Status Quo 1974 QUO and on tour again
Quo-woh-oh-oh-oh….Some time in the mid-70s the Quo rituals started. A few drinks in the City Tavern and then in the City Hall bar, catch some of the support act (always guaranteed to be good, so had to watch them), and then up to our seats, the lights would go down and then our chant would start…”Quo-woh-oh-oh-oh….” The Quo intro drone would play and then they would run on stage, Alan at the front for the first song, which we knew would be “Juniors Wailing”.
“Love me baby, love me when I’m down; I said love me baby, love me when I’m down; Yeah you gotta love me baby; ‘cos there’s no use hanging around” (Junior’s Wailing, cover of a Steamhammer song).
Yes it was the same every time, but that was part of the fun, the ritual. The guys (I was going to call them our heroes, which they were, but that just doesn’t feel right, they were more like our mates) were up on that stage and everything felt good. For a few hours we were removed from our day to day lives, and subjected to loud music, frantic rocking with a sell-out crowd, all of whom understood and felt it in exactly the same way as we did. Oh and we had to wear denim. Levi jacket and jeans and t-shirt (ok maybe Wrangler was also allowed).
The other ritual was “the jig”. Not sure when it started, or exactly which song it featured in (I think it may have been included during “Roadhouse Blues” which was always extended and epic) but it became a regular feature of Quo shows in the ’70s, and we came to look forward to, and enjoy it. It’s going to sound naff now, and pretty uncool, but it was basically an Irish type jig played on guitar, led by Francis, and we all had to jump up and down to it. Picture a completely full, hot, sweaty, City Hall, towards the end of the gig, everyone in denim, hair flying around, jumping up and down in our seats with the three Quo front men on stage jumping up and down in front of us. Pure magic (ok it doesn’t sound cool, but you had to be there).
I saw Status Quo twice in 1974, the 9th and 10th times I saw the band. The first time was at Newcastle City Hall on 20th May 1974. The band were so popular that this time they sold out two nights at the City Hall, I went on the second night. I saw them again later that year when they came back to the North East and played at Sunderland Empire on 1st December 1974. I remember going to the Sunderland gig with a load of mates. Looking at the ticket for that gig we were right up in the cheap seats that night (40p! bargain). Note the Empire tickets never named the band in those days.
Support act for the City Hall show was Montrose and at the Empire it was SNAFU. There was a big buzz around Montrose at the time. Montrose were fronted by the late great guitarist Ronnie Montrose and (later of Van Halen) Sammy Hagar on vocals. They had just released their debut album, and the awesome tracks “Bad Motor Scooter” and “Space Station #5” were big dance floor favourites at rock nights in the local Mayfair (Newcastle) and Mecca (Sunerland) ballrooms. It was one of the few times that the City Hall was completely full for the support act.
I’d seen Montrose just two days before, when they appeared on the bill at the Who’s Charlton concert. Montrose were great, very loud, rocking and full of energy. One of the few acts who almost (in my view) managed to upstage the mighty Quo. Hagar was a crazy front man, and Montrose an ace guitarist. From the QUO tour programme: “Montrose have compiled an energy-laden set consisting mostly of original compositions with the bonus of an amazing live version of the Roy Brown classic “Good Rockin’ Tonight”, that’ll keep your feet a dancin’ and your fingers poppin’.” Well I don’t remember my fingers poppin’ 🙂 but I do remember some “Good Rockin'”.
Typical Quo Setlist from this year: Junior’s Wailing, Backwater/Just take me, Claudie, Railroad, Roll over lay down, Big Fat Mama, Don’t waste my Time, Roadhouse Blues, Caroline, Down Down, Bye Bye Johnny.
Status Quo released their seventh studio LP “QUO” 1974. The album included the single “Break the Rules” which reached No 8 in the UK single charts. QUO reached No 2 in the album charts. It is pure classic Quo and one of their heaviest, due to the influence of bass player Alan Lancaster, who wrote six of the eight tracks. “Backwater” and “Just Take Me” were soon to become live favourites; “Backwater” in particular, is one of Status Quo’s best rockers. Quo hit No 1 in November 1974, with “Down Down” another classic, and yet another live favourite. There were truly on a roll.
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Status Quo 1974 QUO and on tour again