Review by David Waterfield and photos by Rich Ward
I first saw Status Quo on their End Of The Road tour in 1984 at the NEC. To this day it remains one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to. I’ve seen them many times since that night and Monday saw them return to what is now the LG Arena for QuoFestive 2012.
Opening act Eddie and the Hot Rods were on stage at 7 p.m. and were faced with numerous empty seats as people were still making their way to the venue. They played a set of their hits including ‘Gloria’, ‘Get Out Of Denver’, and their best known track ‘Do Anything You Wanna Do’ punctuated by newer songs. They worked damned hard up there and produced a tight, energetic set that won over the crowd and they were warmly appreciated at the end.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Bonnie Tyler but the Welsh songstress produced an enjoyable set full of her best known songs including ‘It’s A Heartache’, ‘Lost In France’ and the histrionic Jim Steinman epics ‘Holding Out For A Hero’, ‘Faster Than The Speed Of Night’ and of course ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’. Highlights for me though were her version of ‘The Best’ which served as a reminder that she – not Tina Turner – recorded the original version of the song and a cover version of Janis Joplin’s ‘Turtle Blues’. Bonnie can belt out the blues and it’s something I’d like to hear her do more of.
Status Quo have earned their place as one the great British rock bands thanks to a thoroughly well-deserved reputation as a fantastic live act and a huge back catalogue of hits stretching back decades.
Quo were in fine form right from the start and they came roaring out of the blocks with five Quo classics performed back to back: ‘Caroline’, ‘Paper Plane’, ‘Hold You Back’ (good to have that one back in the set!) ‘Rain’ and ‘Mystery Song’. It’s hard to argue with that kind of pedigree.
John Edwards and Francis Rossi darted around the stage encouraging the already enthusiastic crowd and Andrew Bown stepped from behind the keyboards during the first of several medleys to provide harmonica on ‘Down The Dustpipe’.
Quo’s set was crammed full of crowd pleasing well-loved classics including ‘Down Down’, ‘Whatever You Want’, ‘Rockin All Over The World’ and ‘In The Army Now’ – the latter being a real set highlight. It was a trip down memory lane for some members of the audience but it was good to see teenagers and twenty-somethings down at the front too, head banging away to ‘Big Fat Mama’! Good on ya!
It wasn’t all about nostalgia though as tracks from Quo’s recent albums also took their place in the set. ‘Rock n Roll n You’ (from Quid Pro Quo) ‘Beginning Of The End’ (from In Search Of The Fourth Chord) and two tracks from 2002’s excellent Heavy Traffic album – ‘Creeping Up On You’ and ‘The Oriental’ – all slotted in seamlessly to provide a good balance between the old and the new.
The encore featured a Yuletide medley of ‘Winter Wonderland’, ‘Rocking Around The Christmas Tree’ and Quo’s own Christmas song, ‘It’s Christmas Time’ followed by their 1988 hit ‘Burning Bridges’. It was a bit cheesy but it was jolly good fun. And this was ‘QuoFestive’ after all!
Every time I’ve seen Status Quo it’s been a great night and tonight was no exception. The return of the Frantic Four to Wolves Civic next year should be a different experience but hopefully QuoFest is something that will continue. Same time next year lads?
And you can see more shots from the show here: