||MARK TAYLOR'S BIG CITY NIGHTS
MAN DOWN STATUS QUO STORM THE CASTLE AS FREDDIE PROVES HE'S READY WITH THESE IMMORTAL CHORDS
Status Quo, Rochester Castle, 13th July 2016
Mark Taylor: Photos by Helen Devlin
This was an unprecedented fifth time that Status Quo had played to a sold out crowd at the historic Rochester Castle on the bank of the River Medway, having first performed here in 2005.
Just before scheduled showtime last year, guitarist Rick Parfitt suffered a bit of the ole Delhi-Belly, resulting in the performance being postponed until this year, however there was more serious news about the 67-year-old's health when Rick suffered a suspected heart attack last month when the band were in Antalya, Turkey leaving many Quo fans wondering if this show was on and off and on again.
But Status Quo are not a band to burn their bridges and in the words of Freddie Mercury, the show must go on.
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Whilst Rick was understandably having some much needed recuperation time, resting at home in his silk kimono and comfy slippers, the task of playing those immortal chords went to Freddie Edwards, the son of Quo's bassist Rhino.
As promised from the year before, Steve Harley And Cockney Rebel were the special guests and their addition to the bill made for a value for money package.
On lively form, Harley played the bulk of tracks from his classic album 'Best Years Of Our Lives' which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. Ending with the haunting epic 'Sebastian' and the jolly household known hit 'Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)' made for a jubilant finale.
As Quo took to the stage, it was the striking chords from the man off the sub's bench, Freddie Edwards, that were the first to be heard as he tore into the opening riff of 'Caroline' before the band thumped into life. It was evident that Parfitt had given the youngster some valid tuition, even though he only really needs to know four chords, but Freddie nailed it and Quo were back on form, firing on all cylinders.
When the songs are this well known and infectious you soon realise that the hits and the brand of Status Quo are bigger than any individual as the crowd at the Castle erupted into life, dancing and air guitaring happily and with glee, especially to such old rocking favourites such as 'Paper Plane' and 'Hold You Back' as well as the more recent thruster 'Beginning Of The End'.
In the absence of Parfitt, bassist Rhino Edwards took over the vocals for 'Creeping Up On You' and he has an earthy, bluesy voice. Keyboardist Andy Bown came out to play guitar for this number too adding some rich harmonica to the song's tail end.
All five members were out stage front for a stripped down Celtic flavoured jig on the fabulous 'Gerdundula'.
After a bouncy 'Roll Over Lay Down', Francis Rossi was left alone on stage with his green Telecaster to snatch out the opening chords to their storming Number One hit 'Down Down'. Rossi was in usual playful mood all evening with his jovial mutterings.
Freddie Edwards, who after these batch of dates will earn the nickname Steady Freddy from the Quo Army, performed the opening chords to 'Whatever You Want' before Rossi and Bown took over the vocals on what is another pulsating rocker of a tune.
'Rockin' All Over The World' naturally signalled the end of what was a triumphant gig in the face of adversity.
After the encores, Francis Rossi sat on the drum riser admiring his band as they took their well earned bows. Rossi then slipped off his white trainers and threw them into the crowd.
It was the son wot won it, but let's all wish Rick Parfitt a speedy recovery and hope to see him again soon rightly where he belongs, on stage for the December arena dates.
Hold You Back
Beginning Of The End
What You're Proposin'/Down The Dustpipe/Wild Side Of Life/Railroad
Don't Waste My Time
Creeping Up On You
In The Army Now
Roll Over Lay Down
Whatever You Want
Rockin' All Over The World
Rock N Roll Music/Bye Bye Johnny
You Can See Status Quo Live here: Tickets for UK and Irish dates are available by clicking here.
Saturday 16th July – Guitar-en-Scene, Saint-Julien-en-Genevois
Wednesday 20th July – Het Groot Festival, Leuven
Saturday 23rd July – Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston
Friday 29th July – Arena, Pula
Saturday 30th July – Domplatz, Linz
Thursday 4th August – Biberach, Marktplatz
Friday 5th August – Dicky Woodstock Festival, Steenwijkerwold
Saturday 6th August – Caldicot Castle, Monmouthshire
Thursday 11th August – Stars In Town, Schaffhausen
Friday 12th August – Lakeland Festival, Erlach
Saturday 13th August – Open Air am Marktplatz, Rankweil
Wednesday 17th August – Cap Roig Festival, Girona
Friday 19th August – Starlite, Marbella
Saturday 20th August – Tarraco Arena Plaza, Tarragona
Sunday 21st August – Plaza de Toros de Alicante
Friday 26th August – Somerset Rocks, Vivary Park, Taunton
Saturday 27th August – Parc Y Scarlets, Llanelli
Sunday 28th August – CarFest, Laverstoke Park Farm, Overton
Sunday 11th September – BBC Radio 2 Festival In A Day, Hyde Park, London*
Wednesday 12th October – Gasometer, Vienna
Thursday 13th October – Wörtherseehalle, Klagenfurt
Saturday 15th October – Hallenstadium, Zürich
Monday 17th October – Poppodium, Tilburg
Friday 28th October – SSE Arena, Belfast
Saturday 29th October – 3 Arena, Dublin
Thursday 10th November – Barclaycard Arena, Hamburg
Friday 11th November – Arena, Leipzig
Saturday 12th November – Dreiländerhalle, Passau
Monday 14th November – Max-Schmeling-Halle, Berlin
Tuesday 15th November – Messehalle, Erfurt
Thursday 17th November – Stadthalle, Rostock
Friday 18th November – Nordseehalle, Emden
Saturday 19th November – Lanxess Arena, Köln
Monday 21st November – Jahrhunderthalle, Frankfurt
Tuesday 22nd November – Brosearena, Bamberg
Thursday 24th November – König-Pilsener-Arena, Oberhausen
Friday 25th November – Swiss Life Arena, Hannover
Saturday 26th November – Stadthalle, Magdeburg
Tuesday 29th November – Porsche Arena, Stuttgart
Wednesday 30th November – Olympiahalle, München
Friday 2nd December – Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam
Sunday 4th December – Zenith, Paris
Thursday 8th December – Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham
Friday 9th December – Bournemouth Bic, Bournemouth
Sunday 11th December –The 02 Arena, London
Tuesday 13th December – Brighton Centre, Brighton
Wednesday 14th December – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
Friday 16th December – Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham
Saturday 17th December – First Direct Arena, Leeds
Monday 19th December – Manchester Arena, Manchester
Tuesday 20th December – The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
Thursday 22nd December – Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
Friday 23rd December – Echo Arena, Liverpool
* - Special acoustic performance
Tickets for UK and Irish dates are available by clicking here.