O2 Academy, Glasgow
Wednesday 9th April 2014
Status Quo – forever those denim clad no-nonsense boogie rockers and whether you like them or not, they are one of the UK's most successful acts having had more UK hit singles that any other band and appearing on BBC TV's Top Of The Pops a staggering 106 times (more than any other band) but no-one divides opinion quite like them – especially if you're a Status Quo fan.
Tonight was the last night of the (so called) 'Frantic Four' tour in Glasgow, which sees ex-drummer John Coghlan and ex-bass player Alan Lancaster join Quo stalwarts Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt on one last reunion tour (after the huge success of the first reunion tour last year) and before Rossi and Parfitt return to their 'day jobs' – ie. the current Status Quo line up.
There are distinct differences between the current band and the 'Frantic Four' line up – firstly there were, as you might have guessed already, only four members on stage for a majority of the gig. There were no keyboards anywhere on stage and that means there was no rendition of (arguably) their most famous song, 'Rocking All Over The World'. In fact most of the songs played tonight weren't even singles! This was a night to turn back the clock to the bands heyday in the seventies.
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Any audience members expecting some of the bands other biggest hits like 'What You're Proposin', 'In The Army Now', 'Whatever You Want' or 'Burning Bridges' might have been disappointed not to hear them but what they did witness was a band who are quite happy to play a set of songs where the oldest number was written in 1976.
Following the pattern from the bands seminal album, 'Live' (recorded itself in 1976 at the Apollo in Glasgow) the band powered through nineteen tracks like a vintage but well oiled machine. Rossi and Parfitt are used to playing on big stages with the current Quo line up, so their enthusiasm and musicianship is without question, but for Coghlan and Lancaster things were slightly different.
Coghlan can still swing a mean beat behind the drum kit but as the ninety minute show wore on, you could see him tire and begin to struggle ever so slightly. Lancaster has had some health problems in the past couple of years and though he may be unsteady on his feet at times or struggle to sing as loud as he wants to, his enthusiasm for his band mates, the fans and the music is unabated.
Lancaster takes lead vocals on early numbers like the 'Junior's Wailing' and the classic pairing of 'Backwater/Just Take Me' before handing over to Rossi for 'Is There a Better Way' and 'In My Chair'. 'Blue Eyed Lady' penned in 1973 by Lancaster/Parfitt had its live debut on the 2013 Reunion tour after years of fans asking for it to be played live, and it's a real treat to hear it again this year.
Likewise '(April) Spring, Summer and Wednesdays' written by Rossi and Bob Young (who appears sporadically onstage during the evening with his harmonica) in 1970 is another one from the mists of time that the fans genuinely have a lot of affection for. The band's signature tune of the seventies, 'Forty-Five Hundred Times' is also included in the set and during the band's alcohol/drug fueled days, the live version of could run on for over twenty minutes but it's cropped down to a more respectable five minutes here with 'Gotta Go Home', making its first return to the set in nearly forty years, tagged onto the end.
As the encores come round, the perennial favourite 'Caroline' is thrashed out to the pleasure of the crowd before Lancaster steps up to the microphone for the final time for a rendition of Chuck Berry's 'Bye Bye Johnny'. This has been a nostalgic tour for all four members but especially Coghlan and Lancaster.
The volume of the audience every time there was a break between songs was just immense and if this is the last time these four guys tour together then I'm glad that I made the effort to go. If, on the other hand, they want to do more shows together, then I'll gladly hand over my ticket money right now!
Just Take Me
Is There a Better Way
In My Chair
Blue Eyed Lady
Most of the Time
(April) Spring, Summer and Wednesdays
Forty-Five Hundred Times/Gotta Go Home
Big Fat Mama
Bye Bye Johnny
Status Quo are:
Francis Rossi – Vocals/Lead Guitar
Rick Parfitt – Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
Alan Lancaster – Vocals/Bass Guitar
John Coghlan - Drums
Status Quo Online:
Official Website: http://www.statusquo.co.uk
Photos (c) Steve Goudie 2014