Friday, June 21, 2024

Status Quo – Official Archive Series, Vol 1

Surely there can’t be too much more to be said about the venerable Status Quo .. everyone and their dog knows who they are and, if you’re a rock fan aged fifteen or older and you’ve not seen them ‘live,’ then where have you been?  For many years they’ve been mainstays of the rock circuit, plugging away with their three-chord rock ‘n roll and thrilling thousands with their gigs, and they can claim to be one of the hardest-working bands in rock. Today the Quo exist in name only. The ranks of the ‘Frantic Four’ who made Quo a legend (Rossi, Parfitt, Lancaster and Coghlan) have been decimated by the sad losses of Parfitt and Lancaster, Coughlan now has his own version of Quo and Rossi tours under his own name on a chat and music show.

The performances on these Official Archive Series have been carefully selected from a whole series of iconic Quo performances down the years which spans their entire catalogue, and include several deep cuts and fan favourites. Vol 1 in the series was recorded in October 1991 at the Heineken Hall, Amsterdam, during Quo’s ‘Pictures Exposed’ world tour, based on their celebratory 2008 collection ‘Pictures-40 years of hits.’ Mike Rossi says “The Heineken Hall is great, just built for sound. I remember this gig well, the band sounded great, partly because the venue’s good and partly because, well, it’s Amsterdam.”

Quo were certainly on fire this evening and, while this version of Quo can’t compete with the power of the Frantic Four, nonetheless they give a very good account of what Quo is all about. Disc1 kicks off with the evergreen ‘Caroline,’ and they soon have the Dutch audience immediately onside. Quo are at their best on tracks like ‘Mean Girl,’ ‘Hold You Back,’ ‘Beginning Of The End and Creeping Up On You,’ and they rock like a bitch on heat. ‘Don’t Drive My Car’ (or ‘Don’t Crash My Car’ as Rossi tells the crowd) has the ring of ‘Without Love’ by the Doobie Brothers. Disc 2 begins with ‘Living On An Island’ and ‘In The Army Now,’ two of the weaker tracks in the entire Quo catalogue which bring nothing to the party, and the drum solo was frankly risible, but they’re soon back in their stride and give us a run of absolute stone cold classic Quo tracks .. ‘Roll Over Lay Down, Down Down,’ ‘Whatever You Want and Rocking All Over The World’. They encore with a deep cut from a very early album, Ma Kelly’s Greasy Spoon, the classic Steamhammer track ‘Junior’s Wailing,’ and conclude with a medley of Chuck Berry’s ‘Rock ‘n Roll Music’ and Bye Bye Johnny.

This release sets the bar high for any future release in the Archive series. Quo will never win awards for musical originality or virtuoso playing, but when they rock like this, few bands would want to follow them onstage after they leave.

‘Vol. 1 – Live In Amsterdam’ will be released on 11 August 2023, on strictly limited and numbered CD and vinyl editions, as well as on digital formats.

Laurence Todd
Laurence Todd
Took early retirement after many years as a teacher in order to write books as well as about music. A long-time music obsessive, has wide and eclectic tastes but particularly likes prog rock and rock in general. Enjoys going to gigs and discovering new acts.

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Surely there can’t be too much more to be said about the venerable Status Quo .. everyone and their dog knows who they are and, if you’re a rock fan aged fifteen or older and you’ve not seen them ‘live,’ then where have you...Status Quo - Official Archive Series, Vol 1