I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
Published October 2nd 2013
Rockin' All Over the UK With the Frantic Four
March 2013 will be remembered in rock history as the month in which one of the unlikeliest band reunions took place. After more than 30 years of acrimony, law suits and court battles the classic Status Quo line-up of Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan got back together for a nine-date UK tour. With a combined age of 259 the so-called 'Frantic Four' realised it could be a case of 'now or never' so hands were shaken, hatchets were buried and they hit the road, having last played together in 1981.
Frantic Four: The reunited classic Status Quo line-up
I caught their second date, at Wolverhampton Civic Hall, and, as a long-term fan, was blown away by how the quartet rocked and rolled back the years. Even before the show the scene was set, with the stage curtain bearing the iconic band image from Quo's 1973 Hello! album. When it dropped, band members were on stage recreating the pose. We knew we were in for a very special night.
Hello!: The Wolverhampton crowd prepares to greet Status Quo
I've now been re-living the experience thanks to the release of Back 2 SQ.1, a range of live CDs and DVDs recorded at the reunion shows. I got my hands on the DVD/ CD pack featuring the final gig at Wembley Arena and the penultimate show at Hammersmith Apollo. I've also listened to the double vinyl album of the show at O2 Academy, Glasgow, the city where Quo's 1977 album, Live!, was recorded. That album was the template for the reunion gigs, with bassist Alan singing Live!'s opening tracks, Junior's Wailing, Backwater/ Just Take Me and Is There A Better Way. Most of Live! was included in the 2013 setlist, although the addition of rarely performed tracks like Blue Eyed Lady, (April) Spring, Summer and Wednesdays and Oh Baby makes these releases a must-buy for fans.
Of particular interest is the DVD. Not only do we get a front row view of the Wembley show, there's also a fascinating tour documentary included as an extra.
Every gig on the tour is featured, with backstage footage, band and crew interviews and vox pops with fans. There are many nuggets of information, such as the band was so keen on creating a retro look even the stage lighting harked back to '70s style. But a modern drum kit had to be used because spare parts would not be available at short notice if the old kit John Coghlan wanted to use was damaged.
On the DVD Rick Parfitt admits he and Francis Rossi are now too old to bound around the stage like they used to, although the two of them still tour the world with the 2013 version of Status Quo. That incarnation, with bass player Rhino Edwards, keyboardist Andy Bown and drummer Leon Cave, plays Birmingham LG Arena on December 7 but there's already talk of another Frantic Four tour. Can't wait!