More old farts this week as we attend Status Quo‘s Last Night of the Electics Tour. One more night of pure, old-fashioned boogie rock. We also had an opinion or two on it.
They’re a dying breed, the old dinosaurs of rock, and they’re dying fast now. Rush has stopped touring, Black Sabbath is currently on their last one, Manowar will be throwing the towel into the ring late 2017 and it looks like Deep Purple is about to call it quits as well. Another such band with one foot in the grave is Status Quo, currently nearing the end of their Last Night of the Electrics Tour. And with Rick Parfitt bowing out earlier this year after suffering a heart attack that landed him in a coma for a few days, it’s just the 67 year old Francis Rossi pulling the cart as the last original member still standing.
Having almost completely missed support act Laurence Jones and catching the last two songs, I can only say objectively that his is a style of rock that fits the bill as support to the boogie jukebox that is Status Quo. I’ve always maintained that you just have to put a quarter into the band and they’ll run for ninety minutes, and that’s precisely what they’re doing tonight. Except that it doesn’t cost me a quarter but a small fortune for a few drinks. But that’s a story for another day. This Friday night we’re here to boogie, all 5500 of us. Heineken Music Hall is packed with people to the extent that it becomes cramped and uncomfortable, as happens all too often with sold out concerts. 500 people less would have been miles better, and when everyone has to push and shove and grab you to get past you, there are too many people inside.
Anyway: Status Quo. Rossi and co. do almost exactly whatever we want tonight, and put on a show packed with classic stuff. Not much emphasis is put on this being the last electric tour, and instead the band rips through the material like they’ve always done. From Caroline onwards, it’s a feast of recognition, and it’s hard to keep standing still to the infectious boogie rhythms these guys bring forth. It’s a party everyone knows the words to, and people are singing and dancing along from the front of the hall to the back. Rossi seems in a good mood and provides the audience with his dry-witted quips in between songs.
Truth be told though, there isn’t much difference between when I first saw the band in 2000 and now, sixteen years later. It’s still the same old material (which is logical, because no-one comes to Status Quo to hear new material), in almost the same order, sounding just as good. It’s a well-presented if somewhat routine best-of concert one might expect from a band like Quo, relying firmly on the hits they had all those years ago, and not pretending to be musically relevant past the eighties. There’s nothing worse than a band churning out new material, only to play one or two songs of a new album on the subsequent tour before they’re buried for good. It’s the golden oldies we want, and it’s those oldies we get in spades. The only criticism one could have is that it’s all a bit too safe and predictable, especially when you’ve seen the band before.
Still, for a pre-retirement gig, one would expect to find songs like Pictures of Matchstick Men and Ice in the Sun in the set, but no dice. It’s a small niggle I have about an otherwise fine concert, but you can’t help feeling it’s a missed opportunity when you’re out there doing your last few (electric) gigs. Another one would be the completely superfluous drum solo, but that one was short enough not to get too worked up about it. In the end, the band was musically as solid as ever, and the decision to bow out on a high is a brave one. Even when you’re still banking on your successes from the seventies and eighties. Goodbye Quo, it was a pleasure knowing you.
- The Wanderer
- Something ’bout You Baby I Like
- Softer Ride
- Beginning of the End
- Hold You Back
- Medley: What You’re Proposing / Down the Dustpipe / Wild Side of Life / Railroad / Again and Again
- Paper Plane
- The Oriental
- Creepin’ Up on You
- In the Army Now
- Drum Solo (The Caveman)
- Roll Over Lay Down
- Down Down
- Whatever You Want
- Rockin’ All Over the World
- Burning Bridges (On and Off and on Again)
- Rock and Roll Music / Bye Bye Johnny
Review by Ralph Plug