Review: Status Quo, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, June 2

Words and photos by Dave Lawrence

THE new season of concerts at Scarborough's Open Air Theatre opened in style on Sunday evening with a performance by Status Quo.

A queue of fans hoping for a good spot near the front of the stage built up before the gates opened that stretched all the way back to the seafront.

With close to 120 million records sold, the Quo are regulars to the North Bay having performed there on three previous occasions.

Yes, the only remaining founding member is singer and lead guitarist Francis Rossi who turned 75 last week, but both Andy Bown and John Edwards have performed with the band since the 80s, and Richie Malone and Leon Cave add a welcome touch of youth.

As their name suggests not much has changed in the band's style over the decades and indeed why should it? Their instantly recognisable 12-bar bluesy rock works for both band and fans alike.

The opening chords of numbers like Caroline or Down Down are guaranteed to get your shaking your head or digging out your air guitar.

It was Caroline that opened the set followed by Rain and Little Lady - with Malone on vocals - before Rossi took time out to say how much the band loved playing the Scarborough venue, calling it one of the best venues in the country.

York Press: Status Quo on stage at Scarborough OAT - photo by Dave LawrenceStatus Quo on stage at Scarborough OAT - photo by Dave Lawrence

One of the nice touches at Scarborough is that the performances are all signed, so before the bluesy number Softer Ride Rossi took the chance to good naturedly tease the BSL interpreter knowing if he swore it would be signed.


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The band’s lengthy mid-set medley of tunes which included What You're Proposing, Down the Dustpipe, Something 'bout You Baby I Like and Mystery Song was cleverly done.

The final third of the set was heavy with hits and tested the stamina of the crowd - In the Army Now, Roll Over Lay Down, Down Down, Whatever You Want and, of course, a cover of John Fogerty’s Rocking All Over The World. Needless to say, the close to sell-out crowd lapped it up, singing along enthusiastically.

Earlier, the charismatic Mike Peters of The Alarm provided a stirring support set. Having been a fan since first seeing the band support U2 on their 1983 War tour I’ve yet to see them disappoint.

Sadly, Peters recently discovered he is once again finding himself in a health battle with leukaemia, and only days earlier had undergone chemotherapy.

He was well wrapped up against the cool evening air but performed songs like Rain In the Summertime, Howling Wind, Spirit of '76 and Sixty Eight Guns with his customary spirit and positivity.

There is a very full season over the summer at the Open Air Theatre which will also host performances from Jess Glynne, Simple Minds, Anne-Marie, Deacon Blue, Tom Jones, Johnny Marr and The Charlatans, Gregory Porter, Rick Astley, Fatboy Slim, Paul Weller, JLS, Madness, James, Bill Bailey, Korn, Becky Hill and Busted.

For details of dates and for ticket information visit