The roots of Status Quo reach back to 1962 when Francis Rossi and Alan Lancaster formed The Spectres while in school together. By 1967 they had assembled The Status Quo. They would eventually shorten that to just Status Quo and the group would embark on a four decade plus career.
They are a band that has flown under the radar in the United States. They have released more than a dozen albums in the USA but have only met with very moderate commercial success. They remain best remembered for their 1968 hit, “Pictures Of Matchstick Men.”
In their native country, though, they are now an iconic and legendary band. No rock group has placed more songs on the English singles charts, which has now passed the sixty mark, including four number ones and three number twos. Their albums have sold well over 100 million copies worldwide.
2009 found Status Quo returning to the legendary Montreux Jazz Festival for only the second time. They are by no means a jazz band. Early in their career they flirted with a psychedelic sound but by the early seventies had become a pure hard rock band and there they have remained.
Status Quo: Pictures Live At Montreux presents them is all their head-ringing glory. If you have not been exposed to their music in the past, this is a good place to start. The 22-song set is career spanning as it traces their sound from their earliest hits to their most recent releases while adding in a few surprises along the way.
The opening tracks set the tone for what will follow. “Caroline," with its two-guitar attack—supported by a boogie-sounding keyboard with drums and bass providing the foundation—is hard rock at its best. They even manage to transform Dion’s “The Wanderer” into a hard rock anthem. “Picture’s Of Matchstick Men,” “Ice In The Sun,” “Creapin’ Up On You,” “Rockin’ All Over The World,” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Music/Bye Bye Johnny” are all brought to life with thunderous performances.
This DVD finally enabled me to put faces to the group. After 42 years in the studio and on the road they are consummate professionals and excellent musicians. The sound is superb and the video captures their stage energy well.
Status Quo: Pictures Live At Montreux presents a legendary band at their best and will hopefully gain them some acclaim in the United States. It would be well deserved.