Along with mince pies, tinsel and indigestion on boxing day, Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without a gig from the Quo. Tonights Quofestive line up features 80’s pop icon Kim Wilde and Birmingham ’s own Roy Wood.
Kim Wilde may at first seem an unlikely addition to the bill. However, with a set featuring her most well-known songs, a selection of choice covers and a kick ass band she warms up the crowd nicely. From ‘Tainted Love’ through the Buzzcocks’ ‘Ever Fallen In Love’, ‘You Keep Me Hanging On’ to a surprisingly heavy ‘Kids In America’, Kim bounced across the stage to a good reception and ‘Rocking Around The Christmas Tree’ provided the first festive singalong of the evening.
By contrast Roy Wood’s set, back with a brass section and backing singer, was by far more pop orientated. After California man, he soon eased into more familiar territory of ‘Blackberry Way’ and ‘Flowers In The Rain’. However, it wasn’t until ‘See My Baby Jive’ that got a sizeable proportion of the audience to its feet. The finale of ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’ saw the whole of the crowd up and in full voice and you would have been forgiven for thinking you were watching the headliners.
For some Status Quo may have become something of a cabaret act with predictable setlists and banter year after year. However, the last few years have seen them put out some excellent albums with the likes of In Search Of the Fourth Chord and the recent Quid Pro Quo. Tonight’s show is further evidence of this purple patch. From opener ‘Caroline’, it’s clear that the band are in fine form. Francis Rossi darts around the stage looking and sounding refreshed. The banter is minimal and there are familiar medleys in an attempt to squeeze in as many hits as possible. The PA is excellent tonight and enhances the band, and banishes the ghost of the acoustics of the old NEC tin shed. Rick Parfitt takes the lead vocals on ‘Rain’, and you could almost be back in the late 70’s of Quo’s heyday. ‘Down Down’, ‘Big Fat Mama’ and ‘Paper Plane’ help to reinforce this.
It’s not all nostalgia though and there are several new songs amidst the set, ‘Two Way Traffic’ being particularly good. ‘In The Army Now’ is another set highlight. For a band with over 40 years’ worth of songs, the set is nicely balanced between the old and the new.
The encore concludes in festive spirit with Roy Wood and Kim Wilde joining the band for a run through of ‘Walking In A Winter Wonderland’ and ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’. A fun, throwaway end to a great gig which shows the band in their element, able to still satisfy the denim clad Quo Army while managing to effortlessly appeal to younger generations.