Defined as ‘the existing state or condition to be preserved’, for 40 years they have been playing more or less the same music with more or less the same chords to more or less the same audience (and children, and children’s children) – but when you’ve got it right, why not?
Status Quo have bought themselves a pet stage, putting them high in the air to be seen. To be heard, jutting cranes held enough speakers to sink a battleship – along with the ubiquitous stage stack of Marshall guitar amplifiers, of course.
The logistics of organising 3,000 people, States and honorary police, St John Ambulance and security staff in distinct blocks with concession stands and toilets must have been of Nasa proportions, but they worked.
The Oddsocks-knowledgeable brought warm and waterproof supplies, but apart from a little drizzle, there was nothing to spoil the evening. With a fair bit of alcohol passing from concession to portaloo via the fans, the atmosphere was extremely friendly – using local security and honorary police meant that many chatted to those keeping an eye on them and lowered the potential for trouble.
The audience was mainly Quo’s mainstream. Balding man with ponytail? Check. Middle-aged woman with oversized sunglasses and the giggles? Check. Event promoter nervously pacing and hoping that it doesn’t rain? Double check.
The other contingent were families – and at £35 a ticket, the youngsters must have been fans rather than hangers-on – which also helped to diffuse tensions from those accidentally trodden on.
Apart from rockin’ hand signals waved from those near the stage, other things in mid-air included neon pink blow-up guitars, small children and a crutch. For most of the night this crutch waved alone (a comment on the performers’ age?), but this changed to two crutches by the end. Either the person concerned was cured by the power of Quo or had companions who didn’t care if he spent the last songs flat on his back while they waved his support systems above him.
With ordinary and VIP tickets, there was a definite gulf between the haves and the have-nots, but barriers kept envy to a minimum. There was love across the divide with friends in ‘the other place’ – though never quite enough to pay for them to come across.
Many VIP seats were redundant once the music started, but there might be future mileage in having a ‘staying seated’ area for those without the option of standing for long. Several walking stick users, one chap with a plastic-covered broken leg and some senior members of Quo’s congregation spent much of the evening watching the rear ends of those in front, but the music was clear at whatever level.
From Sweet Caroline to What You’re Proposing to The Wanderer, yes, they’re the same songs, but they’re still great. Status Quo continue to confound their critics and provide whatever their audience wants (sorry), with extreme loudness and, despite the old jokes, very talented guitar playing.
Whether they’re your thing or not, that Jersey has the opportunity to be a part of both a worldwide tour and 40 years of music is a miracle in itself, and a welcome antidote for the ‘there’s nothing on’ brigade. Dick Ray, and all Jersey promoters, should be congratulated – and supported by the public – if we want to see more of these huge stars in our little Island.
The band drew a great response from the Jersey audience (00740338)
• Words: Julie Park
• Pictures: David Ferguson
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