WITH JLS launching Summer In The City on Thursday with one for the ladies and the kids, the grown-ups with the nicely-pressed jeans and big smiles got their treat on Friday when STATUS QUO rocked the Northern Meeting Park crowd in Inverness.
It rained the whole time, as my notebook’s inky splodges testify.
But after an intro with the riff from first-ever Quo hit single Pictures Of Matchstick Men and then big opener Caroline, Francis Rossi raised the gung ho spirit in his loyal Quo fans with a cheeky grin: "You look nice, A bit moist, but nice!"
And it was as if the crowd had gone ‘Yeah, OK it’s raining – but it’s Status Quo – in Inverness!’ and just got on with having a good time.
So it was a hoods-up, clap-the-gloom-away occasion and the whole crowd seemed to have come to party.
The sheer pace of Quo’s 20-song plus encores set helped set the celebration mood.
And from Caroline into Something 'Bout You Baby I Like into Rain, it was setting the pace with classic rock and no frills.
Rain brought Rossi on his signature green guitar rocking it out in time with Rick Parfitt at his side and over on the other side of the stage, John "Rhino" Edwards was doing his legs akimbo stance and already bantering with the crowd in front of him.
There was reassuring news for Rossi as he announced: "We had an album called Quid Pro Quo out last year..."
There was a little cheer.
"That’s good," joked Rossi. "That was 20 know about it!"
Rock N Roll N You followed, the only track from the 2011 album, in a set that trawled back through the band’s 40 years, majoring on the 80s period when they opened global charity event Live Aid and had songs out like In The Army Now.
That one – with its re-release last year to raise funds for Help For Heroes – proved to be the biggest song of the night when it came to crowd singalongs.
But before that there was a medley starting with What You’re Proposing, including Little Lady, Red Sky and Dear John and a taste of the boogie shuffle that is a Status Quo favourite.
You probably wouldn’t want to listen too closely to the lyrics of The Oriental – unless you find Prince Philip jokes funny.
But Creepin’ Up On You – written by Rick Parfitt and Quo writing partner Bob Young – followed, with an authentic-sounding take on the blues.
Parfitt showed off his great voice, there was a heartfelt harmonica solo from keys/guitar/ harmonica man Andy Bown and Francis Rossi’s solo gave a great example of the weird effect a melody can have on him.
The notes bounced around in his body like an electric current, whipping his eyebrows up and down and making his leg twitch like a man trying to shake the music off. And failing.
In The Army Now followed – with a fabulous gold and silver-lit drum solo from Matt Letley – as we got into the back straight of four 70s biggies back to back, Roll Over Lay Down, Down Down, Whatever You Want and Rockin’ All Over The World to bring the set to a rowdy climax.
An arm pointing in the air with a totally Rossi ironic fluttering bye-bye closed the set with all of us knowing they’d be back any second.
And having already served up the best of Quo in that main set, these veterans – showing no weariness, Rossi still kicking up his heels and all of them looking as fresh as, OK, slightly-wrinkly daisies – looked back to their roots to dig out their encores.
The bluesy chugg of Steamhammer cover Junior’s Wailing fired on into Chuck Berry’s Rock n Roll Music and Bye Bye Johnny. Francis Rossi substituted some of the "Bye Bye" singalongs with his own "Jock Is Best!" words as a compliment to the still-firing-on-all-cylinders crowd in front of him.
We’d done each other proud.
Quo’s pedigree may not include the most out-there music and they have never pretended otherwise. They know what they think their public – and generations of loyal fans – wants and do their best to honour that.
As a taxi driver said to me later, JLS arrived on Flybe, Status Quo on a Lear jet.
Rockin’ all over the world for all these years has made them rich, yet they can’t help themselves from giving it all when the spotlight hits.
Nor can IAIN McLAUGHLIN AND THE OUTSIDERS and on a good day – as at their recent Belladrum Festival set – they can take a crowd by the throat.
You felt your heart swelling with pride as they took the stage at the Northern Meeting Park in front of a Status Quo crowd.
But it seemed they slightly threw away the opportunity of winning over these classic rock-lovers by starting with the, at first, slow, relentless chug of Rapid Eye Movement.
The almost-military drum sound added drama and all started promisingly enough, but somehow the slow build of the song that works so well in a hot, dark venue didn’t hold the crowd’s attention in the same way on a cold, wet field.
To have started with The Light and wowed everyone with frontman Iain’s voice from the off would have seemed a better approach.
"Here is a pop song for that guy," grinned Iain pointing down at the noisy punter below, launching into the surefire power of Remedy.
Next came a quirky choice from the four-piece, adding in a cover of Suspicious Minds – the one that revived Elvis’s career after his 1968 TV comeback special – but kind of wrong-footed the applause from the crowd by slowing down for an extra coda.
The Light shifted up another gear and finally came the stop-you-in-your-tracks stuff they should have hit this crowd with from the off.
Maybe just too late to win them over totally, came the final, storming, scary monster of a version of Someone For Everyone with Iain working himself up into an impressively emotional torrent of sound – the voice cracked and magnificent.
PICTURED BELOW: Bassist John "Rhino" Edwards.