Title - 'The Frantic Four's Final Fling' [2LP] (Ear Music)
Artist - Status Quo
When the original line-up of Status Quo reunited for a 9-date UK tour in March of 2013, the outpouring of approval and raw emotion from the fans was incredible. I kid you not, for this was the original foursome that brought us those early hits such as 'In My Chair,' 'Rain,' 'Down Down' and 'Caroline.' Nobody ever expected Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan to ever come back together as a band; let alone play live again!
But that they did and to an incredible and rapturous response each and every time they took of the stage and finally left the stage - to standing ovations, every single time. With that reunion done, everyone thought the time had passed for the original guys, but that all changed when the band decided to play on final night at the Dublin 02 Arena in Ireland. Performing to over 9000 fans packed into the venue on Saturday, April 12th, 2014, it must surely now go down as the very final time this original line-up of Status Quo will ever perform live together.
I mean, aside from their ages, and after all the troubles these guys had been through against each other in court down the years, The Frantic Four had provided an incredible last fling concert for the ages. Indeed, the band clicked straight into their old groove, the chemistry obvious, the old tracks as stunningly perfect, the chords struck like they were hitting 11 all the time. In a word, the event, the night, the band were simply classic!
And here on a gatefold double vinyl (that's an actual record, for all you youngsters) is that very same show from Dublin, Ireland. The Frantic Four's Final Fling - Live At The Dublin 02 Arena is just so wonderful to listen to, so crisp that if everyone still purchased music in this fashion the generic, bland tone of a CD would be banished forever!
“Is there anybody out there that wants to rock,” says the voice from beyond, before introducing, "the magnificent, Status Quo” to the stage. The four chords strike up and we’re straight into the Lancaster-sung, ‘Junior’s Waiting,’ before ‘Backwater’ merges straight into the bouncy ‘Just Take Me.’ After the crowd has settled down, Francis Rossi asks the crowd if there are alright and then introduces both Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan. He then introduces ‘Is There A Better Way,’ a heavier guitar opening to their songs than usual, it bleeds beautifully into one of their very first slow songs, the now-classic ‘In My Chair.’ Side A of the first album (I love saying all that stuff) is brought to a close with the storytelling of a young woman sat alone at a party table all night, 'Blue Eyed Lady.'
Side B of the first album kicks-off with the high energy of 'Little Lady,’ with the slower sing-along ‘Most Of The Time’ backing it. Then comes the melodic stomp of 'Rain' which I have personally always loved. Funnily enough it was originally intended to be included on the album On The Level. But at the time of the recording sessions Parfitt had not completed the song and so it was held over for the next album, Blue For You. Moving on and next up is the methodical ‘(April) Spring, Summer and Wednesday’ which is followed by the harmonica-driven ‘Railroad.'
Side C of the second album begins with the pounding ‘Oh Baby,’ and with the crowd baying the name of Quo, Rossi introduces us to ‘Forty-Five Hundred Times.’ Then comes a barnstormin’ early 70's boogie rock guitar fest known as 'Gotta Go Home' - which flat out wins the battle for the longest cut on this double album!
That's backed by the hard rockin’ ‘Big Fat Mama,’ but anyone who knows Rossi knows that around this time at a Quo concert; after all the stressed vocal tones he's laid out for the love of his fans, his voice is going to become a little shredded. Indeed, that starts to albeit gently show itself here, as his singing gets noticeably more distant from the mic at times. But the troupe carries on regardless and the Frantic Four then give us a rip-roaring, elongated fan-classic-favorite, ‘Down Down.’
With still not much talking in between songs, the final side of this double album, Side D continues onward with both ‘Roadhouse Blues’ and then produce a massive trip down memory lane with an impeccable, 'Caroline.' Complete with an extended guitar mid section, and with Rossi's voice obviously saved for this one particular song, it is quite easily one of the top three live tracks on this album. The whole remainder of the vinyl album is then rounded off by a seriously-stretched out guitar-special version of ‘Bye Bye Johnny’ - which is as all Quo fans know is a throwback to ‘Johnny B. Goode.’
If you get the Blu ray, you'll get a whole bunch of visual extras. Including, Francis Rossi discussing why he won't play any more concerts with the original Status Quo Frantic Four line-up, BUT also why he suddenly realized (after years of fighting it) why these reunion concerts were the right thing to do after all!