There are a few bands guaranteed to tour the UK year in, year out. The Quireboys are one, Motorhead (with the exception of the last couple of years with Lemmy’s issues) and Status Quo. Another guarantee is those three bands never fail to deliver.
Support acts for Quo never fail to raise my eyebrows as they always seem such strange choices. A couple of years back, we had Knock Out Kaine. Not exactly wonderful. Then there was 10cc last year. That wasn’t terrible but it felt out of place. This year? Chas and Dave.
By the time they appeared on stage, the Hydro was half-full and received a warm welcome. I’m not a Chas and Dave fan so I’m unsure of the setlist but I do know they played a few from their new album and their best known song, “Rabbit”. While parts of the audience enjoyed the performance, it didn’t do much for me. I faithfully watched the band and gave applause every time a song finished but honestly, I was glad to see them leave the stage. It’s not even so much as “oh, you need to be a certain age to enjoy them”. I’ll listen to most things from mid-sixties to present day as long as I like it.
With this being my fourth time seeing Quo in the space of a year, including their Frantic Four line-up and giving Linkin Park the elbow at Download, I knew what I was getting into. While Chas and Dave had the crowd ready to go, there wasn’t quite the atmosphere Twisted Sister had set for them a few months back at Donington. But the minute the lights dimmed and Rick Parfitt‘s silhouette appeared behind a curtain, hammering out the opening riff of standard show opener “Caroline”, everyone left their seats, roaring their approval.
It’s only when you see a band like Status Quo that you realise they could play a greatest hits set night after night for the rest of their careers and people would still buy tickets to see them every year. Sticking firmly to their classics, not deviating into “Bula Quo” territory like last year, they rattled through songs like “Pictures of Matchstick Men”, their cover of “Rockin’ All Over the World”, “In the Army Now”, “What You’re Proposing”, my personal favourite “Burning Bridges” and a whole lot more.
Another obvious thing is when it comes to bands like Quo, Aerosmith and AC/DC, they couldn’t possibly play every song people want to hear, otherwise they’d need to start the show during the middle of the afternoon. However, in the case of Quo, they rattle through a medley of about eight or nine songs. Thankfully, it’s the stuff that falls into “decent” territory. Songs that need be played for the fans. Yet if I’ve heard just a chorus and verse of it, it’s enough for me before they move onto the next song. There’s nothing contained that I want to hear fully.
Late into proceedings was a drum solo from Leon Cave. It was shorter than some I’ve seen but just as dull. Unless it’s from Arejay Hale, chances are, the drum solo is going to bore me stiff. That said, the entire band were as tight as ever. Age hasn’t stopped Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt from sounding any different in their vocals and John “Rhino” Edwards remains a great sight on bass guitar.
That said, being the Hydro, during both Chas and Dave and Status Quo made me feel like I was inside a tin can, hearing notes and vocals once, then seconds later again and occasionally more times. Not quite on the same level as Theory of a Deadman when I thought I was inside a tin can underwater and could hear the sound bouncing in all directions.
That said, I left satisfied having seen Status Quo yet again. It probably not their finest performance I’ve seen but as I said, I think Twisted Sister got everyone suitably wound up. Same time next year? Maybe.