a second night, the New Theatre was almost full, with the downstairs stalls being packed with a slightly more mature audience who stood from the drone to the final strains of "Bye Bye Johnny". Anyone who bemoans the more recent Quo audiences would have been proud of this lot!

The venue was even nicely filled for Bernadette and The North who appeared at about 7.45 and played an appealing 35-minute set based off their debut CD. This support slot is great live experience for them and the reception from the Quo audience was warm, not just because of the Rossi family connection I'm sure. The usual display of efficiency that is the Quo crew in action soon transformed the New Theatre stage into one fit for the mighty Quo, albeit now somewhat sadly devoid of the curtain. Within half an hour, it was time for the lights to dim and for the band to wander nonchalantly onto the stage to a rapturous welcome from the standing stalls and "bums on seats" balconiers.

What followed was a Quo performance of some 100 minutes, packed full of all the classics and sprinkled with newer material that played right into the hands of this crowd. In spite of the familiarity of the set to some of the regulars, there were no signs of complaint here and the performance of these songs is now close to perfection in many cases. The band seemed to be in a genuinely good mood, with Francis in particular being frivolous and diverging from the scripted "talky bits" on many occasions, which was great to see. The band's obvious enjoyment of what they were doing was infectious and the Oxford crowd lapped it up, rocking well until the very end. The audience participation parts were loud and gutsy, with Army's "Stand up and fight" testing out the New Theatre renovations! The ISOTFC songs went down particularly well and could be surprising live hits, unlike the three Heavy Traffic songs of which at least two now feel somewhat tired and out of place. The big songs towards the end of the first set really got the crowd going and justify their places on that alone, no matter how tiresome they must be for the band to play live now. The shortish encore of Army, Rockin' and Bye Bye Johnny went well and left the Oxford crowd asking - but sadly not getting - any more for their Quo night.

A good time seemed to be had by all here in Oxford - the band were in a playful mood and the crowd were up for a rockin' night, still a potent mix in 2007. In terms of highlights, "Big Fat Mama" rocked like hell and the ISOTFC songs stood up well amongst the more classic material. At a top notch gig like this, it's hard to be too critical of any songs, but the "Gerdundula" charade becomes more and more cabaret and pathetic every time they go through those motions...

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26th - Francis interview on icWales

The following interesting interview with Francis appeared on the icWales website on November 26th, titled "Quo never bombed in Cardiff" and written by Gavin Allen of the South Wales Echo newspaper.

"STATUS Quo have been touring for the last 46 years, or to put it another way, Rocking All Over The World. The band return to Cardiff next week with music from their latest – and 28th – studio album, In Search Of The Fourth Chord. In search of a bit more glamour than a wet Wednesday in Cardiff, we asked frontman Francis Rossi to tell us what it’s like to visit Quo fans in the more exotic parts of our planet?

Wales

“I remember in the early ’70s we played at the old Capitol Theatre in Cardiff and in the middle of our gig someone comes on stage and says ‘we’ve had a phone call saying there is a bomb in the building. Tell them to evacuate’.

“I said to the guy, ‘I’m not telling them to get out of our gig!’ so we compromised. “I asked everyone to look under their seats for a bomb.

“They all had a look under their seats and then gave us the thumbs up if they didn’t see a bomb and then we carried on into the next song. That just wouldn’t happen these days would it?

“It’s an hilarious memory.”

South Africa

“We played there first in the ’70s and I thought it would be fine if we played to an unsegregated audience.

“But when we got back to Britain we found we had been ostracised in a cultural boycott because we were seen as endorsing apartheid.

“But Cliff Richard and Tina Turner did it too.

“We ended up signing a European treaty to say we wouldn’t do it again, but we did.

“The last time we played there I remember seeing a sign backstage that said ‘please take off your gun at the gate’ and I thought to myself ‘If you’re the type of person who carries a gun to a gig you aren’t going to be the type of person who takes it off because a sign says so’.

“I spent the whole gig wondering how many people in the crowd had guns.”

Japan

“What I love about Japan is that the crowd cheer there is very high, it’s about two octaves higher than any other country in the world.

“It makes me laugh because it’s just so apparent when it’s usually blokes at our gigs and you normally get a deep cheer from them.”

Russia

“We played there first before the fall of communism and we did 17 consecutive nights in Moscow – they all sold out.

“I remember on one of those nights a little girl came forward to give me flowers, which is a great honour there because they were so rare and expensive.

“A security guard tried to stop her so I went for the security guard and just as I did these two blokes stepped forward from the crowd and slid these black bands over their sleeves, which was the sign of the plain clothes KGB.

“I thought, ‘Sorry love I’m not messing with the KGB for a bunch of flowers’.”

Dubai

“We play Bahrain, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Muscat, which is fantastic, but Dubai makes me feel ill with the wealth it has.

“It’s all about who has the biggest Mercedes or the most outrageous watch?

“The heat there is choking, it dries your throat, and it’s the hottest place in the world for me.

“But we went to this one shopping mall in Dubai and it was absolutely freezing with air conditioning.

“When I asked why, it turned out the mall houses an artificial ski slope. I was stunned.

“Snow in the desert, that’s how much money they have.

“But don’t tell Tesco or they’ll want one too.”

Australia

“I love Australia, everyone in the UK should have to go there in their life to sample the life, like a form of cultural national service.

“Their TV is awful because everyone is outside in the sun, and the food is fantastic.

“And I love the idea that the UK sent all their criminals there years ago, but now we can’t get in there unless we have enough money.”

Brazil

“We played Rio not long back and it’s the only part of the world where the poor look down on the rich.

“Along the front of the beach line are all these beautiful buildings, houses and clubs, but behind them are the mountains with these shanty towns where the poor live among drugs gangs.

“Not only do the rich do nothing to help they actively play a hand in keeping the poor down in a place where children’s bodies are regularly found stuffed in dustbins.

“It’s very fashionable to talk about helping Africa but no-one talks about helping South America.”

USA

“I love America and I love California and LA, even though it’s la-la land.

“I don’t care if it’s all phoney, I’d rather have a waiter say to me ‘how are you today, sir?’ than ‘wot yew want’ as they do here.

“If you ask them to serve you sliced, fried eggs they will, and if you don’t like them they will take them off your bill.

“We don’t like their tone of voice and lots of other things about them but there are as many idiots in the UK and Europe as there are in America.

“They are just unfortunate to have George Bush up front representing them.”

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27th - Quo concert at Venue Cymru, Llandudno

There are worse ways to spend a mild Tuesday Winter's afternoon than to wander the pleasant promenade and streets of Welsh seaside resort town, Llandudno. Our wander along the prom was well-rewarded as the sight of the garish Quo tour bus startled the be-cardiganed onlookers parading the seafront just after 2pm. Stopping to execute a right turn, Rhino was sitting up front next to the bus driver and gave me a thumbs-up as he spotted a crazy Aussie waving franticly in the bus's direction! A little while later after checking out the shiny new Venue Cymru (they made it nice and easy to find by designing to fit with the existing architecture of the promenade in the same way that the last bit of a jigsaw puzzle doesn't), we happened across Rhino walking down the street, stopping briefly to say hello as we interrupted him chatting to his mum on his mobile phone!

A good few hours later, we joined the queue at the venue, which was already quite extensive by about 6.15pm. Doors were not opened for close to another hour and the natives were getting very restless by then, but the "rush" to the front was well-controlled and friendly and we found ourselves second row just in front of Rhino. The atmosphere at a standing gig is always different and it was apparent from early on that we were in for a very different gig experience than that at Oxford just a few days before.

By the time B & The North took the stage at about 7.50, the place was already quite full and a little rowdy with it. The front rows seemed surprisingly young at this stage, with Bernadette attracting more than her fair share of the attention during the support slot. She was suffering from a sore throat after partaking of a lengthy stride up the Great Orme (and some dubious story about saving sheep!), but did a sterling job of keeping the set together. The band's standout song, "Did You Ever Love Me At All", got a great reception and should have been their closing number. The band left the stage to warm applause and there was plenty of interest around the band at both the interval and after the show near the merchandise stand, as they offloaded a pile of CDs to new fans.

About half an hour would pass before Quo took the stage. During that time, the venue filled up even more and became very hot and rowdy in readiness for the band's gig. As the lights went down at 8.50, the venue roared and Quo walked onto the Venue Cymru stage to enjoy themselves for the next hour and a half or so. Despite being a new venue, the stage was surprisingly small with insufficient room to hang the impressive "QUO" lighting rig seen at the bigger venues recently. Francis also made frequent comments to suggest that he wasn't a huge fan of the new place and received affirmation from the Welsh crowd when he asked who preferred the "place next door" in which they used to play!

The large standing crowd were good value and lapped up the entire show, from the always brilliant opening of "Caroline" to the closing chords of "Bye Bye Johnny". There were no surprises in the setlist here but it hardly mattered as Quo thundered through an incredibly energetic and fun-filled performance. Their polish was tempered by plenty of impromptu improvisation (especially from Francis) and the talky bits between songs even had some refreshing new twists. Hopeless security failed to deal with a number of drunken idiots close to the front, but Rhino spotted them and they eventually disappeared and allowed those of us up front to get on with enjoying this great show. The sound here wasn't brilliant (much to both Rick and Francis's obvious disgust) but again it didn't really matter too much to the assembled hordes who were just out to have a good time and enjoy Quo at their live best.

By the time the encore wrapped up, I'd be wrung out by Quo's top-notch performance, helped along by the complete lack of ventilation in the hall! It was smiles all round on the way out, this had been a seriously fun night of Quoing.

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