ufoIt’s time for another dose of Self Made Man – our resident classic rock blogger.

And this week a man with four decades of rocking under his belt turns the focus on the Jekyll and Hyde act that is the Quo.

Don’t forget to check out Self Made Man’s exclusive column right here every week! 

Everyone likes a bit of Status Quo now and then.

The trouble is that there are two Quos. And these days, it’s difficult to tell which was then and which is now.

Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt are the constants in the two incarnations, which have kept the Quo flame burning or, some might say, flickering since first drummer John Coghlan and then, four years later, bassist and vocalist Alan Lancaster left.

But it’s all become rather confusing this year following the reunion of the band who at their height, were known as The Frantic Four.

Their UK tour has been deemed an overwhelming success by most rock fans but there is a caveat to this acclaim.

Because, for the past three decades, Quo have been a rock band essentially in name only. They remain a hugely popular attraction but their audience hasn’t so much evolved as morphed.

And isn’t that the ultimate irony for a band whose critics claim they’ve been playing the same 12-bar blues since the sixties?

Quo’s setlist for their reunion tour was cut from Quo live – their 1976 live album, widely recognised as one of the finest of its kind ever released.

Not only did this mean no In The Army Now and no Marguerita Time, classics such as Down Down, the band’s only No. 1 single and Whatever You Want were notable by their absence too.

For those who’d followed Quo since their rock heyday, such omissions were a price worth paying to hear the band go back to their bluesy roots.

But a significant chunk of the audiences across the country have left Arenas distinctly underwhelmed.

These are the people, I’d imagine, who lapped up Marguerita Time, rejoiced at Quo’s cover the Fun, Fun, Fun by the Beach Boys and didn’t cry “foul” when Rossi and Parfitt linked up with Manchester United to compose one of those infuriating football songs.

About a decade ago, I saw modern-day Quo live at the Newcastle Arena (and I use the term modern-day very loosely at it refers to their existence since the big split three decades ago).

The make-up of the audience was the most wide-ranging I’ve ever seen at a gig – grannies, grandads, mums, dads, fifty-somethings, teenagers and kids.

Quo, being the professional act they are, did their best to please each and every one. rock and pop fans alike. And generally they did a pretty good job about it.

All the hits were aired from Caroline and Rockin’ All Over The World to yes, you’ve guessed it Marguerita Time but this was as far removed from their eponymous live album as a Cliff Richard concert is to Guns N’ Roses.

The sound was good but the volume was definitely not 11. And if the music had its roots in the blues, then it was cleaned up and crystallised. Quo know how to find the lowest common denominator and perhaps that’s why they have survived so long.

Of course, their reunion tour missed out the North East of England as so many rock acts do these days but Parfitt and Rossi will be back at the Arena later this year with their “other band” later this year.

It promises to be another enjoyable night especially with the excellent 10CC coming along as their special guests.

But I won’t be there and I suspect many fans who wallowed in the nostalgia of the recent tour will give this one a skip too.

Status Quo may literally mean the same but in 2013, there are two very different entities doing the rounds. And I know which one I prefer.

Ian Murtagh