STATUS QUO | LIVE REVIEW
St David’s Hall, Cardiff, Wed 29 Nov
Late 2016 saw the authors of numerous rock classics suffer the loss of an invaluable member, guitarist and close friend to sepsis, leaving a large void in the state of Status Quo. Listening to their audience, however, the group came to understand that even without Rick Parfitt, they could not walk away as easily from the buzz of the amplifiers and roar of the crowds as they thought. The concept of an acoustic run for the Plugged In: Live And Rockin! tour was pondered upon, but eventually replaced by a true, all-electric homage to Parfitt’s memory.
Opening tonight were Cats In Space, a progressive glam-rock group who were in Cardiff mere days ago, supporting Deep Purple. Swinging guitars around with precise solos following shortly after, their vocal harmonies remained as on-point as their onstage charisma. It’s quite uncommon for an opening act to receive a standing ovation, but these cats were certainly not your common rabble.
Thirteen years since St David’s Hall was graced by their presence, the Quo entered the stage and were immediately met by thunderous applause and shrill screams. New guitarist Richie Malone had the spotlight firmly (and literally) cast upon him, plucking away at the introduction to Caroline.
Lead vocals were issued evenly between members during the evening – from Rossi to Edwards, Edwards to Malone, Malone to Bown, the quintet remained diverse in their abilities. Francis Rossi has never been without his witty quips and jutting stage movements and tonight was no exception, jawing with the crowd at every chance between tracks and erratically swinging limbs with each new chord. It was also a warming sight to see the three original members encourage Malone on by sidling over to his corner and embracing the inner rockers within side by side. Early 70s hits Paper Plane and Down Down echoed out later on, with Andy Bown taking the helm for Don’t Drive My Car, while John ‘Rhino’ Edwards plugged dutilfully away at his headless bass all through the night.
Quo’s status may have been terminal for a stretch of 2017, but they have finally regained their strength. A performance like this would make Rick Parfitt proud to see them healthy and rocking once more.
words and photos NATHAN ROACH