DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Francis Rossi - 'Live At St. Luke's London' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     May 11, 2011    
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I love it!

As anybody who paid any attention to my interview with Francis and review of his 'One Step At A Time' record in Issue 40 will have seen, I really liked the Status Quo frontman's second attempt at a solo album. Sure it's poppier than Quo, but that's what solo albums are for, right? To do something different from what you would normally do in your parent band. Some Quo fans kick off when Francis brings that breezier side of his writing to the table, so to have a solo album as an outlet rather than let down the hardcore rockers seems sensible to me. In my last interview with Francis he said he was committed to doing some solo shows as part of the promotion, and was one part terrified and one part exuberant about it.

I missed the first six shows he played, but was invited to a gig in London at St Lukes, which I learned was to be filmed for this DVD release. I had a blast that evening - I really enjoyed the show. Francis is backed by an eight piece band made up of session bass player Gary Twigg (who Francis knew from working on Graham Bonnet's 'Night Games' album), drummer Leon Cave, three female backing singers and the skilled Paul Hirsh on keyboards and harmonica. As well as Francis on guitar the band features his son Nicholas and Quo bass player Rhino's son Freddie flanking him left and right. The set up obviously suggests something different to Quo, but it's not a million miles away.

As someone who was there on the night I can assure you this DVD has not been fixed or overdubbed. Everything is exactly as I remember, including Francis' humourous between song ramblings. He opens the show with... 'Caroline'. Well what else! It's in the version that appears on his solo record though, as oppose to the Quo sound. The rest of the set spans the bulk of the 'One Step At A Time' album ("apart from the ones we can't do, obviously" Francis says) and then filled out with Quo material. What I really liked is the fact Francis has gone for some of the more obscure Quo songs, and it provides a great chance to hear some classy Quo tracks live that would never get an airing in between their dozens of must play hits.

'You'll Come Round' is worthy of special mention because it's a fabulous song that only ever appeared as a single or on the 'XS All Areas' compilation. It sounds great live and will keep the rockers happy. There's two songs from the underrated 'Under The Influence' album in the form of 'Blessed Are The Meek' and 'Twenty Wild Horses' which Francis delivers marvellously. More recent output is included from Quo's last album 'In Search Of The Fourth Chord' with 'Tongue Tied', 'Electric Arena' and 'My Little Heartbreaker'.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Francis dusts off 'Old Time Rock 'N' Roll' as it's a personal favourite of his, and I thought it was one of the songs of the night. Other nods should also go to a great version of his 'Sleeping On The Job' album opener from 'One Step...', which rocks very nicely. 'Marguerita Time' is also present which may put some people off, but it does in fact nestle very nicely in this set. It's also great to see 'Digging Burt Bacharach' from 'Heavy Traffic', one of my all time favourite Quo albums. All the solo stuff sounds excellent (nothing from his 'King Of the Doghouse' album but I didn't miss any of it) and the only obvious Quo track included is the encore of 'Don't Waste My Time'. If you like Francis' solo album, it's a must have. If you like his poppier stuff for Quo, it's a must have. If you're a hardcore Quo fan who loves 'Forty Five Hundred Times', hasn't liked anything since Alan Lancaster left and wished 'Marguerita Time' would burn forever in a fiery hell, then I'd steer clear.

Personally I love it, and it's also available as a single CD, albeit with some songs missing to fit it all on. The DVD also adds a highly amusing interview with Francis and a solo promo video which, while not groundbreaking, is pleasant viewing.

James Gaden

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