(Photo Credits: David Sansoni)
Being a tribute to yourself might be the dream of narcissists but the self-effacing John Coghlan has surrounded himself with talented musicians who help him to faithfully produce the sounds associated with Status Quo’s seventies’ heyday. The current line-up consists of the ‘Mad Turk’ on drums with Mick Hughes on guitar, Rick Chase on bass and vocals, and newbie Rick Abbs on guitar and vocals. Coghlan proves that he’s still got the ability to swing with the best of them and Hughes and Chase are the solid old pros who produce the bed on which Abbs, taking the Rossi-role for the majority of the evening, can lay his country-rock head. Tonight’s set pillages the back catalogue of the Frantic Four era with big-hitters like ‘Caroline’, ‘Paper Plane’, ‘Rain’, ‘Rockin’ All Over the World’ and the band’s only number one, ‘Down Down’. Interspersed amongst these are ‘Pictures of Matchstick Men’, which owes more to the Camper Van Beethoven version than its initial psychedelic incarnation and classic album tracks like ‘April, Spring, Summer and Wednesdays’, ‘A Year’, ‘All The Reasons’ and ‘Claudie’ – all of which highlight the diversity of the oft-derided twelve-bar shuffle merchants. Coghlan is on form tonight and takes the mic to deliver a heartfelt speech espousing love and affection for the sadly missed Rick Parfitt and original Quo bassist Alan Lancaster whilst staying on just the right playful side of irreverence for the current line-up. Hughes is the rhythm machine for much of the evening but shines on ‘Hold You Back’ and ‘Down, Down’ while Chase’s classic rock vocals are at their best on stand out track ‘Big Fat Mama’. Abbs, who also fronts seventies era Quo tributes Dog of Two Head, is note perfect in both disciplines without being (or trying to be) a Rossi soundalike. When the eponymous hero comes out to meet the die-hards after the gig the mutual appreciation society is complete as every autograph is signed and every photograph is taken by a man who comes across as humble and appreciative of the opportunity to keep these classic rock tracks alive.