PHOTO: © DOT HOPKINS
I’ve been to a few concerts in my time, but I don’t recall the last time I saw a crowd rise to their feet before the headline act even hit the stage – and stay there for the entire show! And certainly not at Melbourne’s Hamer Hall. But that’s how it was on Tuesday night when legendary rockers Status Quo played their Melbourne show on their Last Night of the Electrics Tour. And that was just about everyone in the room with few exceptions.
From the moment we heard those opening chords of ‘Caroline’, we knew we were in for a true rock ‘n’ roll experience.
Melbourne was the final stop on the Australian leg of Quo’s Last Night of the Electrics Tour, the last chance for fans to see the band in the full powered rock mode for which they are famous.
As someone who has been a Status Quo fan for more than 45 years (Piledriver was my first REAL rock album!), I simply couldn’t miss the chance to be there one last time. No, it’s not the same band that I first saw in the mid-70s, with Alan Lancaster on bass, John Coghlan on drums and the late Rick Parfitt on guitar. Francis Rossi is the only remaining member from those days. And, yes, I do miss those early years but the current line-up is a group of excellent musicians, with Andrew Bown on keys, John ‘Rhino’ Edwards on bass, drummer Leon Cave and the new kid on the block, Richie Malone who had some pretty big shoes to fill when he stepped in as guitarist after Rick left the band following his heart attack last year. That role took on a whole new dimension when Rick passed away last Christmas. Not an easy task but one he has taken on with passion and enthusiasm and the response he drew from the crowd at Hamer Hall particularly during Rick’s song ‘Rain’ proved that he was, without doubt, the right man for the job.
The band was pumping from start to finish, delivering two hours of solid rock from early hits like ‘Paper Plane’ (Piledriver) ‘Softer Ride’ (Hello), ‘Little Lady’ (On the Level) to much later tracks like ‘The Oriental’. And despite a cold that restricted his vocal range on the night, Francis never once waivered in giving it everything he had.
There was a medley of songs covering a broad range of eras which included ‘What You’re Proposing’, ‘Down the Dustpipe’, ‘Wild Side of Life’, ‘Railroad’ and ‘Again and Again’.
And the excitement in the room was palpable when we heard the beginning to ‘Roll Over Lay Down’, still one of the best Quo songs live in my opinion. Then the rest of the band left the stage, leaving a lone Francis Rossi quietly playing his guitar and, as the opening chords gradually built momentum, the rest of the band joined him, one by one, for a powerhouse version of ‘Down Down’. Francis couldn’t resist having a bit of fun and including the line ‘Coles prices are down’.
They closed the set with favourites ‘Whatever You Want’ and ‘Rockin’ All Over the World’ and the crowd went wild.
A brief departure from the stage and a persistent roar of ‘More! More! More!’ and ‘We want Quo’ filled the room before the guys re-emerged for the encore, ‘Burning Bridges’ followed by the finale, a Chuck Berry double, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ and ‘Bye Bye Johnny’ giving everyone a chance to sing along and that they did, squeezing every last drop of frenetic energy from what was a powerful night of non-stop classic rock, the way it’s meant to be. Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ roll!
by Sharyn Hamey
Copyright © Sharyn Hamey 2017. All rights reserved
PHOTOS: © DOT HOPKINS
Something ‘Bout You Baby I Like
Beginning of the End
Hold You Back
What You’re Proposing/Down the Dustpipe/Wild Side of Life/Railroad/Again and Again
Creepin’ Up on You
Don’t Drive My Car
In the Army Now
Roll Over Lay Down
Whatever You Want
Rockin’ All Over the World
Burning Bridges (On and Off and On Again)
Rock ‘n’ Roll Music/Bye Bye Johnny