|STATUS QUO ROCKIN' ALL OVER GLASGOW'S HYDRA IN PRE-CHRISTMAS ELECTRIC SHOW
Status Quo: The Hydro, Glasgow
Tuesday 20th December 2016
Words: Johnny Main, Pictures: Carlan Braid
For the past twenty-six years I've been going to see Status Quo live throughout the UK, and there was always going to be a day when it would be my last ever gig from one of my favourite bands, and potentially, this set could realistically have been it – Quo gig number forty-seven on my list, and 'Is There A Better Way' to finish my Quo gigging career than with a good old fashioned pre-Christmas knees up at the Hydro in Glasgow?
Obviously 'Hardcore' Quo fans will argue this current line-up is more the Francis Rossi Band than it is actually Status Quo after the enforced withdrawal of stalwart guitarist Rick Parfitt from the line-up earlier this year due to medical issues (which you can read about here), leaving frontman Rossi as the sole driving force of the band.
Having said that, it seemed like a lot of the people who turned up at The Hydro, to the band's only Scottish gig during their annual Winter Tour, as part of this Last Night Of The Electrics tour, were probably less bothered about the line-up of the band in front of them and just wanted to have a good time and hear the hits from Quo's impressive back catalogue.
Rossi seemed genuinely glad to be back in Glasgow and the smile on his face throughout the evening showed that he's more than happy to shoulder the band even though his on stage partner of almost fifty years isn't there to back him up.
Fun is had with the audience during the evening as Rossi picks out crowd members to wave or pull funny faces at, and he interacts with bass player John 'Rhino' Edwards particularly well during this year's set, telling Edwards at one point: "You see – they do like you," obviously a dig at some of the keyboard warriors who think Quo ended somewhere back in the mid-Eighties. During all the inter-song banter however, there's no mention of Parfitt at all, but his replacement, Irishman Richie Malone, gets a generous introduction from Rossi and he's warmly applauded by the nearly sold out audience.
Let's not kid ourselves, though, as Parfitt was definitely missed when it came to the music. For set opener 'Caroline', usually Parfitt's powering the song up with that famous guitar riff during the intro, but Malone was more of a Fiat 500 compared to the Ferrari powerhouse of Rick. Likewise when it came to the songs usually sung by Parfitt like the evergreen 'Rain', 'Again And Again' and the somewhat tired sounding 'Creepin' Up On You', vocal duties were handled competently enough by Edwards while keyboard player Andrew Bown and Rossi shared the vocals on the classic 'Whatever You Want', with much the same results.
Quo have been maligned in the past decade or so by some sections of their fan base for their somewhat static setlist and even something like this Last Night Of The Electrics tour doesn't bring any wholesale changes to their standard setlist. Sure, the band have brought back 'Softer Ride' from their 1973 'Hello' album and 'Paper Plane' from 1972s rock solid 'Piledriver' album for this tour, both of which are well received it must be said, but overall the set remains as it has done for well for over a decade.
Trudging through the aforementioned 'Creepin' Up On You' for the umpteenth time doesn't fill me with joy and the interminable 'In The Army Now' just makes me want to hold up a sign saying "Stop! Play 'A Year' or 'Accident Prone' instead!" because I want this to be a memorable night for 'All The (right) Reasons' and not just another bog standard Quo gig.
Still, there were some highlights scattered throughout the set including 'Beginning Of The End' which bounces along at a fair rate whilst the classic 'Roll Over Lay Down' still rocks with the best of them and has a group of headbangers down in front of the stage shaking what they've still got left up top, and the set would be undoubtedly much poorer without the latter included, that's for sure. The inevitable 'Rocking All Over the World' sets the Hydro on fire as the audience burst into life once again and despite hearing this more times than I can count, there's still something strangely fascinating about watching ten thousand people going absolutely bananas to it.
'Burning Bridges' opens the encore before the familiar duo of 'Rock N' Roll Music' and 'Bye Bye Johnny' bring the show to a close. I have a love/hate relationship with 'Bye Bye Johnny' – it's a great song (just check out the blistering studio version on 1975s 'On The Level') but at the same time it's sad that it's potentially the last ever song I might see Quo play live and electric. With their acoustic shows set to take over from their electric shows, it's a shame that the band seem to be going out on a whimper and not the bang that they truly deserve after all they've achieved in their hugely successful career.
Status Quo setlist:
Something 'bout You Baby I Like
Beginning Of The End
Hold You Back
What You're Proposing/Down The Dustpipe/Wild Side Of Life/Railroad/Again And Again
Creepin' Up On You
In The Army Now
Roll Over Lay Down
Whatever You Want
Rockin' All Over The World
Rock And Roll Music/Bye Bye Johnny
Status Quo are:
Francis Rossi – Vocals/Guitar
Andrew Bown – Keyboards/Guitar/Backing Vocals
John Rhino Edwards – Bass Guitar/Backing Vocals
Richie Malone – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Leon Cave – Drums/Backing Vocals