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Status Quo in Dundee: When Rick Parfitt’s return was just what the doctor ordered

The legendary Rick Parfitt was back to his best when he performed in Dundee with Status Quo in 2001.

Status Quo legend Rick Parfitt jumped off the treatment table to make a triumphant return from injury in Dundee 20 years ago.

The band were already a fortnight into the 39-date Never Say Never UK tour when the veteran rocker’s elbow became inflamed during a rehearsal.

Doctors blamed the repetitive physical demands of strumming the band’s hits for the injury and Parfitt was told to rest up until things improved.

Status Quo were forced to reschedule three concerts on doctor’s orders.

“I’d just like to apologise to all our fans who have been disappointed,” said Parfitt.

“I feel absolutely terrible in letting them down at such short notice.

“But I couldn’t move either my elbow or lower arm and it would have been impossible for me to play one chord, let alone three.”

Live Aid

Here was a man whose thunderous guitar playing alongside Francis Rossi helped steer Status Quo into their position as one of the British rock scene’s staple acts.

Hits such as Rockin’ All Over The World became immortalised when they opened the historic Live Aid concert in 1985 – a performance broadcast globally.

Parfitt returned to play Manchester on November 17 2001 and Brentwood the following evening before taking a few days off to continue his recovery.

Status Quo arrived at the Caird Hall in Dundee to perform for 2,000 fans and they were being followed by a documentary crew from Channel 4.

The gig proved to be just what the doctor ordered.

Parfitt and Rossi on stage at the Dundee gig on November 20 2001.
Parfitt and Rossi on stage at the Caird Hall gig on November 20 2001.

Parfitt touchingly paid tribute to lead singer Francis Rossi before taking to the stage and revealed that he truly loved his colleague and best friend of 35 years.

Rossi returned the compliment calling Parfitt “his partner”.

The denim-clad legions erupted when the Caird Hall lights finally went down and Parfitt launched into the familiar chords of opening song Caroline.

The largely middle-aged fans headbanged and rocked like teenagers.

Parfitt shrugged off his injury and gave his white guitar a pounding as the band delivered classic hits by the shed-load during the two-hour gig.

‘”It’s okay, he’s got another elbow,” said Rossi.

Parfitt’s powerhouse rhythm guitar work was flawless during the concert and the cheeky banter between tracks had the fans roaring their approval.

Set highlights included The Wanderer, Paper Plane, Whatever You Want and, of course, Rockin’ All Over The World, which left the crowd begging for more.

In The Army followed for an encore before a rock medley including Chuck Berry’s No Particular Place to Go and Jerry Lee Lewis’s Great Balls of Fire.

Quo continue to rock

The Courier review said: “Status Quo returned to Dundee last night and proved that, despite the ‘unfashionable’ quips, the band still give people exactly what they want.

“The Quo boys are in town as part of their Never Say Never Tour, which despite all their years in the business is one of the largest UK tours they have undertaken.

Francis Rossi on song during his appearance at the Caird Hall.

“The 39-date national tour has not been without its problems – the band were forced to cancel three dates after Rick Parfitt’s elbow became inflamed – but the Quo legend showed no signs of his ailment.

“Over 2,000 fans packed into the Caird Hall for the Dundee date.

“Young and old, the crowd surged to the front from the moment the band threatened to take to the stage, clapping solidly until they arrived and filling every pause with chants of ‘Quo’.

“Opening with 1973 hit Caroline, Rossi, Parfitt and their band-mates ensured that the packed crowd were given an energetic and rousing start, and never again took to their seats.

“Channel Four have also commissioned a ‘cutting edge’ film of Status Quo on tour and the Dundee Caird Hall gig was one of only 10 venues chosen for filming to take place – they couldn’t have picked a better night.

“As far as the fans are concerned, the Quo continue to rock.”

Heart attacks

Parfitt was dogged by ill health after having a quadruple heart bypass in 1997.

He suffered a heart attack in December 2011 and underwent surgery the following day.

In August 2014, Parfitt was on a tour bus following a performance in Austria when he suffered another heart attack.

The partnership between Parfitt and Rossi was one of the greatest in rock history.

Before Parfitt’s death, aged 68, in the summer of 2016, the toll taken by his heart attacks was such that he was told he could no longer do live shows.

He gave his blessing to guitarist Richie Malone stepping in as his replacement and the rocking that’s been going on since breakthrough hit Pictures Of Matchstick Men in 1968 continues.

The band will return to Scotland in 2022.

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