Today, I broke a record.
In the last week, I’ve had more hits on my blog than in any previous week.
I’m not really a man for statistics, probably because I quoted Mark Twain’s “There are lies, damned lies and statistics” to prove a point so many times when I was writing scholarly essays at the end of the 1980s, I now believe none of them.
So, let me say from the get go: I anticipate that this post will bring a record low in views or downloads.
For whilst Swiss Adam over at Bagging Area was off watching Peter Hook on Friday, a week earlier I was watching Status Quo play an Acquostic gig (that’s their awful pun, not mine) at the Union Chapel in Islington.
As you may know, Quo released an album of acoustic versions of some of their songs at the back end of 2014, and it was an unexpected smash hit. The problem with unexpected smash hits is that record labels tend to want a follow up, and Quo – reluctantly, so they say – are obliging (there’s an Aquoustic Volume II coming soon).
The other problem is that, because they weren’t expecting it to be such a hit, they pretty much shot their bolt with the first album, and included versions of all the big hits: “Rockin’ All Over The World”, “Whatever You Want”, “Down, Down” etc etc etc – so where to go next?
To my mind, the first album had focussed a little too much on the famous songs, including songs which didn’t really benefit from acoustic make-overs, so I was particularly excited by the idea of them unearthing further songs from their back catalogue and giving them the acoustic treatment. For me, early album tracks, like “Claudie” from 1973’s “Hello!” album, which they revisited on the first acoustic album, had been a triumph, so I was hoping for more of the same.
So, much as I loved the gig and it’s compact, snug surroundings, I was a little disappointed that they only played two songs from the new album. A misjudgement on their part, I think: this was a strongly partisan crowd who would have known whatever they wanted (see what I did there?) to pluck out and perform.
The two songs in question were “That’s a Fact”, the original being on 1976’s “Blue For You” album, and “Hold You Back” from 1977’s “Rockin’ All Over the World” album, and it’s the latter that I want to focus on here.
“Hold You Back” has always been a live favourite, and on Friday night it prompted the audience to get up on their feet and have a bit of a dance. Have you tried dancing in a pew? It’s not easy.
Like much from the first acoustic album, “Hold You Back” benefits from a revisit and revamp, turning it into – and I now this will sound odd – the Scottish reel it always wanted to be. Here’s someone’s hand held footage of it, taken from a far better vantage point than I managed to secure:
There was, however, an elephant in the room: the absence of original member Rick Parfitt.
Rick has had more than his fair share of health problems recently, and I read this weekend that, because of them, he has probably played his last ever gig.
There was a notable absence of songs that Parfitt performed the lead vocal on at the gig, hence, to my disappointment, there was no “Mystery Song”. If ever a greater song was born from someone putting a couple of teaspoons of speed into someone else’s tea, I’m yet to hear it. To my mind, it’s the greatest song in their back catalogue, and I know I’m not alone in thinking that
Luckily, they have Andy Bown in their ranks, a talented multi-instrumentalist in his own rights, with a pre-Quo history (yes, such a time exists) to make others pale into insignificance, and it was he that stepped up to sing “Whatever You Want” (which he co-wrote with Parfitt).
Anyway, you can find various hand-held clips of the Union Chapel gig on You Tube if you so desire. Here, though, is their recent gig for Radio 2 at Hyde Park, which is essentially the same set, just played to a lot more people:
And here is an mp3 of them playing “Hold You Back” at the same gig (with apologies for the Radio 2 i-dent at the start, not that I expect any of you to listen to it…)
I await the obligatory “Oh dear” comment.