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That was the Quo month that was ... October 2017

12th - Quo issue press release re: 2018 touring plans

Quo issued the following press release on their official website on 12th October in regards their touring plans for 2018, ironically on Rick's birthday.

Quo Announce 2018 UK Touring Hiatus
Hallenstadion, Zürich - Show Date Change

Status Quo have announced that the band are to radically cut back on their touring activities and will only perform a series of summer shows and festivals during 2018. For the first time in around thirty years there will be no traditional Quo winter tour of Europe or Christmas shows in the UK.

As a result, the show already announced for November 3rd 2018 at the massive Hallenstadion in Zürich has been rescheduled for October 6th 2018 and will be the final Quo gig of the year. All tickets for the original date will be valid for the new date and ticket holders do not need to take any further action.

Thus, the forthcoming Australian tour and the ‘Plugged In: Live and Rockin’!’ UK Tour will be the only opportunity for fans to see the band in smaller and more intimate venues for at least two years. Additionally, as a tribute to the late Rick Parfitt, the Quo setlist at these dates will now include two of his best-loved classics, Don’t Drive My Car and Little Lady.

Comments Francis Rossi, “This year has been one of change and reassessment following the sad death of Rick Parfitt. Although Rick had already retired from touring for six months before he died, it was still a major shock and my immediate reaction was to honour existing contracts and then knock it on the head.

However, since then I have become increasingly confused as I realized just how much I was enjoying touring with two vibrant young guys in the band in guitarist Richie Mallone and drummer Leon Cave.

They have given us old guys a good kick up the backside and whilst it could never be the same as with Rick in the band, it is different now but in an exciting and vibrant way that I can’t fully explain. The 2017 gigs have been absolutely incredible and spirits are high, but we do now need some thinking time to consider all of the options now on offer for 2019, which could well include the recording a new full on Quo rock album!

We would love as many fans as possible to come and really help us make some noise on this year’s dates as we definitely won’t be touring in 2018. This is a massive change for us, and I know that the Quo tour has become a traditional part of the festive season for many fans”.

Status Quo have performed well over 6000 live shows in the career, travelled millions of miles, entertained tens of millions of fans and spent nearly a quarter of a century on the road and away from home. It’s time to take stock. The Winter Tour of 2017 is not a farewell but it will be the last time to see this legendary act touring the UK in their traditional manner for the immediate future."

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13th - Quo concert at The Star, Gold Coast, Australia

The four-date Aussie leg of the "Last Night of the Electrics" tour kicked off at The Star casino on the Gold Coast on Friday 13th October. The 1800-seater theatre was home to around 1200 for this gig with support coming from Travis Collins and Quo kicked off right on cue at 9pm.

From the off, the band were clearly very relaxed and ready to enjoy themselves. This was the first outing for the new set, including "Little Lady" (with vocals largely served by Richie Malone) and "Don't Drive My Car" (an electric version of the Aquostic version of the song). Francis talked at length between songs, maybe to recover a bit and maybe just because he was enjoying himself. The audience remained largely seated (but for our very small pocket down on the front row in front of Rhino) until the "big four" closing out the first part of the set. More took to their feet for the encore, kicked off by "Burning Bridges", and the band received a great farewell during "Bye Bye Johnny".

While Francis didn't seem too happy with the room's acoustics, they played well, seemed more relaxed than during last year's gigs and got a good reaction despite the lack of standing for most of the show. An excellent opening gig.

The following review of the gig, titled "The noticeable omission in Status Quo’s performance at Star Casino in Broadbeach" and written by Glenn Hampson, appeared in the Gold Coast Bulletin on 14th October.

"BRITISH rock legends Status Quo left fans dancing in the aisles after a spirited rock and roll performance at the Star Hotel on the Gold Coast on Friday night.

Led by the last original member of the band, Francis Rossi, the rockers powered through half a century of hits.

It’s the band’s first time playing in Australia with just one of the frantic four original band members since the death of Rick Parfitt in December last year.

Quo’s revamped line-up of Andrew Brown, John Edwards, Leon Cave, Richie Malone and Francis Rossi dispelled fears the act would not live up to previous tours.

They punched out hits including, Caroline, Roll over Lay Down, Whatever You Want, Down the Dustpipe and many more.

Rossi kept the crowd singing throughout and tested the limits of their vocal chords and when the first notes were played to the rock anthem Down Down the middle aged fan base went ballistic.

Rossi even threw in the “prices are down” line from their of Coles supermarket jingle for good measure.

The glaring omission of the night was the lack of any tribute to Rick, the former singer and rhythm guitarist.

The band had said it would cover some of his songs as a tribute in the lead up but on the night his name was not mentioned.

In my opinion Parfitt’s song Rain should be left off future set lists, because try as they might, the song is just not the same without his vocals.

As the evening drew to a close, Quo belted another rock medley that had fans running to the front of the stage or dancing in their seats.

Rossi played up his age to the crowd by apparently feigning arthritis in his hands to finish the evening.

When the crowd filed out of the theatre, hundreds of fan began to sing Rocking All Over the World."

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13th - FTMO Quo convention at Butlin's, Minehead (UK)

The second FTMO fan club convention (the first being held in October 2015) took place at Butlin's in Minehead over the weekend of 13th-15th October. The event again provded very popular, attracting a crowd of over 800 Quo fans for a weekend of rocking! The presence of Alan Lancaster no doubt contributed positively to the attendance numbers.

The convention kicked off on Friday afternoon, with young band Ryders Creed up first before the first of two Quo tributes, in the shapes of Quo No! (featuring well-known Quo fan, Alan Crook) and Dog of Two Head. The first day was rounded out by popular rock outfit Predatür with their usual mix of their own material alongside Quo classics.

Punters had the chance to explore the record fair and Quo exhibition on Saturday morning as well as a signing session with Alan Lancaster, John Coghlan and Bob Young. One of the highlights of the event filled most of the afternoon with Mick Wall hosting "An Audience With" featuring Alan, John and Bob. The usual ridiculously hard Quo quiz, thanks to Jason Hodgson, rounded out the afternoon before the music kicked off in the early evening. First up were Glamdads with a set of classic rock covers before it was Quo time, with UK tribute band Quo-Incidence and then the amazing Swedish outfit Sound of Status to round out the day.

Fans were afforded the luxury of a free Sunday morning to recover from the previous couple of days, before the afternoon gave them an intimate chance to experience another "Audience With", again hosted by Mick Wall and this time just talking with Alan Lancaster. It was then live music all the way, kicking off with Scotland's Backwater Quo tribute band and followed by the ever-popular Jackie Lynton Band. Playing together for the first time in years on the live stage, Young and Moody were very well-received before it came time to close proceedings with a finale set from John Coghlan's Quo. Rick Parfitt Junor joined John on stage to perform on "Rain", "Living On An Island" and "Big Fat Mana". It was a very emotional few songs and served as an unofficial Rick Parfitt tribute in many ways. For the closing songs of JCQ's set, Alan joined the band to sing on "Backwater", "Roadhouse Blues" (with Bob Young) and "Bye Bye Johnny". What a way to close out such an amazing few days.

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14th - Quo concert at Civic Theatre, Newcastle, Australia

The second night of the short Aussie leg of the "Last Night of the Electrics" tour saw Quo returning to the Civic Theatre in Newcastle, home of their famous 1978 gig which led to the "First Night Stand" bootleg. The beautiful old theatre was a lovely place to see the band with its good acoustics, ornate interior, raked floor and wide balcony. With a capacity of around 1500, the 800-or-so fans were mainly confined to the floor area plus a few rows at the front of the balcony. Support duties for the evening were again serviced by the very accomplished Travis Collins.

Our end of aisle second row seats (to the right side of the stage) held promise for accessing the front, but the venue's strict "no standing" policy was in place from the very start so it was a sit down gig throughout, apart from a few dancing at the extreme sides of the floor area. The policy was a real shame here as the crowd were really up for it and would have given the band a lot more had they had the opportunity to stand. Having said that, the band had upped their game since the previous night and Francis was energetic, relaxed and having fun despite claiming he was a "jetlagged old git"!

The setlist was the same as the night before and the "new" songs were a bit slicker, especially "Don't Drive My Car" with a notable vocal from Andy Bown. Dropping the drum solo might have removed the spotlight from Leon a bit, but he's playing out of skin so far on this tour, adding his own character to a lot of the songs, which is great to see. Just as at the Gold Coast gig, the band were in great spirits, stirring each other up and generally looking very relaxed. It feels like they can let loose more than usual in this territory and even the mistakes were greeted by wry smiles from Francis.

This gig was a step up in terms of the band's performance and it was such a shame that the venue's policy on standing spoiled it for audience and band alike (even Francis commented during Bye Bye that it was a shame we didn't stand up - it wasn't for the want of trying!). Despite the policy, the crowd were loud and appreciative and all the band made the effort to shake hands with us along the front of the stage as they left.

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15th - Quo concert at Opera House, Sydney, Australia

With the "Rock The Boat" cruise setting off on Monday, there were a lot of Quo fans lurking around Sydney on Sunday - and the band sold out the iconic Opera House. We arrived in the early afternoon and enjoyed meeting up with lots of old friends in the Opera Bar before heading into the venue in time for the support act, Travis Collins. He did a good job of warming up the audience with his friendly style, strumming his acoustic and singing decent Aussie country music. His storytelling was also great and he won over the audience here during his half-hour set.

9pm was showtime for Quo, as per the previous nights on this tour, and thankfully most people stood up as the band took the stage - and stayed that way throughout! The setlist remained the same and, though I thought the band were a little better in Newcastle the night before, the overall package of band and audience made this the stand-out gig of the tour so far. It was a brilliant vibe in the room (and what a room!) with lots of audience participation and interaction throughout. Official photos were taken on stage for a change so there should be some great shots of band, audience and venue in future tour programmes, etc.

Great gig, big lines at the merchandise stand both before and after the show, happy punters - certainly a big win for Quo in Australia.

Monday morning saw a promo photo shoot on the opera house steps, no doubt with some shots taking in the backdrop of the harbour bridge and "Radiance of the Seas" cruise ship docked in Circular Quay. A lot of Quo fans were doing the cruise and boarded it around lunchtime. We hung around to see them off with the ship slowly making its way out from about 6.40pm to 7pm, it was an impressive sight glistening in the evening sunlight. It will be interesting to hear how the couple of Quo shows on the cruise go too, another first for this amazing band after fifty years!

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16th - Quo article in The Mirror (UK)

The following article, titled "Francis Rossi reveals what he heard Rick Partfitt (sic) say to him after his death to save Status Quo" and written by Tom Bryant, appeared in the UK Mirror on 16th October. The article can be viewed online and includes some excellent photos of the band taken during their time in Sydney on the Australian tour.

It was the phone call from his manager that Francis Rossi had been dreading for years and which finally brought an end to one of the most enduring partnerships in rock.

Rick Parfitt , a man he had known since he was 16, had died on Christmas Eve, aged 68, and the future of Status Quo was in peril.

But Francis describes for the first time how he was comforted by hearing Rick’s voice ringing in his ears... as the guitarist lay dead in a hospital in Marbella, Spain.

“I know it sounds ridiculous but I heard him on Christmas Eve. I heard him say to me, ‘see Frame (Francis’s nickname), at least I didn’t die on a show day.’

“He would have known if he died on a show day or a few days before, we would have cancelled the show out of respect.”

Rick had been recuperating since June, 2016, when he suffered a heart attack on stage but, in fact, passed away after contracting a severe infection following a shoulder injury.

Francis admits he was ready to call time on the chart-topping band but Rick’s words gave him the conviction to carry on.

Yet, despite the band going from strength to strength, with a sold-out tour, including a date at the prestigious Sydney Opera House last Sunday, things haven’t been easy.

There has been animosity between Francis and Rick’s son Rick Jnr, who claimed that his dad had been “treated awfully” by Quo in his final months, adding: “You don’t know what I know.” He also said the band refused to pay tribute to him at their first post-Rick gig.

Then eyebrows were raised when Francis, who freely admits to a testing relationship with Rick, said he had yet to shed a tear over his bandmate’s death.

“His boys for some reason took us apart, saying we mistreated their father – and nothing could be further from the truth,” he says. “I did find that hurt rather a lot but maybe the boys were hurting.

“If they feel that way, they won’t particularly want to hear from me. My relationship was with their father and vice versa. I know the children, I have watched them grow up and they have been out with us at various times.”

As for his apparent lack of emotion, Francis says he has never been one for tears – and people fail to appreciate the often gallows-humour relationship he had with Rick. “For me to become maudlin about Rick, that wouldn’t be me,” he says.

“The guy we have got into the band – Richie Malone – Rick and I first met him when he was probably 14 or 15. Rick said, ‘Look at that, if I die you should get him in’. We both laughed. So I didn’t cry and I haven’t since.”

Francis, however, is still clearly haunted by the distressing scenes six months before Rick died, when he was violently resuscitated following a heart attack after a concert.

“You don’t want that done to anyone really. When we left the room, he was dead and when we woke up, he was alive on a feeding system, keeping him going,” he remembers. “We all thought, ‘what have they done to him?’”

After Rick’s death, Francis was ready to walk away from the band which he co-formed in 1962 while he was still at school under the name The Scorpions.

After a name change – and with Rick joining – the band went on to make musical history with more hit singles in the UK than any other. They are estimated to have played to more than 25 million people at 6,000 live shows.

“I was adamant that I was going to stop,” says Francis. “I’d had enough.”

But after drafting in Malone and drummer Leon Cave, the band has enjoyed a renaissance, playing the Royal Albert Hall and Glastonbury, and still selling out shows.

“I really started to enjoy it again,” he admits. “There is something very addictive about this job.

“But I am nearly 70, I have become institutionalised. Apart from the adulation, there is an insecure show-off in me.”

But now, for the first time in their history, the band have planned a hiatus.

Their European Aquostic and UK Plugged In: Live and Rockin’ tours run up to December 21 and that could be the only opportunity – bar some potential festival and one-off dates in 2018 – for fans to see the band for at least two years.

And for the first time in his career, dad-of-eight Francis will be home next year for the whole Christmas period, with his wife Eileen.

“I’ll be doing the Christmas shopping – normally the wife does it,” he laughs. “I have never been home at that time of the year. I think they are delighted.”

He insists the band will be back but confesses there may be a “part of me that thinks I will like the break too much”.

But with all this time on his hands, Francis has no intention of going off the rails. In fact, he still hasn’t touched a drink since quitting in 1988.

“I’d like to think I will get up in the morning, read the papers with my wife, do the crosswords,” he says. “And I like doing jigsaw puzzles. My wife sets a table up and we do them on there.”

But Rick’s death does make him think about the future and what it may bring.

“It makes me think of my mortality. A bit too much sometimes,” he muses.

“I wake in the morning and think ‘I am 68... if I kick the bucket today, I can see the Mirror writing, ‘Oh, the other one has kicked the bucket now. The Morecambe and Wise of rock’.”

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20th - "Live at the NEC" album reissues

The epic "Live at the NEC" release from 1982 was given the reissue treatment by Universal Music with a new double CD and triple vinyl release on 20th October. Presenting the full concert for the first time, these reissues were somewhat marred by a prodction fault on the second CD where "Roadhouse Blues" was silent for almost two minutes!

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21st - Quo concerts on the "Rock The Boat" cruise

Even after fifty years, there are still opportunities for some Quo "firsts". On 21st October, Quo played two shows on a cruise ship as part of the Rock The Boat cruise out of Sydney. The "Radiance of the Seas" left Sydney harbour on Monday 16th October, the day after the band's sold out show at the iconic Sydney opera house. The only band members to board in Sydney, however, were Leon Cave and Rhino, with the other members opting to join the boat when it docked in Noumea later in the week.

The following short review of Quo's performances on the cruise comes from Dave Coulson, the band's official photographer for Australia.

"... and the boat rocked Quo!

After three gigs in a row, Quo had a few days off before the Rock The Boat shows. Some of the band boarded in Sydney, while some jumped on at Noumea. There were some top notch Aussie artists (Angry Anderson, Jon Stevens, Jack Jones, Mark Gable, Baby Animals, The Radiators, Zepp Boys ......) headlining on the nights before Quo hit the stage. Given all the other 'minor players' performing around the ship, it was non-stop rock and the punters were well and truly ready for Quo's appearance.

Based around two dining room sittings, headline acts did two shows per night - 6:00 & 9:00. Passengers were allocated an early or late show, not both. All artists were restricted to 75 minute sets. Quo brought all there own gear for their shows - wireless setup instead of shared wired gear, which made for a bigger stage area.

Based on performance and audience reaction, both shows went off well - the motion of the ship had the band really rocking. (They felt it!) Because of this, I think the second show eclipsed the first, with the boys by then having their 'sea legs'. With a shortened setlist, "Burning Bridges" was bumped out and "Paper Plane" started the encore. That worked really well, with the punters fired up and screaming for more.

Before the usual rants begin, please note that this was the first time that Status Quo have performed on a cruise ship. So there is no comparison with other line ups of the band!! It was what it was - awesome!"

Francis gave an excellent interview on the cruise's TV channel (thanks to Quo's official Australian photographer, Dave Coulson, for the clip) and there is also an excellent video montage (put together by Gary O'Brien) which includes footage from the Quo gigs as well as some star-spotting on the boat!

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24th - Quo concert at Hamer Hall, Arts Centre, Melbourne, Australia

The last night of the "Last Night of the Electrics" Australian tour saw Quo rocking the Arts Centre's Hamer Hall on 24th October. The venue had sold well with just under two-thousand seats being sold and it felt like a pretty packed room by the time Quo took the stage at just after 9pm, after Dino Jag as the support band.

The band played the same set but with a noticeable tick up in energy and enjoyment on stage. Combined with a loud and enthusiastic audience (who were largely standing from the start), this made for the best night of the tour. I was fortunate to again be front row and right in front of Francis so it was a joy to watch him so relaxed, enjoying playing and entertaining a willing crowd. It was hard not to watch him right there inches away and not wonder whether this would be the last time I'd get to see him in such close confines.

As "Bye Bye Johnny" finished up, the band once again shook hands with the people up front, even Francis getting in on the act this time. The relaxed vibe the band exuded both on and off stage across the tour was great to see and getting to spend so much time with them out and about in Melbourne this time really was the icing on an already pretty bloody amazing cake.

Thanks to the band for making the massive effort to visit our shores, it was truly appreciated by the many fans who turned out to farewell (?) them. Here's hoping we get part three of the "Last Night of the Electrics" down here one day in the future too!

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27th - Quo concert at Opera House, Dubai, UAE

On their way back from Australia to the UK, Quo stopped off in the United Arab Emirates for a gig at the Dubai Opera House on 27th October. They played the same set as on the Australian tour to a decent audience, with a number of fans travelling from various parts of Europe to attend the gig (including some on their way back from the Australian tour!).

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