I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
Christmas boogie from veteran rockers
Birmingham NIA has been given a new look and renamed the Barclaycard Arena – and tonight's headline act are impressed with what they see.
For many year's Status Quo have used the city's LG Arena at the National Exhibition Centre, a dozen or so miles from the NIA, for their pre-Christmas Birmingham show. Saturday night's show was their first at the Barclaycard Arena.
Rockin' All Over Brum: Status Quo on stage at the Barclaycard Arena
''We always thought we had the best gig in Birmingham up the road,'' announces frontman Francis Rossi, referring to the NEC, ''but this is better. I can see more of you.''
Having the audience to the right, left and in front of the stage, rather than employing a curtained-off section in the band's eyeline, certainly creates a much better atmosphere and Quo rose the occasion.
Looking and sounding relaxed after a day's shopping at Birmingham's Bull Ring Shopping Centre, they launched into traditional opener, Caroline, and powered through the one hour, 40 minute show with gusto.
Gusto: Parfitt, Rossi, 'Rhino' Edwards and Leon Cave in Birmingham
The set has been slightly tweaked so we lost favourites like 4500 Times and The Wanderer but gained Oh Baby, an old song from the Piledriver album initially revived for the two Frantic Four reunion tours which saw bassist Alan Lancaster and drummer John Coghlan temporarily rejoining Rossi and Rick Parfitt.
Those gigs were a huge hit with long-term fans but it must be said that the current Quo team of Rossi, Parfitt, John 'Rhino' Edwards, Andy Bown and Leon Cave are a much slicker outfit, probably due to the huge number of concerts they play together each year.
Slick: Andy Bown (left) swaps keyboards for guitar on stage in Birmingham
Rossi's guitar playing, particularly the solos in the likes of Big Fat Mama and Roll Over Lay Down, get better every time I see him, although he complained that he was having to break in a new guitar in Birmingham.
Parfitt's vocals were the strongest I've heard for some time, a good indication that his recent health problems are behind him. We'll even forgive the muddle he got into with the words to Creeping Up On You!
We'll see another side of Quo in 2015 when they undertake an acoustic tour that plays Wolverhampton Civic Hall on April 23. Bring it on!
Veterans: The current Status Quo line-up (pic: Danny Clifford)
Something 'bout You Baby I Like
Hold You Back
Beginning of the End
What You're Proposing/ Down the Dustpipe/ Wild Side of Life/ Railroad
Big Fat Mama
Creepin' Up on You
In The Army Now
Roll Over Lay Down
Whatever You Want
Rockin' All Over the World
Rock 'n' Roll Music / Bye Bye Johnny
Status Quo's remaining 2014 tour dates:
Dec 15th: Plymouth Pavilions;
Dec 16: Cardiff Arena;
Dec 18: Bournemouth BIC;
Dec 19: London O2 Arena;
Dec 20: Brighton Centre.