Live review: Status Quo – Aquostic at Hammersmith Apollo 26/4/15

Status Quo are a band that stopped worrying about critical acclaim and musical credibility long, long ago. After the band’s 70s/early 80s peak we’ve seen cringe-worthy covers albums, sing-along football songs, bizarre collaborations with the Beach Boys; in fact you name it, they’ve tried it. Even the well-received reunion of their classic 70s line-up in 2013  was immediately followed by a cheesy mafia comedy film set on a tropical island.

So the idea of a Status Quo acoustic album and tour could be dismissed as yet the latest undignified attempt in a long line of pointless gimmicks. Except that… the album was actually rather good. And following a strong reception to a one-off acoustic show at the Roundhouse last year, touring it was an inspired idea. More than simply strumming along to some old hits, however, the band took the trouble to create completely reworked arrangements for the album and they are replicated here tonight. The acoustic guitars and harmonica are complimented by a range of other instruments, including mandolin, accordion, viola, cello and violins. Joining the modern era line-up of Status Quo (Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Andrew Brown, John Edwards and new-boy Leon Cave) are an additional nine musicians as well as two female backing singers, all of whom, Rossi tells the crowd, played on the album.

Rather than the usual Quo gig, the elegant lighting, back drapes and stage full of seated musicians looks more like the setting for a 1950s dance band. The sound is still unmistakably Status Quo but the light and breezy arrangements and sensitive vocals show off the quality of the songwriting and bring out new depths to often familiar songs. A beautifully laid-back version of early 80s hit “Rock ‘n’ Roll” is a particular highlight and there are some lovely reworkings of earlier material like “Reason for Living”, now re-imagined as a folk-rock rock classic. Rain is given a makeover as a countrified acoustic blues and a classically-infused Mystery Song, with exquisitely catchy string accompaniment, is another highlight. Of course many of the best known classics are included, too, like Caroline, What Your Proposin’ and Down Down.

The set proper is finished with Whatever You Want and Rockin All Over the World, the acoustic treatments creating the perfect setting for a mighty communal sing-along. Thankfully the post 1983 material has been kept to a minimum in favour of earlier classics, but they encore with a nicely sensitive version of Rock ‘til You Drop. That is then followed by the gimmicky jig, Burning Bridges. It wouldn’t be my choice for a Quo encore but the crowd lap it up and you can forgive the band one lapse of good taste after such a stunning evening.

Break the Rules
Again and Again
Paper Plane
Mystery Song / Little Lady
Rock ‘n’ Roll
What You’re Proposing
Softer Ride
Down Down
Pictures of Matchstick Men
Down the Dustpipe
All the Reasons
Reason for Living
Rollin’ Home
Don’t Drive My Car
Marguerita Time
Whatever You Want
Rockin’ All Over the World
Rock ’til You Drop
Burning Bridges (On and Off and on Again)

Previous Review:

Status Quo Frantic Four reunion


9 thoughts on “Live review: Status Quo – Aquostic at Hammersmith Apollo 26/4/15

  1. Thanks for following The Immortal Jukebox Darren I hope you have found some entertaining music and writing and perhaps made some discoveries. If its been a while since you last visited come on over! Good luck with your interest packed blog. Regards Thom


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