Whatever you think of the music of Status Quo and whatever part it plays in your musical upbringing it’s hard to deny that they are a British institution, maybe not up there with roast dinners, fish and chips, cups of tea and queuing, but pretty close.
Filmed and recorded at their O2 Arena show in London on December 11 last year (we’re only reviewing the audio here) this isn’t the Quo we’ve come to love over the years. By the time of the show Rick Parfitt had already left the band and sadly he’d die just eleven days later. In this line up, sure the music is tight and Francis Rossi as always puts in the hard yards, but all you can really think of is that absence and although Richie Malone does a great job, it’s not the same.
Musically there’s a certain energy and a real tightness, and the new line-up does a great job of running through the band’s considerable back catalogue with an emphasis on those two peak decades – the 70’s and 80’s. Opening up with ‘Caroline’ it’s a familar and well-worn set that will please fans without the real gems that peppered the recent reunion concerts which are already three years past now.
Why release the album? The press release perhaps sets it out best of all: “Having been envisaged as a swansong for the band’s legendary electric set, the 2016 winter tour turned into something very different as Rick Parfitt was forced to be absent having suffered the first of a series of health issues that would tragically end his life as the year closed. With the band having been urged by both Rick himself and the fans to carry on and keep the music blasting, they found yet another gear, and the show captured in front of a the loyal O2 crowd turned out to be very special indeed”.
Whatever your personal thoughts and whether or not you consider this an essential release will I guess depend on your level of fandom. There are some great tracks here with, as you might imagine, tracks like ‘Down Down’, ‘Paper Plane’ and ‘Rocking All Over The World’ leading the way.
With this release originally heralding the end of Quo’s ‘electric’ shows (with a promise in the advertising back in February 2016 that these would be the final ‘electric shows’ for the band) it’s clear that things have already changed even prior to the release just over a year later. There is already a ‘Last Night of the Electrics’ European Tour underway followed by dates here in Australia. After that the band starts another fully electric ‘Plugged In’ Tour of the UK in October and November. It all rather makes the title ‘Last Night of the Electrics’ rather redundant and the promise looking rather more like a marketing ploy!
Whatever happens in the long run it’s been a long and eminently pleasurable journey for many and when Rossi does finally decide to retire his waistcoat, white trainers and jeans British rock music will have lost another great institution.
01 Caroline | 02 The Wanderer | 03 Something About You Baby I Like | 04 Rain | 05 Softer Ride | 06 Beginning Of The End | 07 Hold You Back | 08 Proposin’ Medley | 09 Paper Plane | 10 The Oriental | 11 Creepin’ Up On You | 12 Gerdundula | 13 In The Army Now | 14 The Caveman | 15 Roll Over Lay Down | 16 Down Down | 17 Whatever You Want | 18 Rocking All Over The World | 19 Burning Bridges | 20 Rock and Roll Music/Bye Bye Johnny