Status Quo – City Hall, Sheffield, Monday, November 27th, 2017
Well I knew this one was going to be a hard show to take in. Seeing and hearing Quo without Rick Parfitt on that stage turned me into lets say 'A Dog Of Two Head'. I actually found myself looking back at past shows then flipping my brain back to the present and seeing Richie Malone there in Mr. P's place. Strange and bittersweet but we all knew it was never ever going to be the same.
The whole band came across as their usual chirpy selves but you always wonder what is going on in their heads at moments like this. It was usual set we have become used for many years with the main hits and the medley plus one or two others like 'Softer Ride' thrown in. Other members of Status Quo tackled the songs that Rick Parfitt made famous – Rhino especially was handed the difficult baton of filling those vocal shoes on cuts such as 'Rain' and 'Creeping Up On You'.
The audience lapped it up regardless and he didn't do too bad a job. I really felt like all the way through the show their was a gaping big hole that wasn't filled. It seemed to lack the atmosphere and strong electricity like it did in the past – sadly, going through motions comes to mind to be honest. Rossi taking care of a lot of the vocals of 'Whatever You Want' for me was bittersweet where lines also were shared out in the band that Parfitt performed unparalleled all by himself.
There was some lighter fun moments in the show such as the quip from Francis about the German Lady who works for them and the war references. Breaking a string towards the end was something I hadn't seen him do before either although it has no doubt happened and I haven't noticed.
I don't know what to make of that new version of 'Don't Drive My Car'. I guess some love it and some hate it. Andy Bown (who co-write it) takes the lead vocals and has a deep warbling voice that makes me cringe - if I am honest I am actually looking forward to Richie Malone taking on all the Parfitt vocals some time since then it will actually look right on stage.
Good to see Leon has really settled in well and doing plenty of backing vocals. Francis was on good form and joking he can't read the set list. “They put it too far up and I can't see it!” he quips. We were given plenty of opportunities to help Francis out on the high parts or when he forgot the words. Did he do it on purpose? You never know with that old cat do you? Hahaha!
Nothing was played on the classic green and white Fender Telecaster unlike years gone by for whatever reason. Maybe Francis wants to move on from there? Saying that, I do wish he would mention Rick somewhere in the show. He was his partner for 50 years for better or for worse... we can't force him to but it would just be nicer for the fans to have a tribute to him – some visuals on a screen of some sort.
Anyway, gripe aside, there was plenty of running around the stage from all the members which is always fun to watch. Well apart from poor old Mr. Cave, who is of course stuck on the stool holding the sticks every night. It's little wonder that there's no fat on any of them. Each night is a workout in every single venue Quo play. Good on them for this.
I really liked seeing all the guys shaking hands with the fans at the front which I had never witnessed before. Overall, the sound was outstanding and the band were as tight as ever. Let's hope there's a decade or two left in them. They are awarding themselves a full year off and quite rightly so as they don't stop. Maybe we'll have a brand new set to enjoy by then – be nice anyway.
By Glenn Milligan