Quo made a personal appearance at the start of the Great North Run in Newcastle on Sunday October 4th. The event drew a huge entry and the event was shown live on BBC's "Grandstand" programme.
Quo mimed to "Fun,Fun,Fun" and the "Best Of" medley ("Caroline", "Down Down", "Whatever You Want" and "Rockin' All Over The World"). But they were at least twenty feet up a gantry playing this in front of the start of the race, so playing properly would have been impossible. The wet weather gear they were sporting hardly helped either!!Revisit the October 1998 event list
Quo were featured on BBC1's "National Lottery Dreamworld", presented by Ulrikka Johnson. The show aims to make dreams come true and a lady Quo fan got the star treatment to realise her dream with Quo.
She had a dream of sitting with Rick Parfitt strumming guitars. They got her to London on some pretence of winning tickets to see a show with hotel included, etc. After she got back to the hotel, a knock at the door and it's Francis. The woman nearly dies, but steadies herself to go with him to another room where Rick is sitting playing an acoustic guitar. The woman is a bit dumbstruck. Rick chats to her for a while and plays a few snippets on the acoustic (including Caroline). Next thing, the whole band are squeezed into an adjacent room and knock out a shortened version of Caroline including said lady "playing" along.
Back in the studio, the lady gets presented with the cross guitars as usual.Revisit the October 1998 event list
An afternoon drive around Oxford led to a signpost for the famous "RAF Brize Norton" and nearby Carterton. The country road leads along the perimeter of the airbase and there was lots of activity as the base is currently being used to co-ordinate flights to Kosovo (information courtesy of ex-RAF man John Coghlan). After the small village of Brize Norton itself, the surprisingly large town of Carterton and its social centre, the venue for "State of Quo" to rock later on.
As the band arrived after their long jaunt from Manchester, it was all hands to the pumps to get their gear out of the van (in the pouring rain!), into the hall and up onto the stage. John Coghlan arrived and quietly went about the business of setting up his kit, sharing the odd joke and Quo story with the band as he did so. Time cracked on all too quickly so just time for one quick song to soundcheck (Junior's Wailing) before the hall was opened for business.
All that hard work deserved a drink or two, so the band took a well earned rest after their drive and setting up - a convivial atmosphere in a local pub led to many Quo reminisces and some discussions about the set list. It soon became time for us all the head back to the venue, for the band to prepare for the show and for me to take up a front of stage position to enjoy their performance.
The waiting was over at 10.20 when "State of Quo" (Mike O'Grady on lead guitar and vocals, Paul Carr on rhythm guitar and vocals, Tony Lingard on bass and one John Coghlan on drums) took the stage and launched into what would become close on two hours of old Quo. A few technical hitches did nothing to spoil the flow and the band were on their best form, with John Coghlan stealing the limelight more than once from his well-elevated drum riser. All the old Quo favourites that the band play so well were there - "Caroline", "Railroad" (with a truly fabulous lead performance from Mike), "Break The Rules", "Rain", "Big Fat Mama" (one of the band's strongest songs, performed true to the original and as hard as it should be) and, surprisingly, "Something 'Bout You Baby I Like" (one of the last songs John would ever perform live with Quo). An enthusiastic crowd from the off, the hall was humming and the band fed off their efforts to give the best performance I have seen from them. Local lad, John Coghlan, does his job so well as always, but with none of the pretence of a rock and roll star, even coming forward to introduce the rest of the band (and throw in a quick joke at Alan Lancaster's expense!). His drum solo in "Bye Bye Johnny" was classic - anyone who thinks drums are not a musical instrument should catch a look at him on form, he made the drums sing and didn't seem like he wanted to stop. Some military type drumming even came in and all the rest of the band could do was stand back and watch until he was quite ready to continue with the song.
A sweaty "State of Quo" left the stage at about 12.15 after just one encore and their audience had a real treat - and they knew it. A great audience of about 200 packed into the hall made the band very welcome and "State of Quo" repaid them with a class, energetic and very accurate performance.Revisit the October 1998 event list
Close on the heels of their Worcester Park outing, the 4 Bills reappeared to play on behalf of Isleworth School, using Brunel University's Hamilton Hall. The large hall filled quickly with a noticeably younger clientelle than the usual Bills audience and the young support band went down well with their contemporaries. They played a 45 minute set, kicking off with "Moby Dick" and bashing through one rock standard after another, though with no real obvious direction making their set somewhat haphazard. Good performances from the lead guitarist (apart from his brave but unsuccessful attempt at Guns 'n' Roses "Sweet Child of Mine") and drummer, and a good warm up for the Bills themselves.
A short break and the 4 Bills were on stage at 9.30, to a packed hall. With the Bills, there is no easy ride and things begin as they mean to go on - hot, frantic and powerful. Johnny Warman exudes confidence (along with the obligatory bodily fluids) and soon got the youngsters on his side. Rick Parfitt, Laura and her two daughters arrived shortly after the gig started and the little girls received a nice welcome from Warman and plenty of interaction with Rhino as well. Rick left after half an hour or so and those of us up front could go on to act as daft as we liked without his close perusal !!
The 4 Bills set was very similar to that of Worcester Park, but no less enjoyable as a result. Rhino and Jeff looked great and gave energetic performances, Jeff in particular seeming to give it his all. The band left the stage at just after 11pm but an encore was assured, before they finally called it a night at about 11.20.
A good crowd and a number of familiar faces, both from within and outside of the mailing list. Kev Sullivan, Jennie Walker, Rick and Donna Norman all made the gig and we all had an enjoyable evening. The usual opportunities to meet John and Jeff after the gig presented themselves and we had an interesting discussion with John about the new Quo album and his own solo project.
Another fine evening of entertainment provided by one of the tightest and most professional setups you will ever see on the music scene - I've said it before, but will say it again, the 4 Bills experience is a must for Quo fans.Revisit the October 1998 event list