Status Quo – The SSE Arena, Belfast – 28th October 2016

In music history there were not too many bands that could get away with wearing double denim. 90s Irish pop group B*witched count as one but no one was able to rock the look more than British rock legends Status Quo. The Quo boys have always been highly regarded and respected for their dedication to rock ’n’ roll over the decades and it was a shame to hear that this tour was to be their “Last Night Of The Electrics” tour but thankfully they decided to stop off in Belfast this time after not playing here for a number of years. And you can beat that the Belfast Quo army were out on force with the signature double denim and white sneaker outfit to see the band off.

It was truly fitting that the iconic rockers picked a suitable support band for their tour and who did they pick? None other than British prog legends Uriah Heep to kick the night off. Personally, I have never listened to Heep before but my word what a performance they put on! It was almost as like watching an up and coming rock/metal band to instead find out it was a band who have been playing for the same amount of time as the headline band. From lead vocalist Bernie Shaw’s immense vocal range to founding member Mick Box added some entertainment with mystical hand gestures between his guitar solos it certainly left the Belfast crowd wondering, “how the hell are Quo going to top that?”

Uriah Heep

As the dust settled from Uriah Heep it was time for the boppers to come out to play as the legendary Status Quo thundered their way onto the stage, like a flick of a switch the opening chords to “Caroline” brought life to the packed out area. Plus the second founding member Francis Rossi took to the stage with his signature telecaster plugged into a pure white Marshall stack the crowd lit up, like seeing an old friend once again. What was more fascinating to see was an almost 70 year old man running about the stage like a nutter, not one bit of energy had left him over the years. However, there was a down side to this night as early in the week long time band member Rick Parfitt had announced he was retiring from the band due a heart attack at the beginning of 2016; that being said stand-in guitarist Richie Malone filled into Parfitt’s white sneakers perfectly, almost as if it was listening to Parfitt himself if you closed your eyes.

Status Quo

Rossi took time throughout the set to have banter between the band and the crowd with the odd “how does this song start again?” every now and again but if you could name any Quo song in their collection there was no doubt they played it as long as the crowd didn’t stop dancing (which they didn’t). From “Paper Plane” to classics such as “In The Army Now” and the famous “Rockin’ All Over The World” Belfast sure did get their money’s worth whether a band member they’ve known and loved for decades couldn’t be there. Deep down in my mind I still find it amazing how a band who play the same guitar chord progression could become rock ’n’ roll legends but like the double denim only Quo can get away with it. Will the aQUOstic incarnation take off or will we see the boys bring back the electrics? Only time will tell.

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About Marc Leach

I am a Northern Irish freelance photography who specialises in music, promotional and event photography.