Status Quo

UEA LCR, Norwich

> UEA LCR, Norwich

As Status Quo struck the opening chords to their classic song Caroline last night, it took me back a full 25 years to the day I first saw them perform live.

It was May 1979, the day Arsenal beat Manchester United 3-2 in a thrilling FA Cup final in which three goals were scored at the end. I missed all three because I had to catch a train to the NEC in Birmingham to see Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt and the lads. But I didn't regret it for one minute. From the dry ice and opening chords of Caroline to the last bars of Bye Bye Johnny, I was mesmerised and have been ever since.

And so it was last night as the veteran rockers hit the stage at a packed Students' Union with an enthusiasm undimmed by 40 years on the road.

The 40-date XS All Areas tour is yet another anniversary one for Quo.

Launching into Break The Rules, it was classic rock 'n' roll from the start, and the audience of students and mature Quo fans sang every word.

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Three chords are all you need when they are delivered with such passion and commitment by front pair Rick and Francis, who first met at Butlins in 1965 as teenagers and have never looked back.

Talkative Rossi had the crowd eating out of his hands, as always, as they sped through Forty-Five Hundred Times, Rain and Hold You Back.

Big Fat Mama and Down Down followed in quick succession.

Quo were back in Norwich for the first time since August 1997 when they played to 15,000 fans at Carrow Road. That was Rick's first concert after heart surgery but, as last night, there was no slowing the pair of 50-somethings down.

Old and young alike played along on air guitar or bounced along with the classic 12-bar blues, including old favourites Whatever You Want and Roll Over Lay Down mixed with more recent songs Never Say Never and All Stand Up. Also their new single out last week, Thinking Of You, which entered the UK Top 40 last night at 21.

They finished, of course, with Rocking All Over The World and an encore of Paper Plane and, as always, with Bye Bye Johnny.

Here's to the next time.