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Noel Draper only went to see the veteran rockers on a whim. He left a head-rocked convert.
Let’s get this straight from the start. I am not really a Status Quo fan. Sure I have seen them live a few times over the last 20 years but I don’t own any albums unless a Greatest Hits given as a present a few years ago by a mad old Aunty counts. So why, earlier this month, was I stood near the back of a slightly dilapidated Wolverhampton Civic Hall nodding my head along to a song I had never heard before?
It all started with our customary jukebox theme night at my local public house every Friday. Topics have included ‘Bands with only 3 letters in their name’ and ‘Songs with a colour in the title’. The theme night starts off with good intentions and many fine tunes are played but after a while, especially if the beer is flowing, arguments start to creep in. This particular argument had begun when one friend, we shall call him ‘Jeff’, punched in the numbers for ‘Down Down’. When challenged about his bizarre song choice ‘Jeff’ said one word. “Quo”. After the shouting had died down another friend said that Status Quo would soon be performing a series of concerts with their original line up and that “We should all go, it will be great”. We, or the beer, agreed.
So there we were, looking slightly out of place by not wearing tight faded denim or Quo tour t-shirts, nodding our heads in time to songs we didn’t know but weirdly it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter that the building looked like it would fall down at any moment. It didn’t matter that we were the youngest there. It didn’t matter because of one thing and one thing only, Status Quo were fantastic. Really, really fantastic.
From the opening bars of ‘Junior’s Wailing’ through to an excellent cover of Chuck Berry’s ‘Bye Bye Baby’, an apt song to finish with if ever there was one, the ‘Frantic Four’ showcased their blues background superbly. The returning duo, Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan, sounded like they had never been away, although they seemed to be lacking a bit in stage presence. Francis Rossi still told a few jokes and continued his annoying habit of facing the drummer rather than the crowd and Rick Parfitt continued to over heat whilst not really interacting with anyone else. It did look at times as though they still all didn’t really get on with each other. Not that this seemed to matter to the die hard fans all around us who left the Civic Hall happy and sweaty.
‘Jeff’ is still adamant that ‘Quo’ should be allowed in the ‘Bands with only 3 letters in their name’ category. I’m inclined to agree with him now, especially as it stopped him playing anything by R.E.M.