Status Quo performs at Clumber Park on Friday 15th August 2014


Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Armed with my blow up guitar and snug fitting denim jacket, I made my way to Clumber Park to see Status Quo, who opened the first of a three day Festival of Music. Just as I arrived the heavens opened and a deluge of rain hit this lovely parkland and soaked this eager crowd. Luckily the sun did come out for the start of the evenings activities as Babajack took to the stage. As is often the case on a Friday when proceedings start early, the crowd is still relatively small, but Becky Tate certainly gave it her all in trying to rouse this meagre crowd. Ably assisted by Trevor Stegar, Tosh Murase and Adam Berkenshaw, they delivered an intoxicating fusion of blues and folk music, as they promoted their latest album, Running Man.

Galvanising this crowd it was clear that their music has been stripped back to the bare essentials, with their vocals, acoustic guitar, drums and of course the pre-requisite harmonica. The effect of it all was simple but yet very enticing.

Having set the bar for the next act, Toseland, the murmurs amongst the crowd began in earnest. Where were the Strawbs, people were asking because after all they were listed as appearing. Further investigations revealed that they had pulled out over three weeks ago, but to be fair they were not missed as Toseland took to the stage.

This young man was simply awesome. Here to promote his debut album, Renegade, you would never have known that his previous day job was as the 2007 World Superbike Champion, until injury forced him to retire in 2011. Delivering loud, down and dirty rock, he very quickly got this crowd clapping and cheering as he delivered numbers from his new album; Crash Landing, Life Is Beautiful, Singer In A Band and of course the title track of his album, Renegade. Finishing with Crashbanger, I will admit that I could have listened to more of him. He is certainly an exciting artist of the future and without doubt his infectiousness for his music really did save the night

As the sun went down and the mosquitoes came out, the stage was suddenly lit by a fanfare of coloured lighting. The crowd roared their welcome for the Quo only to be disappointed. Rick Parfitt has been unwell recently, but we understood that he was well enough to appear on stage tonight. Not so, and after three songs in, Francis Rossi took a break in the proceedings to inform us that Rick had not had the all clear from the doctor and that his stand in was Freddie Edwards, son of the bass guitarist, ‘Rhino’ Edwards.

Whilst all the old hits flowed, Caroline, Paper Plane, and Hold You Back, it simply was not the same. It was like Laurel without Hardy, Ant without Dec as the crowd showed their appreciation for the bands gallant efforts. A set which included What You’re Proposing, Down The Dustpipe, Again & Again clearly did entertain as the crowd ‘air guitared’ and sang along. Finishing with Rockin’ All Over The World, Status Quo left the Park, leaving behind some happy fans but also some very disappointed ones. Even my air guitar was deflated.

To read what Francis Rossi had to say when Kevin Cooper caught up with him, go to http://www.ukmusicreviews.co.uk/interviews/interview-francis-rossi/