Status Quo – Symphony at the Tower, Hoghton

Quo Time: The Symphony at the Tower crowd get ready to rock (Photo: Symphony at the Tower/Bradley Hamer Photographic)

Quo Time: The Symphony at the Tower crowd get ready to rock (Photo: Symphony at the Tower/Bradley Hamer Photographic)

The forecasts hinted we might be in for a downpour at Hoghton Tower on Friday night, and the clouds were looming as we waited for the main act.

But by the time the mighty Quo were belting out 1976 hit Rain on this lush site, we even dared sneak the odd look skyward, secretly thinking we might just get away with it.

I won’t even contemplate how far into their stellar career Britain’s most successful singles band were when the members of both Lancashire supports were born.

Both openers, Good Foxy and New York Tourists, had a ball though, and weren’t above showing their delight and gratitude at being part of this special 30th birthday celebration for the nearby St Catherine’s Hospice.

Fleet Foxy: Clitheroe openers Good Foxy take it all in (Photo: Good Foxy/Bradley Hamer Photographic)

Fleet Foxy: Clitheroe openers Good Foxy take it all in (Photo: Good Foxy/Bradley Hamer Photographic)

Good Foxy, from Clitheroe,  were perfect openers, with hints of The Associates, Muse and Radiohead in George Banks’ vocals from a promising up and coming bluesy outfit.

A moment of poetry between songs brought to mind Peter Gabriel-era Genesis, while there was more of a Doors and Led Zep feel elsewhere.

I’d like to say their spirited rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s Hey Joe took me back to the Isle of Wight in 1970, but that was for a family holiday two months before (and I was only two).

New York Tourists, from Blackburn, also shone, front-man Gary Taylor summing it up by letting on how he’d expected to be at the bar watching rather than being up there supporting such legends in front of so many people.

Lining Up: Just another day as Blackburn's New York Tourists pose backstage with the Quo (Photo: New York Tourists/Adam McGrath Photography)

Lining Up: Just another day as Blackburn’s New York Tourists pose backstage with Quo (Photo: New York Tourists/Adam McGrath Photography)

The nerves didn’t show though, his solo vocal intro on Dead Man’s Leather setting the tone for a relaxed last four songs that did the band great credit.

And while they couldn’t stick around, having to hot-foot it away to Preston’s Glastonferret Festival, they too did themselves proud.

It’s clearly not about age anyway, judging by the amount of stage covered by the four outfield players in Team Quo, with all the zip and sparkle of many a younger band.

Founder member Francis Rossi, 66 years young, warned us all the same, telling his adoring crowd ‘things might happen’ when you come to see a band as old as his, advising them to get their cameras ready should one of them collapse.

Old School: The Quo were rocking all over the stage. From the left: Leon Cave, Rick Parfitt, Francis Rossi, John 'Rhino'Edwards, Andy Bown (Photo: Symphony at the Tower/Bradley Hamer Photographic)

Old School: The Quo were rocking all over the stage. From the left: Leon Cave, Rick Parfitt, Francis Rossi, John ‘Rhino’Edwards, Andy Bown (Photo: Symphony at the Tower/Bradley Hamer Photographic)

While there have been many health scares and a fair bit of hard living over the years, Rossi and fellow mainstay Rick Parfitt never gave less than we could have hoped for.

The same goes for bass player John ‘Rhino’ Edwards (29 years in) and keyboard/ guitar/ harmonica player Andy Bown (39 years). In fact we’re talking 169 years’ service from those four, and it showed in the tight playing and sheer stagecraft.

And if you’re going to have a big celebration, why not ask a legendary five-piece who have proved over the years they know how to party?

Bringing youth to the proceedings, and no less vigour, was drummer Leon Cave, a mere two years with the band but clearly a big hit with his team-mates.

Caveman Go: Leon Cave steals the limelight while his band-mates take a nap (Photo: Symphony at the Tower/Bradley Hamer Photographic)

Caveman Go: Leon Cave steals the limelight while his band-mates take a nap (Photo: Symphony at the Tower/Bradley Hamer Photographic)

At one stage the rest of them left the ’Caveman’ to it for a drum solo. We can only presume it was a case of power naps all round, all those years on the road ensuring this is a band that can sleep through anything.

And throughout the set it was maximum rock’n’roll, Quo never letting up and showing us what a great band they are, from the opening bars of ultimate party-starter Caroline onwards.

That joyous start was just the first of many great moments as they worked through an array of formation guitar stances and trademark moves.

Sometimes it was Parfitt and Rossi together, then  Bown and Edwards slipped into line, and from there any combination of those four showcased a tried and tested format that brought plenty of smiles form an audience spanning the eras.

Hoghton High: The crowd warming to the Quo (Photo: Symphony at the Tower/Bradley Hamer Photographic)

Hoghton High: The crowd warming to the Quo (Photo: Symphony at the Tower/Bradley Hamer Photographic)

And the sound? Well, they can still belt them out, yet never over-play, and proved note perfect all night, despite being between gigs in Germany and Austria.

The bulk of the set came from those treasured ’70s albums and singles, and I made it just three from this century in a 22-song set.

Paper Plane, one of three selections from 1972’s Piledriver, had this nostalgic scribe on a high, with enough of a summer breeze to ensure a fan down the front could put his aviation origami skills into practise, releasing his own tribute creation.

Among a handful of newer songs, 2007’s Beginning of the End proved there’s still life in the old dogs, the backing vocals making this an all-round crowd-pleaser.

Rhino's Charge: John Edwards and Andy Bown in action at Hoghton Tower (Photo: Symphony at the Tower/Bradley Hamer Photographic)

Rhino’s Charge: John Edwards and Andy Bown in action at Hoghton Tower (Photo: Symphony at the Tower/Bradley Hamer Photographic)

The earliest single we were treated to was 1970’s Down the Dustpipe, part of a five-song medley book-ended by further fans’ favourites What You’re Proposing and Again and Again.

We got their bluesier side on 2002’s Creeping’ Up On You, while the sing-along In The Army Now went down a storm, even if the inclement weather was being kept at bay.

And after the Caveman’s solo came four Quo classics to see us out, Roll Over Lay Down, sole No.1 Down Down, Whatever You Want and John Fogerty’s Rocking All Over the World – 30 years to the week after its triumphant outing at Live Aid.

Except they didn’t leave, our special guests returning once more to treat us to three great rock’n’rollers which they’ve made their own, Steamhammer’s Junior’s Wailing and Chuck Berry’s Rock’n’Roll Music and Bye Bye Johnny sending us home on a high.

As we made back for our cars, the rain started to fall, but I reckon it was planned, an endorsement from the gods on this warm summer night for a legendary band’s top entertainment.

Besides, the lightning lit the way, the cheery charity volunteers directing us out ensuring the smiles stayed on the faces after a cracking night of live music, and all for a great cause.

In Crowd: The star-struck New York Tourists pose with the audience at Hoghton Tower (Photo: New York Tourists/Adam McGrath Photography)

In Crowd: The star-struck New York Tourists pose with the audience at Hoghton Tower (Photo: New York Tourists/Adam McGrath Photography)

In the build-up to Symphony at the Tower, writewyattuk spoke to legendary Status Quo founder member Francis Rossi, with a link to that feature here.

This scribe also caught up with Gary Taylor of New York Tourists, with a link here, and ‘Classical Dark Angel’ Lucy Kay, who was on the bill for the following night’s event finale, with a link here.

For the latest from Status Quo, including details of their latest UK tour later this year, head here

To find out more about Good Foxy, who have an album on the way, go to their Facebook page here

And for the latest from New York Tourists, also set to release their debut album, try their Facebook page here.  

 

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About writewyattuk

A freelance writer and family man being swept along on a wave of advanced technology, but somehow clinging on to reality. It's only a matter of time ... A highly-motivated scribbler with a background in journalism, business and life itself. Away from the features, interviews and reviews you see here, I tackle novels, short stories, copywriting, ghost-writing, plus TV, radio and film scripts for adults and children. I'm also available for assignments and write/research for magazines, newspapers, press releases and webpages on a vast range of subjects. You can also follow me on Facebook via https://www.facebook.com/writewyattuk/ and on Twitter via @writewyattuk. Legally speaking, all content of this blog (unless otherwise stated) is the intellectual property of Malcolm Wyatt and may only be reproduced with permission.
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One Response to Status Quo – Symphony at the Tower, Hoghton

  1. Pingback: Proof perfect pop idol here to stay – the Will Young interview | writewyattuk

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