DVD Review: STATUS QUO – The Frantic Four Reunion 2013 – Live At Wembley Arena

Status Quo - The Frantic Four Reunion 2013

Fourth Chord Records [Release date 30.09.13]

When Quo announced the Frantic Four Reunion shows there was some consternation that the venues chosen were theatre sized rather than arenas around the country. It proved, however, to be a masterstroke that led to a more intimate atmosphere at the shows. It also allowed the band members to get back in the groove, after thirty plus years, in front of a couple of thousand ardent fans rather than twelve thousand.

The exception to this was the last show of the tour at Wembley Arena where the sold out signs went up quickly and the cameras were brought in to capture the proceedings for posterity.  This DVD and Blu-ray package, which will be available separately  or as part of a 6 disc earBOOK release, contains the whole Wembley performance from the curtain dropping and the band kicking off with ‘Junior’s Wailing’ through to the final chords of ‘Bye-Bye Johnny’.

The stage set is fairly sparse and the lighting is great, but minimal, as the band wanted to recreate the Frantic Four’s heyday as closely as possible. This though puts all the focus on the four guys and the music.

Rick Parfitt says several times during the excellent documentary included on the bonus disc that playing with the Frantic Four requires so much more concentration and effort than playing with ‘new’ Quo due to the stripped back and raw nature of the performance. This translates to an intense on-stage performance with all members playing as though their lives depended on it. It’s obvious though that although it was a hard shift, it was a lot of fun as well.

Set-list wise, the eighteen tracks featured are mostly taken from the band’s ‘Live’ album with other tracks added such as ‘Blue Eyed Lady’ and ‘Oh Baby’ which all go down a storm with the capacity crowd of young and old Quo fans.

The bonus disc included with the release, as well as featuring the tour documentary, also features a few tracks recorded in Manchester, Wolverhampton, Glasgow and  at the Hammersmith Apollo on the other dates. There is something for everyone here to remind those that got a ticket of just how lucky they were.

This is a perfect record of the Frantic Four doing what they do best, playing straight forward rocking blues with a huge heart. This reunion was mooted as a one-off affair and if that remains the case then at least we have this DVD to remind us of just how good the quartet of Rossi, Parfitt, Lancaster and Coghlan were. The Frantic Four live on, on DVD at least!

*****

David Wilson

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