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Download 2014: Status Quo

Live Review

Venue: Zippo Encore, Download 2014

Has the boogie bubble burst? Not a chance.

Thirty years after Status Quo left tens of thousands of bewildered, tearful fans in a field in Milton Keynes at the climax of the band's End Of The Road tour, apparently never to be seen again, it feels like they've never really been away.

Revived by Live Aid, their popularity has ebbed and flowed ever since without them ever becoming fashionable, but in 2014 it all feels about right all over again.

It’s a truncated set (England are just about to take on Italy in the World Cup), but just like 1984, they kick off with the heads-down Caroline, and just like 1984 they follow it up with Paper Plane. There’s other similarities, of course. The same battered telecasters, the same stonwashed denim, but these are easy targets. What’s perhaps more interesting is the things they do which are surprising, like In The Army Now, which is wheeled out to enormous, surprising, singalong-as-the-sun sets success. On the downside, there’s a drum solo, something most bands would lose in such shortened circumstances (has anyone ever gone to a Quo gig desperate to witness one?)

But with hits like this lot, these are very minor quibbles. They’re second only to AC/DC in the if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it stakes, but the result of such musical stasis is a catalgue that’s brimming with tunes that are genuinely loved. There’s a medley featuring What You’re Proposing, Down The Dustpipe, Wild Side Of Life and Again And Again. There’s a thudding Down Down (with the lyrics briefly adapted to reflect the band’s involvement in that Australian commercial for Coles Mince), a race through Whatever You Want, and Quo’s anthem, Rockin All Over The World. It’s hit after hit after hit, and Hello’s Roll Over, Lay Down is a pummeling, driven highlight.  

Status Quo are like an unfairly maligned cousin whose personality you only begin to appreciate in their absence, but it feels pretty good to see them again. Close your eyes and it could be 1984.

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