Status Quo | The Frantic Four Reunion 2013: Live At Hammersmith Apollo (Back2SQ.1) – CD Review


Boy is the crowd with Status Quo on their double live CD set, The Frantic Four Reunion 2013: Live At Hammersmith Apollo (Back2SQ.1). With over 100 million records sold worldwide and a record 64 British hit singles (more than any other UK band), Status Quo, led by original members vocalists and guitarists Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt, is still going strong as evidenced by this set.

John Coghlan’s impressive tom-led “Just Take Me” chunks and moves with Rossi and Parfitt laying down some thick guitar licks. The band positively jams through the quite different movements of “Is There A Better Way,” from 1976’s Blue for You. I love the blues strut riffing of “In My Chair,” the swift noodling and double vocal on “Blue Eyed Lady,” and the torchy (with the crowd singing right along) “Most of The Time.” We also get the obviously Elvis-influenced bopper “Oh Baby” to end the first CD.

The crowd is certainly with the band on “Forty-Five Hundred Times,” and though the vocals here are shaky at best, this is a great tune in that early 70s blues rock tradition (and one of bassist Alan Lancaster’s stand-out moments). The wailing “Big Fat Mamma,” from 1972’s Piledriver (as was “Oh Baby”), reveals some ragged vocals, especially when we get to the “Got a gig fat mamma…” part. You still have to give Status Quo props for picking songs from all periods of their long history, even ones Rossi and Parfitt might not be able to sing so well anymore.

The enthusiastic audience adds some “wo oh’s” encouragement before the band rolls into “Down Down,” one of the better vocal moments from Parfitt. The Quo’s competent cover of the Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues” follows, complete with harmonica. “Don’t Waste My Time” (another one from Piledriver) and Chuck Berry’s “Bye Bye Johnny” end the proceedings. Yeah, there’s no “Pictures Of Matchstick Men” or “Rockin’ All Over the World,” but there is plenty of fun rock from this classic quartet on The Frantic Four Reunion 2013: Live At Hammersmith Apollo (Back2SQ.1), helping any and all to lead a very happy-to-be-here audience this many years on in Status Quo’s life.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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