Rockin’ all over the NIA

Rachel Watts watches Status Quo.

Status Quo,
Birmingham NIA,
Saturday 13th December


With a break in tradition, Quo played Birmingham’s NIA rather than their usual venue over at the NEC. Yes I know they have new fancy names, but that’s still what we call them and I met at least one harassed couple who had barely got to the venue in time, as they had been to the NEC only to be turned away.

The support act was Chas and Dave, and while I can’t claim to know that many of their songs, they did at least sound good, they got a warm reception and had a fair few people up on their feet dancing along to some of their songs – bizarrely there was a rabbit in the crowd dancing along to their 1980 hit, Rabbit; I guess that made sense to Chas and Dave fans.

The change in venue might be down to the fact that at the 2013 NEC gig the dreaded black curtain was down, shutting off most of the back half of the seating and making the whole event slightly depressing, but this year’s smaller venue, was most certainly packed out.

From the moment the drone started the crowd were on their feet, Rick Parfitt kicking the evening off, powering through the intro to Caroline, silhouetted behind the curtain by the spotlight before it came down to reveal the rest of the band.

The band powered through a set list that includes some of their biggest hits, some favourite album tracks. There’s a few minor changes since last year, songs from the last studio album, Bula Quo, understandably dropped, bringing in classic album tracks Little Lady and Oh Baby.

Francis Rossi was his normal affable self, happy to chat with the audience, encouraging them to sing along with him. The band appeared to be happy, relaxed and totally enjoying themselves; Parfitt and bassist John ‘Rhino’ Edwards having a bit of a laugh together singing backing vocals on Beginning of the End. Keyboard player Andy Bown, swapping to guitar on a few occasions, joined in the fun, making Parfitt lose track of the vocals during Creeping Up On You.

Leon Cave, the latest drummer to join the band, showed off his talent, giving an awesome drum solo together with stunning lighting effects, leading into the classic Roll Over Lay Down. In fact, the lighting throughout the evening was pretty impressive.

Parfitt may have had a bad year health-wise, but the band have had hugely successful year; a second sell-out reunion tour with original band members John Coghlan and Alan Lancaster, affectionately known as the Frantic Four plus latest album, Aquostic giving them their biggest chart hit in over a decade, and now certified Gold album. This annual UK winter tour is just another success for them.

You would think that, now (mostly) in their 60s, they would be slowing things down a bit, but they certainly aren’t showing too many signs of that yet, and watching them jumping around the stage during Burning Bridges was enough to shame many a younger man.

With dates now released for an Aquostic tour in April 2015, the band are already looking to have another busy year ahead of them. To find out details of the remainder of this tour, and the Aquostic shows, visit the official web site:

©R Watts