Francis Rossi Goes Solo

Starting with a stripped-down slow shuffle version of the 1973 classic Caroline and backed by a five-piece band including his son Nicholas on guitar, the distinctive 12-bar riffing was never far from the surface.

But it came with a slightly softer edge than the usual Quo barrage of power chords – not least in the form of slinky two black-dressed backing singers whose harmonies blended tremendously well with Rossi’s distinctive nasal vocals.

Electric Arena, from 2008’s In Search Of The Fourth Chord album, bore more than a passing resemblance to Gary Moore but allowed Rossi to give his battered green telecaster the sort of fret board workout it must have spent years yearned for.

From his new album Rossi played safer delivering the Quo-line Sleeping OnThe Job, Tallulah’s Waiting, the album’s stand-out song Rolling Down The Road Again, and the ballad title track.

Finishing with a Quo-fest of Twenty Wild Horses and Can’t Give You More the band returned for an encore of the classic Don’t Waste My Time which set the head’s banging and the air guitars swinging.

As Rossi left the stage beaming you couldn’t help think that he had enjoyed the gig more than playing epic shows at the likes of Wembley and Knebworth. I think I agree.

Having been constricted to playing pretty much a never-ending Greatest Hits tour with Status Quo for the last 20 years, what was delightful about Rossi’s solo performance was it providing the opportunity to hear lesser known album tracks or more recent singles interspersed with his solo offerings throughout a near two hour show.

The emotionally raw Tongue Tied – penned by Rossi on a tour bus after an Italian journalist asked him how it felt to have most of his career behind him – showed the alternative side while a thundering You’ll Come Round – lack of radio recognition aside – wouldn’t be out of place on any Heavy Metal anthem compilation you may have hidden in your record collection

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