CD Review: Status Quo - The Frantic Four Reunion 2013

Status Quo's classic lineup reforms for a strong live album.
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While Status Quo continues on successfully in the UK to this day, for decades, fans have been clamoring for -- while not holding their breath -- a reunion of the band's classic "Frantic Four" lineup. Their wishes were granted when Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan played a series of surprise UK gigs in March 2013. The band recorded their shows at the Hammersmith Apollo in London and those comprise the live CD, Status Quo -- The Frantic Four Reunion 2013.

The show opens with the hard-charging blues of "Junior's Wailing." Lancaster gives a strong vocal while Rossi shows off his chops with some fine lead guitar work. Lancaster stays on lead vocals as the band keeps up the pace with a driving "Backwater," a track that wouldn't feel out of place in the early AC/DC catalog musically. Rossi offers a fine, melodic solo on this potent live number.

The crowd nearly drowns the band out, singing along to the ballad "Most Of The Time." Rossi offers a heartfelt vocal in this poignant moment, one of many during the show. The crowd, sensing the significance of the event, was very enthusiastic throughout, singing along to every song and even mimicking the band's spoken word intro. The band gives fans a healthy dose of up-tempo blues on "Railroad," shifting gears midway to a slow burn with killer harmonica runs from Bob Young.

Parfitt handles vocals on the driving hard rock of "Forty-Five Hundred Times" and a heavy "Rain." The crowd is enthusiastic during the former, singing along during its ringing guitar intro and the band locks into a tight groove on the latter. The set closes with, appropriately enough, a raucous cover of Chuck Berry's "Bye Bye Johnny."

The set list for this go around recreated much of the band's classic 1977 live album. This was the classic lineup doing their classic songs. While there are some bum notes and missed vocals here and there, the performance is raw and gives one the feeling of actually being there. Not many live albums can say that.