Live Music + Gig Reviews

Status Quo @ Big Top Arena, Liverpool

23 July 2005

Has it really been 40 years? Anyone who regards this legendary British band as the musical equivalent of a clapped out old Skoda, take note. Status Quo have pinned down their famous three-chord riff sound to a master art. And after all those years, they still convince.

With the exception of the expensive front rows seats on the ground floor (which, when he had the chance, even got Francis Rossi to have a few words with ’em) the 4,000-or so audience got off their bums for the classic opening song Caroline and stayed on their feet for the duration of the gig.

The hardcore Quo fans in their band t-shirts and leather waistcoats could hardly get enough as they sang to every lyric with their fists in the air, or playing air guitar. What was startling but obviously welcome was how diverse the age group of the audience was, in some cases even spanning three generations.

Of course after so long together the band have perfected their sound, and the fans know what to expect. The Quo sounded tight and looked youthful – despite the rock ‘n’ roll excesses of the old days.

Down Down was as heavy as expected and the likes of Hold You Back, Roll Over Lay Down, All Stand Up and Forty-Five Hundred Times got everybody feeling the heat and the diminutive arena soon felt like a sauna. A few tracks from The Quo’s last album, 2002’s highly rated Heavy Traffic, fitted in with the classics like they were old school chums meeting up for drinks.

The witty on stage banter with the crowd from Rossi was entertaining, as were his facial mannerisms during songs. And the typically playful comedic relationship Rossi and Rick Parfitt have on stage was also good fun – like two naughty schoolboys in a playground.

Motorhead celebrate their 30th anniversary in 2005 and, like Status Quo, they’re a vintage and sadly underrated British bulldog of a band that, despite years of lukewarm press in their time and an unfashionable appeal, show they can still rock like nobody’s business.

Those seated in the ground floor’s front rows couldn’t resist in the end, and got on their feet for a sing-along – The Quo were simply too good to sit through. Roll on the end of year 40th Anniversary tour.

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Status Quo @ Big Top Arena, Liverpool