Pictures Live At Montreux features the English band Status Quo in a tour de force performance at the world famous Montreux Jazz Festival, recorded in 2009. Befitting the event, the production of this is DVD is first class, as the band plays over twenty of their songs, in a show that runs about 100 minutes. Camera coverage of the large stage is good, and image quality is excellent, although at times the pace of the editing is a bit too brisk.
Going by different names prior, the band Status Quo was "officially" christened sometime in 1967. Their sound underwent a makeover in the early 1970's, becoming kind of a blend of blues, boogie, and good old fashioned foot stompin' rock and roll. With a mostly pure guitar sound, much like ACDC, Status Quo accomplishes a lot with a few basic cords, as the band excels in establishing a heavy groove and playing the hell out of it. Forging on through the years, these veteran rockers are now probably in a class by themselves. For over forty years, guitarists Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt, have kept Status Quo viable, through the seas of changing musical tides, as their solid working class rock and roll still retains its appeal.
Rossi and Parfitt, who are both over 60 at the time of this performance, might be pacing themselves a bit, but these guys definitely still rock very hard, and don't seem to have lost any enthusiasm for performing. Rounding out the lineup are versatile Andy Brown on keyboards, guitar, and harmonica, and bass player John "Rhino" Edwards, who have both been in the band for nearly two decades, and relative newcomer Matt Letley on drums.
Status Quo is very solid on stage, playing without flash or pretense. Looking quite dapper, Rossi sticks with his well worn vintage green Fender Telecaster, throughout the entire show. Parfitt changes guitars a few times early, but also favors a vintage tele that looks like it has served him well for decades. It's clear that it is the sound, not appearances that matter to these guys. The guitarists share the vocal chores with Parfitt being more of a boisterous shouter, while Rossi is more laid back.
The setlist spans the band's career, including their first hit the psychedelic "Pictures Of Matchstick Men" performed in medley with bouncy "Ice In The Sun". The bands crunches along like a freight train on their most heavy numbers like "Rain", "Down, Down", "Caroline", "Roll Over Lay Down", "Is There A Better Way", "Mean Girl/Softer Ride", and "Drive My Car". The band also covers "The Wanderer", Chuck Berry's "Bye Bye Johnny" and "Rock `n' Roll Music", and John Fogerty's "Rockin' All Over The World". About midway through, after pounding the audience with the "Proposing Melody", the tempo slows a bit, and the introspective "In The Army Now" is a really interesting change of pace for the band, as is the snakey blues of "In My Chair". Parfitt and the boys sound downright mellow on "Living On An Island", before cranking things back up for a powerful finish.
Capturing a really solid performance from this hard rocking bunch on what is clearly a good night, this DVD is highly recommended to their fans. There is a nice insert with color photos, and some thoughts about about the history of the band. Bonus features includes interview segments with Parfitt and Rossi, who a year later in 2010, would each be awarded the OBE (Order of the British Empire) in their native land, for their contributions to music and also humanitarian causes.