Announced in May 2010, Francis Rossi – the longtime lead singer/ guitarist of Status Quo – released his second solo album, One Step At A Time. In support of the album Rossi launched his first solo tour, comprising six UK gigs and this special to-DVD performance, recorded in late 2010.
The set comprises an intermingling of songs from One Step At A Time and tracks that have been rarely, or never, played by Quo but are loved by Rossi (It’s interesting to note how many of these are from more recent, rather than earlier Quo records). This gives a good mix. The start point is Quo’s Caroline, re-recorded in a slower, shuffle style. Rossi was apparently inspired in this choice by hearing that Robert Plant had played a selection of Led Zeppelin tracks during a recent tour. From here, the album tracks and Quo tracks intertwine; the former gives us Crazy For You and Strike Like Lightening and the latter, All We Really Wanna Do and You’ll Come Round. I must say that I like the setlist, I think it has a lighter feel than your average Quo gig but Rossi is clearly enjoying these tracks and they make good variety, something the Quo set has been accused of lacking in recent years.
Throughout the gig the performances are strong. As a band, Status Quo are hugely under-rated for the quality of their live performances and Francis Rossi is in no mood to let that standard slip here. All of the tracks are tight and the guitar solos shared round with Rossi, his son, Nicholas Rossi and Freddie Edwards (son of Quo’s bass-player: Rhino), all trading superb licks. Edwards in particular has a real talent as his riffs add greatly to the performance. As ever, Francis Rossi enjoys some good banter with the audience, especially so in a setting as intimate as St Luke’s.
At this point I must mention the setting. The hall at St Luke’s is a stunning, classically-influenced, setting and gives a very characterful backdrop on which Rossi, sans his iconic waistcoat, excels. The lighting is subtle but appropriate, with the rig being controlled by the light man for Status Quo, who I only know as Patrick!
The sound production on the DVD is stellar, with the instruments all balanced well. My only preference would be for the piano to be ramped up slightly; it’s the only instrument that’s a little lost in the mix and it really shows on certain tracks, especially My Little Heartbreaker. The camera work is also good, it makes the most of the small venue: giving us the beauty of the building and not emphasising, but nor shying away from, the small audience: only 200 tickets were available for the gig.
Overall I really enjoyed this DVD. The extras are an interview with Rossi covering the One Step At A Time project and the video of the single: Faded Memory. The performances are superb and the new Francis Rossi Band are just as tight as Status Quo: an impressive feat. I recommend this DVD to give Francis Rossi a chance to step outside the shadow of the mighty Quo and show us the full range of his musical and song writing talents.
Francis Rossi – Live At St Luke’s London 7/10