SUZI QUATRO – BRIGHTON DOME 13.11.23
There was a certain nip to the air tonight, reminding us that winter and perhaps Christmas were just around the corner (even though winter has arrived a bit late this year. Let’s hope Santa doesn’t follow by example). These cold temperatures remind me of being a kid (circa early/mid 1970’s), gathering around the TV at Christmas with the family, eager to watch the latest hits being played out before our eyes (and ears) on ‘Top Of The Pops’ by our flamboyant Glam Rock heroes at the time. As if by magic, one of those particular Glam Rock heroes was booked to perform at Brighton Dome on this very evening and her name is of course, Suzi Quatro. It was time to put my braces on and dust off my platform boots, to ready myself for some good old traditional foot stomping, Christmas tree decoration earring swinging Glam Rock action.
I first saw Suzi Quatro a few years ago when she attended an entertaining and informative Q&A event at The Duke Of York’s cinema. She was there to promote her most excellent and highly acclaimed documentary film, ‘Suzi Q’ (Review HERE). Tonight was to be the first night of Suzi’s UK tour and we were informed that this evening will include no support act… Just two sets of wall to wall Suzi Quatro hits to bedazzle us by (with an intermission in the middle). On August 11th of this year, Suzi released an album called ‘Face To Face’ which is a musical collaboration between herself and KT Tunstall. Judging by the pair’s recent appearances on daytime TV shows to promote the album, they seemed to have had a hell of a lot of fun creating and recording it (It’s even being released by legendary Rock n Roll label, Sun Records). They wrote the album together and Suzi’s son (L.R Tuckey) produced it (The lead off single called ‘Shine A Light’ came out earlier in the year).
Suzi Quatro has had quite the career over the years and unleashed her first self titled album to the public in 1973. Since then, she’s released fifteen studio albums, ten compilations and one Live LP and has sold over 50 million records. Suzi Quatro moved to the UK in 1971 (she’s originally from the U.S) and was soon spotted by talent scout Mickie Most. She had the pleasure of working with the legendary songwriting team of Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn, who had their mark stamped over many Glam Rock hits of the time. In 1972, Suzi toured with Slade and Thin Lizzy and she also toured the States with Alice Cooper (but that’s just the tip of the iceberg). She stood out as a hard rocking female musician in a very male dominated music business at the time, but I don’t think that particularly fazed her as she more than held her own amongst her peers. One thing’s for sure, she wasn’t about to let herself be packaged as the new ‘Lulu’. Since then, as well as being a popular musician, she is also a popular DJ on Radio 2 and has written many books (autobiographical and fiction). She has even been a regular character in the classic U.S sitcom ‘Happy Days’, which means she has even met The Fonz.
We turned up early to the venue to see a big crowd queuing round the street for tonight’s festivities. Tonight was another early start so we wanted to make sure we didn’t miss anything. As soon as the doors opened, we hot footed it to our seats along with everyone else who had their eyes on the clock. We shimmied past the merchandise stall just beforehand to notice that most of the Suzi Q T-shirts had sold out already (The crowd were evidently hungry for some Quatro action). We had very good seats too so no need for binoculars tonight. The venue was packed out at this point and before we could adjust the zips on our jumpsuits, the lights dimmed to the immortal words of “Please welcome the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll….Here’s Suzi Q!!”…..
Her big band came onstage complete with backing singers and horn section, soon followed by Suzi Quatro herself to big cheers and hollers from the audience (in fact the person behind us was whooping and hollering for the gig’s duration). Suzi Quatro has been more about denim and leather than glittery outfits and today she was true to form, dressed in double denim and sparkly trousers, and armed with her trusty bass guitar. The band launched into ‘The Wild One’ and before you knew it, we were treated to one of Suzi’s biggest hits by the name of ‘Daytona Demon’. It was soon evident that the band were tighter than a pair of spandex trousers and the horn section really beefed up the sound to good effect. Suzi was crouched over her bass, watching the drummer’s next move like all good bassists do. She even mentioned that the two most important players in a band are the bassist and drummer and I’m not about to disagree.
Suzi talked about her recent collaboration with KT Tunstall, and then broke into ‘Shine A Light’ from their new album which seemed to go down well with the audience. Shortly afterwards, the band played ‘48 Crash’ which is another Quatro classic. This was another seated event, but at this point my thumbs were firmly in my belt loops ready to perform my Glam Rock shimmy from seated position. Suzi told us that ‘48 Crash’ is in fact about male menopause and it’s a tune that I’ve still got running through my head to this day. The band also performed a song she wrote with her son called ‘No Soul/No Control’, which actually sounded quite Heavy Metal to these ears. We were fastly approaching the end of the first set, but not before the band played a great rendition of Neil Young’s ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’ followed by ‘Can I Be Your Girl?’ which was performed by Suzi alone on the piano. Suzi left the stage to huge applause and informed us that she was going to get changed into something more ‘recognisable’. What could she mean?…..
A short intermission was next but it wasn’t long before our second set of the evening. Suzi took to the stage once again, but this time in her trademark black leather jumpsuit to more whoops and hollering’s from the audience. The first song was a rocking one called ‘Motor City Riders’ which Suzi dedicated to her home city (Detroit, USA). I must also mention that the horn section were on top form tonight which was all bolstered by some great and enthusiastic backing singers. ‘Bad Moon Rising’ was next, which is a song that everyone knows and after this song, Suzi put her bass guitar down, walked to the front of the stage and gave us a talk on her career so far (pretty much covered in my review intro). Revelations included the fact that Suzi is still in contact with The Fonz!
After plugging her bass back in, she then introduced a song called ‘Overload’ which was the first song that she wrote with KT Tunstall. ‘Glycerine Queen’ was up next followed by a storming bass solo from Ms. Quatro which almost tore the roof off the venue. But now it was time for the song we had all been waiting for…..The one and only ‘Can The Can’. As the drum intro kicked into action, we were prompted to stand up, clap our hands above our heads and stomp our feet (below our heads). The crowd were totally up for it at this point and my thumbs were firmly stuck in my belt loops. A guy at the front was having a great time and was performing the hands on hips dance with full gusto. This was the most rabble rousing part of the night and before we could tighten up our platform boot laces,
Suzi and her band hit us with the classic ‘Devil Gate Drive’. Much clapping and singing ensued before Suzi walked off the stage in a puff of smoke, leaving us to wipe our nostalgic tears from our eyes. The night wasn’t quite over though, as Suzi returned to the stage to sing us a ballad by the name of ‘Desperado’ with only a pianist for company. It was an intimate end to an entertaining evening and Suzi and her band took no prisoners tonight. Suzi told us that she was born in 1950 which I find hard to believe judging by her energetic performance tonight. She is a true band leader and versatile musician and I’m sure we will be seeing much more of her in the future. This evening had been a top night of maximum Glam Rock-ness (long live Suzi Q!) but all good things must unfortunately come to an end. It may not quite be Christmas yet (just ask Noddy…) but tonight was close enough. It was now time for me to head home, take my platform boots off, dust away the glitter and get my wife to remove my thumbs from my belt holes…..
Suzi Quatro setlist:
‘The Wild One’
‘I May Be Too Young’
‘Tear Me Apart’
‘Shine A Light’
‘No Soul / No Control’
‘The Devil In Me’
‘Rockin’ In The Free World’ (Neil Young cover)
‘Can I Be Your Girl?’
‘Motor City Riders’
‘I Sold My Soul Today’
‘Bad Moon Rising’ (Creedence Clearwater Revival cover)
‘She’s In Love With You’
‘Glycerine Queen / Bass Solo’
‘Can The Can’
‘Devil Gate Drive’
‘If You Can’t Give Me Love’
‘Sweet Little Rock & Roller’ (Chuck Berry cover)