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Francis Rossi, Status Quo's Chatty Man

Francis Rossi: Tunes And Chat at The Corn Exchange on Thursday, April 6. Review by BRIAN HARRINGTON

A SHOW that did exactly what it says on the tin and was hugely entertaining in the process. A stage set with two winged armchairs, a green glass and reading lamp and two Fender acoustic guitars and a bucket greeted the near capacity audience tonight.

Francis Rossi and his guitar technician/accompanist Andy Brook instantly engaged with the crowd, with Rossi chatting as if he was talking one-to-one in his living room.

Francis Rossi, picture James Eckersley
Francis Rossi, picture James Eckersley

Starting at the beginning of it all with Pictures Of Matchstick Men, Rossi’s candour and skill as a raconteur between songs was a joy, giving intimate glimpses in to a lot more than just his songwriting inspirations (a word he finds amusing, commenting with typical humility that is really too grandiose and ‘ideas’ might be more accurate), but packed with anecdotes about the rock lifestyle, from drugs to meeting royalty.

The first set included tracks like In My Chair, very appropriate given the setting, Gerdundula, which Rossi explained was about two people Gerd and (und) Ula who were hippies back in the day, adding that Gerd is now in the business of exporting abbatoirs!

The first set ended with Break The Rules, Down The Dustpipe and Burning Bridges. People were invited to jot down questions for Francis during the interval – revealing the purpose of the onstage bucket.

The second set included What Your Proposing, with a revealing explanation of its meaning, and continued with a Q&A session covering everything from songs and songwriters he admires to joke questions like “are you my dad?”

Musically, Francis included Tongue Tied, the track he had told me recently was the one he was most proud to have written, before finishing with Rockin’ All Over The World, Paper Plane and, of course, Caroline.

From comments by fellow audience members and the numbers of box sets sold on the merch stand, Francis Rossi had gone down a storm.

He still undoubtedly has the voice, the charm and the ability to entertain.

A great night.

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