It’s hard to know how to take Status Quo.
SSE Hydro, Glasgow
They’re like the gregarious uncle at a family party who brings the life and soul, until he tells a provocative joke about a minority and nobody’s quite sure if he just likes to be controversial or he really is quite unpleasant. In the Quo’s case, these “jokes” are called things like Big Fat Mama (“I’m gonna tell you, woman / better do as you’re told”), the truly sinister Creepin’ Up On You (“nothin’ you can do … I’ll be creepin’ up on you”) and The Oriental (you can probably guess).
Watching the band in this huge arena – the front few dozen rows out of their seats and bouncing frantically along, many of the rest of elder years and politely seated – there is the sense that they’re unafraid of a joke at their own expense. “Status Quo – Accept No Substitutes!” announces their logo proudly, looking like it would be better placed adorning a beer tap, and all five members of the band, young and old, wear the much-derided elder rocker uniform of denim jeans and boxfresh white trainers. Of course there are no substitutes, no others out there so unashamedly in hock to the power of a howling rock riff above all.
Guitarists/singers Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt have heads-down, stomping riffs in no short supply, from the opening salvo of Caroline and The Wanderer to the main set-closing trio of Down Down, Whatever You Want and Rockin’ All Over the World. There are shifts in pace too – the moody In The Army Now, young drummer Leon Cave’s dextrous and fluid extended solo – but remembering some of those unreconstructed lyrics leaves a sour taste. A good fun night out, for those who are still waiting for the Berlin Wall to fall.