Status Quo – Live Review – Scarborough Open Air Theatre

Status Quo Live Review Scarborough Open Air Theatre (2)

By Victoria Holdsworth, June 2024

On a scorching hot Sunday in Scarborough, the Open Air Theatre kicks off its first gig of the season with rock legends Status Quo taking to the stage and doing what they do best… rock!

Mike Peters of The Alarm produces a stellar opening set for the sold-out crowd, despite currently undergoing chemotherapy.

As the band walks out to the deafening, stadium echoes of “Quo!” on Francis Rossi‘s 74th birthday weekend, the frontman looks as fit as a lop, certainly compared to a proprtion of his crowd, who seem to range in age from 5 to 105 years old.

It’s still a little hard to watch Quo live without the late Rick Parfitt, but the gigs are a celebration of the work. They start with firm favourite, ‘Caroline’, instantly recognisable, instantly infectious and sounding just as good as it always did.

‘Rain’ and ‘Little Lady’, now regular staples of a Quo set, are executed perfectly, with Richie Malone taking over Rick’s guitar duties and vocals at times. He does add a different dimension to the band, but the unmistakable Quo sound of old has gone, replaced with a slightly more modern version.

Status Quo Live Review Scarborough Open Air Theatre (3)

“Picks up the tempo”

There is some comedic relief with Francis forgetting that the signer for the gig is copying his every word, and he shares a few laughs with the young man performing his own concert tonight for the crowd.

‘Softer Ride’, released back in 1973 as the B-side to ‘Paper Plane’, is a great addition to the mix, before the band bring things more up to date with ‘Beginning Of The End’, from the 2007 album In Search of the Fourth Chord. This song is catchy as hell and picks up the tempo for the rest of the night, getting the Quo army a little more animated.

A personal favourite of mine, ‘Hold You Back’, has stood the test of time and gives Francis a chance to show just how good an axe man he is, performing some gorgeous bluesy licks before embarking on some sweet little mini solos, showcasing talents most people seem to have forgotten he possesses.

Francis announces to the crowd that they had crafted a medley of some of their best songs to play, which he hopes everyone would enjoy. Let’s face it, with a 60-year career you would need to play non-stop for months on end to get all the bangers in, but they did light up the stage with a mix of ‘What You’re Proposing / Down The Dustpipe / Something ‘Bout You Baby I Like / Wild Side Of Life / Rollin’ Home / Railroad / Again And Again / Mystery Song’.

Status Quo Live Review Scarborough Open Air Theatre (1)

“Powerful high”

The entire set could have been all of those above songs, and I would have been a very happy bunny.

‘Oriental’ and’ In The Army Now’ follow – neither personal favourites – but they give me a chance to grab a beer and stretch my legs.

The on-stage energy never stops, as we are served up 12 bars of infused classic rock, expertly delivering ‘Roll Over Lay Down’. It is great to see Andy Bown step from behind his keyboards and strap on his guitar to complete a front-stage line-up. They take turns mixing up the classic tune, barraging into an extended solo from Rossi as he teases his way into the 1974 hit single ‘Down Down’. The crowd erupt as the band rejoin Rossi on stage, determined to finish their home stretch on a powerful high.

Finishing with ‘Whatever You Want’ and ‘Rockin’ All Over The World’, the entire place explodes before an encore of ‘Burning Bridges’, which sees a sea of denim ripple around the arena.

Tonight, Status Quo put on a fine and accomplished set, the band showing no signs of slowing down. Their music is a testament to their immutable stance and style, and long may they reign.

images: Cuffe & Taylor


Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.