Another packed crowd at Birmingham's LG Arena welcomed back Status Quo for the bands annual December visit. In a bill that also included local veteran rock and roller Roy Wood (The Move, ELO, Wizzard), Quo delivered ninety minutes of their trademark boogie shuffle and even added a couple of festive tunes to the obligatory encore. SoT's Dean Pedley reports from Birmingham on what was dubbed Quofestive 2011.
Still sporting his glasses, beard and big hair like it was 1973 Roy Wood more than warms up the audience with a jukebox of hits culled from his days with The Move and Wizzard. Backed by a band including a brass section and a female vocalist Woody leads them through "Blackberry Way", "Angel Fingers", "Flowers In The Rain" and "See My Baby Jive" to a rapturous response. An innovator back in the late 60's and early 70's Woody (as he wryly acknowledges) will always be best remembered as "the bloke off the telly who sings that Christmas song". And so with the crowd up on their feet it is a joyous "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" that brings his forty five minutes to a sing-a-long finale.
There aren't many artists that could follow Roy Wood but with 45 years under their belts and more than 60 UK hit singles Status Quo are definitely one of them. The bands recent studio album Quid Pro Quo was described on this site as a strong return to form and is given due recognition with three songs included in the show. "Two Way Traffic", "Rock n Roll n You" and "Let's Rock" prove that Quo can still write a tune or three and breathe new life into a set that has in the past been accused of becoming stale and repetitive. Francis Rossi may have lost the ponytail but his grinning demeanour is still present as he leads the band through the opening charge of "Caroline", "Something Bout You Baby I Like" and "The Wanderer".
With Rossi the natural leader on stage Rick Parfitt only takes a few lead vocal spots that includes the hard rocking "Rain". A couple of tours ago Parfitt was croaking his way through sentimental ballad "Living on an Island" but he appears to have been rejuvenated and this was a perfectly sung rendition. Keyboard player Andy Bown straps on a guitar and comes stage front and centre with Rossi, Parfitt and bassist Rhino Edwards for the eight legged spectacle that is "Gerundula" with the four shifting positions throughout. After a superfluous drum solo they begin the home straight with the immovable quartet of timeless classics that always close the main set - "Roll Over Lay Down", "Down Down", "Whatever You Want" and "Rockin' All Over The World". By now the crowd are entirely on their feet and it is clear that once again Quo have delivered a show that will have many of them back again in twelve months time for more of the same. Status Quo's enduring appeal truly does span generations and whether you consider them a national treasure or a guilty pleasure they remain a captivating live draw.
Something Bout You Baby I like
Rock n Roll n You
Beginning Of The End
Medley – What You're Proposing / Down The Dustpipe / Little Lady / Red Sky / Dear John
Big Fat Mama
Two Way Traffic
Living On An Island
In The Army Now
Roll Over Lay Down
Whatever You Want
Rockin All Over The World
Walking In A Winter Wonderland (with Roy Wood + Kim Wilde)
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (with Roy Wood + Kim Wilde)
Reviewed by Dean Pedley