After a shaky start where his voice seemed to be missing the high notes Shakin’ Stevens soon found his feet. He treads a fine line between the blues and country music nowadays with even his big hits restyled in this new musical style – hearing Green Door in this new guise made the song nearly unrecognisable at first. His rendition of the Credence Clearwater Revival hit, Have You Ever Seen The Rain? worked well though it was his other big hits such as Marie Marie and This Ole House that had the audience up on their feet.
As Stevens concluded his set with Merry Christmas Everyone the song benefitted from being performed unchanged from the recorded version. Surprisingly Stevens had won over any cynics with a commanding set that proved he could impress the normally inflexible Status Quo fans. A job well done.
Synchronise the Telecasters
As the opening bars of Caroline rang out around the Leeds Arena they heralded the return of Status Quo – the group have a signature sound they have made their own, much like the Bee Gees and ABBA – when you hear one of their songs you instantly know who it is.
When founder member Rick Parfitt died in 2016 the group could have quit, instead they carried on with new member Richie Malone coming into the ranks. Malone could never be a replacement for Parfitt though he does make for a credible member of Quo, he sings the vocals on Little Lady like he’s always been a vital part of the band.
Francis Rossi appeared to be in his element back on stage in Leeds. “We had a day off yesterday and I was able to have a look around Leeds, I never realised what a good place it is – one of the UK’s best kept secrets,” he affirmed.
Unleash the 12-bar volley
Alongside the heady power-rock nostalgia of the familiar classics the band slipped in a few more recent numbers such as Rock ‘n’ Roll ‘n’ You and Twenty Wild Horses which fitted in well with the rest of their songs.
The opportunities for the group to swish their guitars together in unison were frequent – a move often associated with the Quo. There is no denying that they have made a career out of 12-bar boogie songs that continue to delight their fans.
Over a near two-hour set the band proved that they are still a force to be reckoned with. The concert shifted into a higher gear as some of the best rock songs you will hear, followed in quick succession; Down Down remains the quintessential Quo song whilst Rockin’ All Over The World brought to mind the time when they opened up the historical Live Aid concert in 1985.
After tonight’s performance it looked like Status Quo and their fans will be rockin’ for many years to come.