Status Quo - Live At The N.E.C. album review

1981 Prince’s Trust concert triumph, complete

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Marguerita Time was just around the corner and Prince Charles was watching from the expensive seats, but you wouldn’t know it during an endlessly inventive, 23-minute Forty-Five Hundred Times. Discordant, avant-garde splinters of guitar and piano become hard-swung twin-guitar haymakers; high-velocity bluegrass picking turns into rattling, stripped-back R&B; tempos zoom and slow, and Quo’s masterful variety is clear.

New drummer Pete Kircher hardly dented the remaining Frantic Three’s fire on this second Quo live album, from a gig first released in full on the eight-disc version of 2010’s Live At The BBC. A sneering Bye Bye Johnny could almost be aimed at John Lydon, while the proggy keys on The Doors’ Roadhouse Blues hint at Quo’s psychedelic past. Mainly, though, this is an undiluted set-list of heavy blues boogie. On Rockin’ All Over the World, the band’s crunching power and Rossi’s stinging lead guitar confirm how much they still meant it.