Francis Rossi – Tunes and Chat, Lowther Pavilion, Lytham, Sunday 26th November 2023.

Rock and roll Status Quo front man Francis Rossi entertained a captive audience with his ‘Tunes and Chat’ show in Lowther Pavilion in Lytham.

Words: Helen May / Venue Photos (C) L Ngan

Without a single seat left empty in the house, Rossi’s performance in Lytham showed the depth and breadth of the many musical hits that shot him to fame and legendary status over the years. He drew from Status Quo’s vast library of albums, accompanied by the talented Andy Brook, providing superb guitar and backing vocals throughout. Once inside the venue, expectant eyes were met with two plush red velvet high-backed chairs and a backdrop of scores of Status Quo album covers that spoke volumes about the popularity of the UK rock band. It is dizzying to think they have produced 33 studio albums, 14 live albums and have had more than 100 singles since launching their career in the 1960s.

Theatre-goers heard acoustic versions of Status Quo hits and rarities as well as some lively patter from Rossi. But they also listened to the journey and story of a man who became part of one of the most successful bands the UK has ever seen. A band which has released new music in every decade since the ’60s. Their most recent album ‘Backbone’ being released in 2019. Longevity is extremely rare in today’s music industry and the swathes of loyal Status Quo fans proved that there is something enduring about their sound and lyrics that connects.

Rossi, looking like a British country gent in a white shirt and waistcoat, soon established a rapport with the audience, sharing how he has honed his craft over the years and telling the tales behind the tunes.

Sitting in his high-backed chair, Rossi would play for a while, strumming what appeared to be a Fender Acoustasonic guitar, before pausing to share a narrative about what he had just performed.

He would sporadically take sips from a water bottle placed on a small table, lit by a green reading lamp, which amplified the intimacy of the gig. In the quieter parts of the show, he could whisper and still be heard as people leaned in to know more. Brook joined him on the chair opposite, complimenting Rossi with effortless guitar licks and vocal harmonies.

Classics such as ‘What You’re Proposing’ from the 1980 album ‘Just Supposin’; ‘Marguerita Time’ from the 1983 album ‘Back to Back’ and ‘Rocking All Over The World’ from the 1977 album of the same title chimed with a willing crowd, visibly foot-tapping and gleeful.

The tide of songs was interspersed with Rossi’s anecdotes, such as how he had come to be inspired to write ‘What You’re Proposing’ after dining with a woman friend and being surprised at the end of the night by an unexpected overture.

And it’s better now’ from the 1973 album ‘Hello’ was penned after Rossi encountered a story about a child who had been at boarding school and eventually settled into the rhythm of it. He explained that he would hear a story or experience something and strum his guitar for chords which led to melodies and lyrics.    

Rossi was humble about his fame throughout and about his song writing process, joking about their simplicity and the classic 1, 4, 5 chord progression that his work draws from.

A man clearly comfortable in his own skin, Rossi was amusing and interesting, joking about the Righteous Brothers song ‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling’ and the lyric ‘you never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your lips’. ‘How does he know?’ asked Rossi in a playful London accent, causing the audience to burst into spontaneous laughter.  It created an instant affection for Rossi as did his reference to the passing of time and age which was a thread throughout the show.

Rossi played Live Aid at Wembley in July 1985; Glastonbury; and other huge venues across the world but he sees no difference between big or small gigs, enjoying the intimacy of the smaller places and connection with the crowd.

The climax of the show was Caroline – the tune, he said, was inspired by colourful glam rock icon Marc Bolan. Rossi was orchestrating the audience, standing up with his toes on the very edge of the stage, waving his arms, showing-off his sublime stagecraft as the crowd clapped to the beat. The end of the concert led to a standing ovation and calls for more as he exited. Only a video screen appeared and then the cheeky, smiling image of Rossi alighting a tour bus home and the words ‘hope to see you in 2025’.

With a plucky personality and ability to engage an audience, effortlessly, Rossi, has reached a stage in his career where – to paraphrase a Status Quo hit – he can do whatever he wants.


 

About Author

 
Categories
Live GigNewsPhotos
HEILUNG’S LIVE SPECTACLE AT THE RIVERSIDE THEATER IN MILWAUKEE, WI ON SAT, APRIL 20TH, 2024: AN IMMERSIVE JOURNEY OF SOUND, STORY, AND SPIRIT
HEILUNG’S LIVE SPECTACLE AT THE RIVERSIDE THEATER IN MILWAUKEE, WI ON SAT, APRIL 20TH, 2024: AN IMMERSIVE JOURNEY OF SOUND, STORY, AND SPIRIT

HEILUNG’S LIVE SPECTACLE AT THE RIVERSIDE THEATER IN MILWAUKEE, WI ON SAT, APRIL 20TH, 2024: AN IMMERSIVE JOURNEY OF SOUND, STORY, AND SPIRIT

Photo Credit: Chris Rugowski

Evergrey - Falling From The Sun

Andy Wood on New Instrumental Guitar Album, Charisma – Creating This Album Was Very Therapeutic For Me!

Karl Wilcox, Drummer With Diamond Head And Tank, Talks Nwobhm, And The Cats Of New York

Upcoming EP ‘Warpath’ by Uncured Promises Intense, New Metal Experience

Larkin Poe Release Jubilant New Single “Bluephoria”

RELATED BY

G-TQ58R0YWZE