Sunday, July 14, 2024

Status Quo – Official Archive Series, Vol 3 – Live in Westonbirt, UK

Following Amsterdam and London’s O2, Volume 3 of the Official Archive series sees the mighty Status Quo rocking all over an arboretum in Westonbirt, England. Each release in this series captures Staus Quo doing what they’re best at, which is playing ‘live’. Each double CD release captures much of the essential essence of the band – the raw energy and their infectious onstage enthusiasm, as well as plenty of powerful and timeless riffage, not to mention trusted, evergreen fan favourites as well as the occasional deep cut. They’ve released many studio albums down the years, several of which didn’t quite come up to the mark, but they rarely fail when they release a ‘live’ album.

After a short intro piece, Quo hit the ground running with ‘Caroline’. Back in the day, the ‘Frantic Four’ rocked with a power surge which could light up a city street, but this later period version of the Quo uses keyboards to fill out its sound and, frankly, I’m unconvinced piano tinkling adds anything to tracks like ‘Caroline,’ ‘Hold You Back’ and ‘Drive My Car’

Status Quo - Official Archive Series, Vol 3 - Live in Westonbirt, UK

Of the three in the series released thus far, this one is probably the weakest in that there are certain songs which don’t exactly enhance the bands rep. ‘Living On An Island,’ ‘Burning Bridges’ and the truly awful ‘In The Army Now’ are low spots in the set, and the turgid drum solo, happily only a couple of minutes, raised the question of why bother? The point of any solo is usually to demonstrate some degree of virtuosity .. no evidence of any here.

But these were more than compensated for by a whole string of undoubted Quo classics .. ‘Rain,’ ‘Don’t Waste My Time,’ ‘Paper Plane,’ ‘Roll Over Lay Down’ and ‘Down Down,‘ all of which were played with pace and power and with Quo rocking up a storm. The ‘What You’re Proposing’ medley saw deep cuts like ‘Down The Dustpipe’ and ‘Big Fat Mama’ being aired, before rounding off with a supercharged ‘Rocking All Over The World’ and encoring with Chuck Berry’s ‘Bye Bye Johnny’ and ‘Rock ‘n Roll Music’.

There’s a school of thought which states the Quo are now just a Frantic Four tribute band, but this view does them no justice whatever. This band can more than hold its own and, whilst these releases probably won’t add too many newbies to their fanbase, there’s still life in these old dogs yet.

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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