On Sunday I headed down to Plymouth with a friend and some of his family for what would be my second Status Quo gig following the Plymouth gig on the Pictures Tour 09.
I hadn’t been a particular fan of Quo prior to that gig in 09 but knew most of the major songs. However that night left me a burning fan and I was desperate to see them again when I knew a bit more about the band: last Sunday was my chance!
Largely on my suggestion, we left Exeter early, about 5.30 and as a result got into the Pavilions about 40 mins before the doors opened. This gave us plenty of time to buy t-shirts and soak up the pre-gig atmosphere. When the doors opened at 7.oo we picked a spot towards the back of the standing as the group I was with didn’t really fancy joining the crush.
At 7.30 on the dot the supporting act, The Crave, came out. They were a young heavy rock band boasting the traditional two guitars, bass and drums and promoting their new album Breaking the Silence. They worked hard in their half hour slot, gaining fans in the crowd and showing off a high level of accomplishment on the guitars. However, I must admit they weren’t really to my taste, a bit too heavy for me and I wasn’t that keen on the modern vocal style. Also I found the sound levels a little out for them and struggled to make out any of the lyrics to the tracks.
After The Crave’s half hour set, the stage was cleared and black cloths removed to reveal the customary white of the Quo set-up. I must say at this point just how large Letley’s drumkit appeared to be under it’s blanket – my friend claimed that there must be some form of Dr Who monster under there!
Again on the dot, the drone began! At this point the growing crowd burst into life and the atmosphere went up the notch! Cheers resounded as Quo took to the stage and, following a quick bow, the opening riff to Caroline soon rang out! I don’t know if its just me but it maybe didn’t quite have the punch I expected, the performance was solid though and it was followed by a superb Something Bout You Baby I Like.
I won’t go through the set in detail as that can be found elsewhere so I’ll now give some general feelings on the gig. Firstly, I must congratulate Parfitt and Rossi on their excellent showmanship. Perhaps in many ways people would argue they have become cliches, but I really enjoyed all the traditional Quo moves from the band lined up in Softer Ride to the swinging guitars in Whatever You Want. Rossi’s banter with the crowd was excellent and lead to a surreal convo about Jelly Babies! I also really appreciate Rhino, headbanging through the entire set and always trying to make contact with the fans.
About the setlist, I know its been a bone of contention amongst Quo fans for years but I really enjoyed the choice of songs. As a newer fan there were some songs I wasn’t familiar with (and promptly bought!) such as Railroad and Rollin Home, both in the Mystery Medley. Also, I found I appreciated some songs that I really wasn’t a fan of before; primarily The Oriental, a song that I didn’t really like prior to the gig I found totally taken by when that drumbeat and the crowd handclapping, lead by Rhino, kicked in. Also I must say hats off to the band for what I thought was a cracking Paper Plane. Just prior to PP came a superb drum solo by Letley and everyone I spoke to after the gig mentioned it as a highlight.
Another pro for me was the sound. I’ve been to several gigs in the past (Stray Cats and Queen + PR) where I have found the sound to be a real letdown: the drums and bass were so loud that they wiped everything else out in a sea of rhythmic noise. Not so with Quo. They were loud, but not too loud, and most importantly of all the lead instruments were clear. I could make out the words to songs and each note of the guitar solos: my sonic heaven!
A final congratulation must go the light show! Impressive without being overbearing, it helped give a great atmosphere to the gig and I felt it was most effective during the start to Caroline and the drum solo. I’m sure there was another point where it impressed me but I can’t remember exactly where now!
Overall, the gig was fantastic, the band were tight and professional and showed their consummate ability as expert showmen. Both the sound and the lights were superb and really added to an all round excellent performance.
Status Quo – Live at Plymouth Pavilions: 8/10