Eagle Rock Entertainment // 2009 // 243 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Gordon Sullivan // January 9th, 2010
"It was a hot and memorable night for band and fans alike that is brilliantly captured here."
On the eve that this Montreux set was recorded, Status Quo had been making music together for forty years. That's a staggeringly long time to survive in rock 'n' roll. It's especially impressive given that the band had only one hit in America, in the late '60s. However, a string of British hits sustained them as they transitioned out of an early, psychedelic-influenced sound into a tight, boogie-woogie band as the '70s rolled on. They've continued their brand of guitar riffage since then. Their longevity shows in Status Quo: Pictures Live at Montreux (Blu-ray) in both their hard-won tightness as a band, and the depth of their set list (perhaps the longest I've seen for a Montreux performance):
3) "The Wanderer"
5) "Don't Drive My Car"
6) "Mean Girl" / "Softer Ride"
7) "Beginning of the End"
8) "Is There a Better Way"
9) "Proposing Medley: What You're Proposing"/"Down the Dustpipe"/"Littly Lady"/"Red Sky"/"Dear John"/"Big Fat Mama"
10) "Pictures of Matchstick Men"/"Ice in the Sun"
11) "The Oriental"
12) "Creepin' Up on You"
13) "In My Chair"
14) "Living on an Island"
15) "In the Army Now"
16) "The Killer" (drum solo)
17) "Roll Over Lay Down"
18) "Down Down"
19) "Whatever You Want"
20) "Rockin' All Over the World"
21) "Junior's Wailing"
22) "Rock 'n' Roll Music" / "Bye Bye Johnny"
To be perfectly honest, Status Quo doesn't make the kind of music that gets my blood pumping. Most of it is a fairly generic boogie-rock that I always expect to issue from an anonymous jukebox in the background of a TV commercial. But that's just me. It's obvious Status Quo have survived this long because they have something that their fans want. If nothing else, this is good-time, no-frills rock, and the band is completely committed to entertaining their fans. They run through their catalogue with superb musicianship and really seem to enjoy what they're doing. I have very little doubt that Status Quo fans will appreciate this Montreux set.
By itself, this live set would be enough to justify the disc, but Eagle Rock didn't stop there. No, they include "Pictures: The Story of 40 Years of Hits," a 90-plus minute documentary on the band on this disc as well. I can't profess myself a huge fan of the band, but I am intrigued by their story, which intersects with a number of interesting musical trends in the late '60s and early '70s. The documentary mixes interviews with the band, archival footage of early appearance, music videos, photos, and more recent live footage to paint a portrait of a band that has remained surprisingly consistent across its four decades of existence. Every one of the band members seems like the kind of guy you'd want to have a pint with, and they seem simultaneously proud and humbled by what they've accomplished.
Like other Live at Montreux discs, Status Quo looks and sounds fantastic. The video transfer is razor sharp, with individual beads of sweat standing out on the performers' faces, while the LPCM, Dolby Digital, and DTS-HD tracks all capture the music clearly and cleanly. Extras lead off with a 20-minute series of interviews with the band before their Montreux performance. There's also an interesting set of edits to the concert footage. Each of the leads (Ross and Parfetti) get two songs a piece where the footage has been edited to focus solely on them. For fans of the gentlemen's technique (or faces, I imagine), this is an interesting peek into their performance. The disc rounds out with some footage from an auction of Status Quo-inspired painting for charity.
Status Quo is an institution in their native Britain, and I can easily recommend this disc to fans for the live set and the fantastic documentary on the band's history. Fans of British rock and the history and development of pop music over the last several decades will probably get something out of the documentary even if the live set leaves you cold. Finally, anyone looking for a set of good-time party music could do worse than spin this disc in the background as the band's boogie rhythms and musical commitment help this set shine.
Status Quo are not guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080i)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* PCM 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 243 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Video