Quo legend Francis Rossi delights packed Pompey audience with tunes and chat

Francis Rossi: Tunes & Chat, New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth
Francis Rossi (contributed pic)Francis Rossi (contributed pic)
Francis Rossi (contributed pic)

Francis Rossi loves to chat just as much as he loves to play – the perfect combination for a hugely entertaining evening for a packed audience at Portsmouth’s New Theatre Royal.

After more than half a century in the business, Rossi has got a fabulous stock of stories to draw on, just as he has a remarkable back catalogue of songs. And he certainly delivered in Portsmouth, the vast array of different Quo T-shirts from different eras in the audience underlining just what a journey it has been for all of us.

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Rossi is a natural story-teller and naturally funny, as relaxed as he chats to several hundred people as he is when he performs to tens of thousands.

Quo have been so much part of our lives for so very long, those songs so evocative, so quick to ping all sorts of memories. It was lovely to hear them in this intimate setting and to hear Francis chat around them, starting with Pictures of Matchstick Men, ending with Caroline and covering pretty much all points in between.

There are a few songs that it would have been great to hear that he didn’t play (Down Down and Mystery Song, for instance) but that was inevitable given the wealth of choice he had on offer.

On stage, he was superbly backed on guitars and vocals by Andy Brook who was otherwise silent – which was all part of the joke for Rossi who probably wouldn’t have let him get a word in edgeways anyway. Had it not been for the time constraints, Rossi would probably still be sitting there nattering now. You can be pretty sure his audience would have stayed!