Status Quo @ Wolverhampton Civic Hall – Thursday 23rd April 2015


Review by Dean Pedley, photos by Lisa Billingham

Having gone decades without playing the Civic Hall, Status Quo have now been here for each of the last three years. Whereas on the last two occasions it was for the much lauded ‘Frantic Four’ reunion this time it is the turn of the regular configuration, albeit augmented by a number of auxiliary musicians (including a string quintet) in support of 2014’s Aquostic (Stripped Bare), the first time the band has issued an all-acoustic album at the thirty first attempt.

Status Quo
Status Quo

As anyone who caught the televised appearance at the Roundhouse will be aware, an acoustic Quo gig makes for a very different proposition than when the Telecasters are plugged in, with both band and audience seated throughout. Nevertheless they still appear to a suitably raucous reception and launch into ‘And It’s Better Now’. The set list offers a mix of long absent hits such as a Cajun-flavoured  ‘Rollin Home’ and dark and brooding ‘Don’t Drive My Car’ along with radically different versions of  usual suspects ‘Paper Plane’, ‘Caroline’ and more. Whilst Francis Rossi is his usual engaging self it has to be said that Rick Parfitt looks somewhat frail and vocally he is far from his best which was even more obvious in this environment. But musically the joyous reworking of their past is a huge success with debut single ‘Pictures Of Matchstick Men’ given a glorious pop twist and both strings and accordion put to great use where the electric guitars would normally shine on ‘Whatever You Want’, ‘What You’re Proposing’ and ‘Rockin All Over The World’.

Status Quo
Status Quo

For a long time Quo were accused of being nothing short of an annual pantomime act but as the last few years have evidenced they are still prepared to take some risks and step out of their comfort zone. Sure there was the appalling Bula Quo film and soundtrack album which might well prove to be the nadir of their career, but with both the FF reunion and now Aquostic they have been acclaimed by fans and critics alike. With a total of sixteen musicians on stage the sound was spot on and by the time of the encore of ‘Rock ‘til You Drop’ and ‘Burning Bridges’ the Civic Hall crowd were dancing in the aisles.

Set List:-
1. And It’s Better Now
2. Break The Rules
3. Again And Again
4. Paper Plane
5. Mystery Song / Little Lady
6. Rock ‘N’ Roll
7. Caroline
8. What You’re Proposing
9. Softer Ride
10. Down Down
11. Pictures Of Matchstick Men
12. Down The Dustpipe
13. All The Reasons
14. Reason For Living
15. Rollin’ Home
16. Don’t Drive My Car
17. Claudie
18. Rain
19. Marguerita Time
20. Nanana
21. Whatever You Want
22. Rockin’ All Over The World

23. Rock ‘Til You Drop
24. Burning Bridges (On And Off And On Again)

See more of Lisa’s photos here