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johnny main
Words: Johnny Main
24th October 2017

status quo

On 13th and 14th May 1982, Status Quo played two live shows at Birmingham's famed National Exhibition Centre (NEC) with the latter show performed in front of HRH Prince Charles in aid of his Prince's Trust charity – the very first rock show to be performed in front of a senior member of the British Royal Family.

At the time Quo consisted of Francis Rossi (Vocals/Guitar), Rick Parfitt (Vocals/Guitar), Alan Lancaster (Bass Guitar/Vocals), Andy Bown (Keyboards/Backing Vocals) and Pete Kircher on drums, replacing the original drummer John Coghlan who left the year before.

The live performance here has been widely regarded as one of Quo's finest that they've ever committed to record.

Selected tracks from the show were originally released on vinyl and cassette as part of the band's 1982 box set 'From The Makers of...' while a further standalone version of the live NEC material was later made available on vinyl and cassette in 1984 on an album titled simply 'Live at the NEC'.

This was released on CD in 1991 and was also included as part of Quo's 2006 standard album re-issue programme.

The landmark NEC show was also recorded on video tape by BBC Pebble Mill and in 1982, fourteen tracks including 'Rockin' All Over The World', 'Johnny B Goode', 'Whatever You Want' and 'Over The Edge' were released on home video.

Large chunks of the show remained unreleased until Quo released 'Live at the BBC' box set in late October 2010. This set included the full NEC show in audio format as part of the highly sought after seven disc set and eleven tracks on DVD (confusingly, not all originally included in the VHS release) taken from the original BBC television broadcast which was introduced by rock legend Tommy Vance.

This new CD and vinyl release makes the entire show available once again, this time as a standalone audio release and, as with the recent influx of Status Quo Deluxe Editions this release has been re-mastered by Andy Pearce and includes new liner notes from Dave Ling along with photos and memorabilia from the time.

All in all, it's a solid release which has a clearer vocal sound than previous releases and the drums seem to have an extra energy to them too. What it really does is to showcase how good Quo were live in the early 80s and a lot of the old favourites like 'Roll Over Lay Down', 'Backwater', 'Hold You Back' and 'Rain' are here to be checked off as well as tracks that have long since been dropped from the set list like 'Dirty Water' and the under-rated 'Over The Edge'.

To be honest, though, it's the twenty-three minute version of 'Forty-Five Hundred Times' that shines the brightest here. A track regularly voted in the Quo fan's Top Five, it's here in all its guitar laden glory and really doesn't seem a minute too long in what is a truly astounding performance.

Of course with every positive there's a negative, and unfortunately there seems to be an issue with the second disc here during 'Roadhouse Blues' – whether this is a manufacturing fault or a splice of two different source materials of varying quality causing a dip in the sound, I'm not sure but it certainly does affect the enjoyment of an otherwise solid release.

The Status Quo line up of today still continue to tour after the loss of guitarist Rick Parfitt. Whether you agree or not is up for debate, and believe me, it's been debated long and hard on internet forums, Status Quo fan Facebook groups and the band's official Facebook page.

As Quo and their management continue to drip feed more classic Quo out to a wider public, issues like this should be applauded, so let's hope the sales of this record trigger more live releases from the Quo archives which, surely, have a wealth of unreleased material just waiting to be cleaned up for us all to enjoy.

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You can see a classic performance of 'Hold You Back' from this historic show here:

'Status Quo – Live at the NEC' CD Track List:
Disc 1:
Roll Over Lay Down
Little Lady
Don't Drive My Car
Whatever You Want
Hold You Back
Rockin' All Over The World
Over The Edge
Don't Waste My Time
Dirty Water

Disc 2:
Forty-Five Hundred Times
Big Fat Mama
Roadhouse Blues
Down Down
Bye Bye Johnny

You can see the current line up of Status Quo live here:
Friday 27th October – Dubai Opera House, Dubai*
Thursday 16th November – The Nick Rayns LCR, UEA, Norwich**
Friday 17th November – Stadsschouwburg, Antwerpen**
Saturday 18th November – Donau-Arena, Regensburg**
Tuesday 21st November – Bielefeld, Stadthalle**
Wednesday 22nd November – Hannover Kuppelsaal**
Thursday 23rd November - Poppodium 013, Veemarktstraat, Tilburg**
Sunday 26th November – O2 Apollo, Manchester*
Monday 27th November – City Hall, Sheffield*
Wednesday 29th November – St David's Hall, Cardiff*
Thursday 30th November – Hexagon, Reading*
Saturday 2nd December – International Centre, Bournemouth*
Sunday 3rd December – Civic Hall, Wolverhampton*
Tuesday 5th December – Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow*
Wednesday 6th December – City Hall, Newcastle*
Thursday 8th December – Eventim Apollo, London*
Monday 11th December – Friedrich-Stadt-Palast, Berlin**
Tuesday 12th December – Frankfurt, Jahrhunderthalle**
Wednesday 13th December – Baden Baden, Festspielhaus**
Friday 15th December – Stuttgart, Liederhalle**
Saturday 16th December – Halle/Saale, Friedrich Händel Halle**
Monday 18th December – Düsseldorf, Mitsubishi Electric Halle**
Tuesday 19th December – Hamburg, Mehr! Theater**
Wednesday 21st December – Nürnberg, Meistersingerhalle**

* - Electric
** - Acoustic

Tickets for UK shows are available right here.

Status Quo's Current Line Up is:
Francis Rossi – Vocals/Guitars
Andrew Bown – Keyboards/Guitar/Vocals
John 'Rhino' Edwards – Bass Guitar/Vocals
Richie Malone – Guitars/Vocals
Leon Cave – Drums/Backing Vocals


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