John Coghlan’s Quo – Cyprus tour 2016
by Steven Roberts…….
I love living in Cyprus, but one thing that is a bit lacking is opportunities to watch live music.
There are plenty of wannabe cabaret singers with backing tapes playing to diners in restaurants, a lot of ‘covers’ bands who are a bit better, and of course many Turkish and Greek singers I’ve never heard of visit the island from time to time. But opportunities to see live rock music happen quite rarely. So when my wife and I saw ‘John Coghlan’s Quo’ were playing four dates in Cyprus, we thought this was worth the price of a ticket and the cost of petrol for an hour’s drive down across the green line to Paralimni last Monday.
Let me explain: ‘John Coghlan’s Quo’ are NOT a tribute band. John was an original member of Status Quo from their early days when they were called The Spectres and (briefly) Traffic Jam in the 1960s, He played on their first hit “Pictures of Matchstick Men” in 1968, and stayed with the band for nearly 20 years. He joined the better known Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt in the re-union tours of the original line up in 2013 and 2014. So this band is effectively 25% of the original Quo, with different guitarists.
This was the fourth gig of the band’s tour of open air amphitheatres on the island, and the date was a bit special as it was John’s 70th birthday, so the audience sang “Happy Birthday” to him as a cake was presented.
But what about the music I hear you say…..
John Coghlan’s Quo played two sets with a short break in the middle. The first set was mainly music from Quo albums released in the early 70’s and the second set was basically a ‘greatest hits’ compilation. Obviously many of the audience were less familiar with the tracks in the first set, but I was clearly not the only one reliving a misspent youth listening to albums (complete with great covers and gatefold sleeves) like ‘Ma Kelly’s Greasy Spoon’ and ‘Dog of Two Head’ when perhaps we should have been concentrating more on studying for our GCE’s!
It was great to hear tracks like “In My Chair, Down the Dustpipe, Spinning Wheel Blues and Gerdandula” played live again, and it has encouraged me to dig out these albums and play them again.
The second half of the set started with “Caroline” (what else?), and included all the hits we all know so well, like “Break the Rules, Paper Plane, Wild Side of Life, Hold You Back, Again and Again, Whatever You Want, Rain” and many more. They then closed the set with “Rocking All Over the World” then came back for an encore of “Down Down.” John’s drumming was spot on throughout, the three guitarists were on a par with their more famous counterparts, and the vocals sounded very close to the original recordings.
Paralimni amphitheatre was not full, but the audience clearly enjoyed themselves. The majority were Cyprus residents, with a few holiday makers and forces personnel making up the numbers. A small number of the dedicated ‘air guitarists’ at the front had travelled from the UK and Germany especially for this mini-tour, and had been to every show.
This was the first time the band had played in Cyprus, though for rhythm guitarist Mick Hughes it was a return to an island he spent time on as a child. His father was stationed at Akrotiri in the early 1970s. And in a nice touch the band were due to play a short set at his old school in Episkopi the day after the Paralimni gig.
It was good to see so many people going home happy, and the whole gig was well organised by the promoters – Kendall and Morelli who have said they will be bringing more events to Cyprus in 2017.