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Band bid fond farewell to electric tours
We know that all good things must come to an end but it is still difficult for Status Quo fans to accept the fact that the band will no longer be rockin' around Britain. Their show at Birmingham's Barclaycard Arena was one of the final UK electric dates, with the band announcing that from now on they will only tour playing acoustically.
If that news wasn't bad enough, long-standing rhythm guitarist, Rick Parfitt, suffered a heart attack in June, meaning he had to pull out of the Last Night of the Electrics tour and claimed that he would be quitting the group he's been part of for nearly 50 years.
So there were mixed emotions for fans in Birmingham; sadness mixed with the excitement that's always generated at a Quo rock gig. As if to emphasise that this was our last chance to merrily headbang the volume was turned up to 11, making this one of the loudest Quo shows I've been to. Or maybe they just didn't want to be outdone by support band REO Speedwagon who, at one point, seemed to have turned their volume up to 12!
It was REO lead singer Kevin Cronin who made the only mention of this being Quo's last electric tour. It was the elephant in the room for Quo, along with Rick's absence, with neither topic being spoken about on stage.
Rockin': Leon Cave, Richie Malone, Francis Rossi, Rhino Edwards, Andy Bown
Rick's replacement, Irish guitarist and lifelong Quo fan Richie Malone, was introduced to the crowd at the beginning by the one remaining original member, lead singer Francis Rossi, but apart from that it was business as usual. The setlist was little changed from last year's Christmas tour, with bass player Rhino Edwards and keyboardist Andy Bown taking over the vocals usually supplied by Rick Parfitt. And a very good job they made of it. Rhino was strong on Creepin' Up On You, even adding a couple of extra lyrics, and Andy made the most of his co-vocals on The Wanderer and Whatever You Want. We also saw more of Andy at the front of the stage as he strapped on a guitar for a handful of numbers.
Front of stage: Status Quo perform Gerdundula
Richie was not phased by the huge shoes he had to fill – he hasn't yet got the charisma of Rick Parfitt but his guitar playing is solid and he's obviously been studying some of Rick's moves.
Francis Rossi revels in his role as the sole frontman. He was relaxed, chatting with the audience, particularly those returning to the arena with drinks, and joking about the Birmingham accent because he's been watching Peaky Blinders. Despite his fondness for the acoustic project he treated us to some scorching guitar solos – I've rarely seen rockier renditions of Softer Ride, Roll Over Lay Down and Down Down.
Scorchin': Francis Rossi with Rhino Edwards and Andy Bown
After all the years of concluding Quo shows with Bye Bye Johnny there could be no better song to bid farewell to the electric tours. As always, the audience was in great voice, singing Bye Bye Johnny as loudly as possible. Bye Bye Quo. Things will never be the same again.
Fond farewell: Status Quo say goodbye to Birmingham
Something 'bout You Baby I Like
Beginning of the End
Hold You Back
What You're Proposing/ Down the Dustpipe/ Wild Side of Life/ Railroad/ Again And Again/ Paper Plane
Creepin' Up on You
In the Army Now
Roll Over Lay Down
Whatever You Want
Rockin' All Over the World
Burning Bridges (On and Off and On Again)
Rock and Roll Music/ Bye Bye Johnny
Status Quo 2016 UK tour dates:
Dec 19: Manchester Arena;
Dec 20: Glasgow The SSE Hydro;
Dec 22: Newcastle Metro Radio Arena;
Dec 23: Liverpool Echo Arena.
Click here for details of arena rock gigs in Birmingham in 2017.