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Status Quo Aquostic at Wolverhampton Civic Hall April 2015 - Review

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
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Unplugged band on crowded stage
In the past few years the classic Status Quo line-up has reformed as the Frantic Four for a couple of tours, frontman Francis Rossi has played a series of solo shows and the current 'Quo-lite' fivesome has continued performing in arenas and at festivals.

So what would the veteran band surprise us with next? A best-selling acoustic album and a cracking series of shows with a string section, accordion player and backing singers is the answer.

Status Quo, Aquostic, Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Wolverhampton Civic Hall
Unplugged: Rick Parfitt, Francis Rossi and Andy Bown, with backing singer Hannah Rickard at Wolverhampton Civic Hall

For dedicated Quo followers it was strange to see Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Andy Bown, Rhino Edwards and Rhino's guitar-playing son, Freddie, seated in a line at the front of the stage.
After all, Quo are known for their high energy electric shows, with Rossi bouncing around, trading quips with Parfitt and Edwards.

Joining them on stage were a six-piece string section (violins, viola and cello), two backing singers, a percussionist alongside drummer Leon Cave, and accordionist Geraint Watkins. There was no room for Rossi to move, even if he wanted to!

Status Quo, Aquostic, Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Wolverhampton Civic Hall
Crowded stage: Andy Bown, Geraint Watkins and Rhino Edwards

The thing is, it worked. The songs many of them Quo classics or tracks from early album were stripped down but then extra layers were added using strings and accordion which gave them a new fresh feel. And the band, especially Rossi, seemed totally laid back and relaxed.

The tone was set after opener And It's Better Now. A roadie strolled on stage with Rossi's spectacles which, no doubt, he'd forgotten to put on. He joked that one of the advantages of doing the seated show was that he could wear his glasses and therefore could see the audience. Those in first few rows who left to get a drink during the show were watched with eagle eyes by Mr Rossi!

Status Quo, Aquostic, Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Wolverhampton Civic Hall
Making a spectacle: Francis Rossi

He also said he would be able to see anyone yawning. Not that there was any chance of that as the ensemble powered through 24 songs in 90 minutes.

Tracks like Mystery Song, Pictures of Matchstick Men and All the Reasons took on a whole new dimension with the addition of strings, while a shuffle beat Caroline sounded fantastic with the Cajun-tinged accordion.

Status Quo, Aquostic, Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Wolverhampton Civic Hall
String theory: Freddie Edwards and Rick Parfitt with string section

One observation. As well as the band, the audience were all seated (for the Frantic Four gigs in Wolverhampton there were no chairs in the stalls). We were itching to stand and, dare I say it, get out the air acoustic guitars, as is normal at a Quo gig. But it didn't happen till the encore of Rock 'til You Drop and Burning Bridges. Maybe the crowd thought it was rude to stand when the band remained in their seats.

Status Quo, Aquostic, Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Wolverhampton Civic Hall
Acoustic: Rick Parfitt

The tour continues on Friday, April 24, at Portsmouth Guildhall, Sunday, April 26, at London's Eventim Apollo and Thursday, April 30, at the Royal Albert Hall.

Set List
And It's Better Now
Break the Rules
Again and Again
Paper Plane
Mystery Song/ Little Lady
Rock 'n' Roll
What You're Proposing
Softer Ride
Down Down
Pictures of Matchstick Men
Down the Dustpipe
All the Reasons
Reason for Living
Rollin' Home
Don't Drive My Car
Marguerita Time
Na Na Na
Whatever You Want
Rockin' All Over the World

Rock 'til You Drop
Burning Bridges (On and Off and On Again)

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Why? Boogie band down down to the bare essentials
When: Touring until April 30, 2015
Phone: 0870 320 7000
Where: Wolverhampton Civic Hall
Cost: From 38.50
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