Status Quo gigs 1973 Piledriver

quoprog1972 and 1973 were busy years for Status Quo. They gigged relentlessly, playing up and down the country, and further afield, in clubs, ballrooms, student unions and festivals. They were building up a reputation as one of the best and most consistent live acts, guaranteed to deliver a night of no-nonsense rock and boogie with a few slower numbers and blues thrown in. Mike Rossi was the cheeky front man, always good for a bit banter with the crowd. You felt like he was taking directly to you. Rick was the rhythm machine, as he continues to be today. Alan was the tough little rocker thumping away on that bass, and coming to the front to take the lead vocals on some of the harder rockers. And John was at the back, a mane of long hair, pounding away at his drums. The stage show was frantic and fast with the heads down routine, as pictured here from my early 1972 programme and on the back of the Piledriver album, featuring as the show progressed.
quopiledriveIn 1972 Quo were back in the UK singles chart with “Paper Plane” and late that year they released their defining album “Piledriver”. “Piledriver” consolidated all their hard work on the live circuit in an album that had great rockers in “Don’t Waste My Time” and “Big Fat Mama” and slow blues ballads like “Unspoken Words” and “A Year”. I found a review on Amazon by A Customer which expresses just how great the album is much better than I could: “This album changed my life. When I first played through the irrepressible bounce of Don’t Waste My Time, the show-stopping drive of Big Fat Mama and Paper Plane and right through to the end of the long, heavy, pounding version of the Doors’ Roadhouse Blues, my listening habits were changed forever. It was the first time I had heard such energy and intensity committed to record. Even today, the sound has a fearsome edge, a live rawness that defies technology, but that can only be borne of real attitude. All these years on, the Quo themselves might have mellowed and achieved a state of comfortable familiarity, but this piece of work never will. It was forged in a raging furnace, and is still hot enough to burn.”quotixThe impact of “Piledriver” mustn’t be underestimated. It was a big achievement as a band, and one of the must-have albums for all of us at the time. Quo are often scoffed at these days, but back in 1973 they were on a roll, and were simply the best live rock’n’roll machine in the land. I saw Status Quo three times during this period: 20th March 1973 at Newcastle City Hall, 27th April 1973 in Sunderland (the Quo gigography lists this gig as being at the Locarno but I recall seeing them at both the Locarno and at the Rink around this time), and on 25th August 1973 I saw them play another storming triumph at the Reading Festival. Support at the Newcastle City Hall gig was Byzantium who gigged a lot at that time. Byzantium were a psychedelic music band of the 1970s who released three albums and are perhaps best remembered for their role in the early career of Chaz Jankel of Ian Dury and the Blockheads fame.
A typical Status Quo Setlist of the period: Junior’s Wailing, Someones Learning, In My Chair, Umleitung, Railroad, Caroline, Is It Really Me/Gotta Go Home, Big Fat Mama, Paper Plane, Don’t waste My time, Roadhouse Blues, Mean Girl, Bye Bye Johnny.
This was classic Quo, starting out on a period of massive success, some great songs and incredible live shows. Tomorrow I will move to the “Hello” period.

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