earMUSIC [Release date 13.04.15]
I am sure that Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt would be the first to admit that they are not as young as they once were. At this point in their career it would be easy to bang out the hits at a few summer shows and do the traditional pre-Christmas round and take things a bit easier.
This, however, is not the way Rossi and Parfitt operate and instead of slowing the pace the dynamic duo have been busier than ever over the last couple of years with the Frantic Four shows and the release of the ‘Aquostic’ album.
The idea behind the ‘Aquostic’ album was to strip back many of the band’s classic hits and reinvent them in an unplugged style. The album was well received by fans and press alike, except possibly the nude picture on the cover which was not for the faint of heart! It also provided Quo with their highest chart placing in 18 years.
The next natural step was to take the album into the live arena and, with support from BBC Radio 2, a one off show was planned at the Roundhouse in London the results of which are presented here, thankfully with clothing firmly in place.
Opening with ‘And It’s Better Now’ you quickly get the feeling that this was a special night. You also notice how crowded the stage was with a total of 16 musicians on stage including a string section, percussion, and accordion player. Oh, and the band themselves with the addition of Freddie Edwards, son of bass player John ‘Rhino’ Edwards, on guitar.
Over the course of the 25 songs included in the set there are numbers which are played almost straight such as ‘Caroline’ and ‘Down Down’ but for me it is the songs which have been adapted and rearranged that are the real stars of the show.
‘Again and Again’ has a new Cajun swing to it and ‘Rollin’ Home’ has a smattering of both country and western in the mix. Others like ‘Pictures Of Matchstick Men’, Rock ‘n’ Roll’ and ‘Rock ‘til You Drop’ take on a whole new persona with the string section working their magic on these quieter numbers.
Parfitt’s vocals may not be the best these days and there is the odd number which doesn’t quite gel but overall this is a fantastic record of a memorable gig. ‘Aquostic’ was a project which the band didn’t need to undertake, and for one long term Quo fan I know it proved to be a step too far, but on this evidence it was more than worthwhile.
Status Quo have proved that even old dogs can learn new tricks and with a 6 date ‘Aquostic’ tour planned they show no signs of slowing down soon. It would appear that ‘Rock ‘til You Drop’ is more than a song, it’s the Quo mission statement. ****
Review by David Wilson
Gig review (The Roundhouse, October 2014)
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