Status Quo

Live at the NEC

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For a band whose greatest achievements were cut on-stage, Status Quo were never especially generous when it came to live recordings -- a point that Francis Rossi conceded when he admitted he wasn't actually a fan of such things. But 1977's Live remains one of the decade's most crucial in-concert recordings and, though Live at the NEC can barely compete with it in terms of fiery abandon, still it captures the band in full flight, across a track listing that could almost double as a greatest-hits collection. Recorded on May 14, 1982 for Prince Charles' Prince's Trust charity, and released on both CD and VHS, it's an enjoyable blast made all the more exciting by the knowledge that drummer Pete Kircher was still feeling his way into the departed John Coghlan's well-practiced boots. But, from the opening thrill of "Caroline," through speedball takes on "Rocking All Over the World," "Don't Drive My Car" and "Whatever You Want," and onto the stunning finale of "Don't Waste My Time," Live at the NEC is difficult to walk away from, and one only wishes that they'd spread it out across a double album. Because the show deserved it.

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