Do you want to hear an Elton John joke? It’s a little bit funny.
Live! is the first live album by British rock band Status Quo. The double album is an amalgam of performances at Glasgow’s Apollo Theatre between 27 and 29 October 1976. The two guitarists had differing opinions of the album with Francis Rossi (left) calling it; “The worst album we ever made”, whilst his counterpart Rick Parfitt (right) countered; “There are bits of the live album that still give me goosebumps.” After all this time does it still hold up or was it really any good the first time round?
Confession time: I loved Status Quo when I was a nipper. They were the first rock band I got into, they were always on Top of the Pops nearly every week (slight exaggeration, but not by much) and above all they were fun. And then I grew up, well not exactly, but I was discovering more harder rock and metal groups as I got older (1980 was a hell of a year to be getting into metal) and whilst their 1980 album Just Supposin was good (despite the fact that a song titled Rock n Roll was weaker than Superman wearing kryptonite underwear) it just felt lacking, especially when I compared them to the albums released by Iron Maiden, Saxon, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest etc. They were done for me as a band around their 14th album, Never Too Late, the following year. The band became very tired sounding, went on to do too many poor cover versions, their songs became a much of a muchness. I still liked their 70’s stuff but from that album on they became a joke band to me. Also, my peers in the art school class looked down their noses at me and my love of Quo at the time; they mocked me in my smock and embroidered in my socks. So after all that preamble, it’s on with the review.
It’s easy to dismiss this album, and the band, as no nonsense heads down (down) mindless boogie (as my friend Alberto would say) but the truth is, Live! is a pretty ok live album. Sure, after a while the songs kinda merge into boogie-rock sameness, the band aren’t exactly going to win any virtuoso competitions and the 14 minute vertsion of Roadhouse Blues could have done with some trimming (or taken out altogether) but it is a lot of fun, in small doses. A couple of tracks every now and then scratch the NNHDMB itch in me but over four sides it does get quite tiresome and repetitive.
I can’t really recommend this album in good faith; it’s neither their worst album nor did it give me goosebumps. It’s not terrible, quite enjoyable in small doses but not exactly essential listening if truth be told. I’ll give it five (a bit of nostalgia for the old folks out there) TTFN!