It was 1974 when Suzi Quatro first visited our shores but, 30 years later, she’s still packing out houses around the country and bringing the crowds to their feet at her rockin live shows.
I caught the first of 2 sell-out shows by the Queen of Rock at Twin Towns Services Club on Friday night. Having been to a few of Suzi’s Australian concerts in the 70’s, when she was riding high on the charts here with ‘Devil Gate Drive’, ’48 Crash’ and ‘Can The Can’, I wondered what to expect from Ms Quatro now. In 1974, the singer’s band consisted of her then guitarist, Len Tuckey, Alistair McKenzie on keyboards and Dave Neal on drums and, of course, Suzi on bass. These days, her backing band includes a brass section. Aside from that, not much has changed. Suzi still gives 110% on stage and she has never lost any of that raw enthusiasm and energy that drives her so hard to always entertain. And we certainly were entertained – for 2 full hours!
Opening with ‘Back To The Drive’, ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’ and ‘I May Be Too Young’, Suzi made it clear to everyone in the room that she really has earned the title of Queen of Rock.
She was joined on vocals by her guitarist for ‘Stumblin’ In’, the song that Suzi recorded with Smokie lead singer, Chris Norman. But it was ’48 Crash’ that sent a wave of excitement through the room as things started to heat up.
Suzi played keyboards on the softer ballad ‘Can I Be Your Girl’ before, once again, strapping on that bass guitar for ‘Your Mama Won’t Like Me’.
But it wasn’t until halfway through the show that the Suzi we all remember finally emerged, strutting back on stage, dressed in that very famous black leather jumpsuit, eliciting a roar of appreciative screams and whistles from the audience as she launched into ‘The Wild One’. This was obviously a message to us all that she was ready to really rock! And the pace continued with ‘Tear Me Apart’ and ‘She’s In Love With You’.
There were loud cheers, especially from the adoring male members of the audience, when Suzi turned her back on the crowd and, pointing to her backside, ripped into ‘Rock Hard’.
I’m sure many fans, myself included, were disappointed that the venue was strictly a seated venue for this show as the majority of the audience was itching to get up and dance to ‘Glycerine Queen’ and ‘Too Big’. By this time, of course, Suzi seemed to have had enough of the ‘bums on seats’ scenario and urged everyone to get up and rock… just as it should be, I say!
With the crowd on its feet and clapping along, Suzi took her place at the drums and there was a loud roar as she played the intro to her first massive hit in this country, ‘Can The Can’. Ending the set with what is, arguably, Australia’s favourite Suzi Quatro hit, ‘Devil Gate Drive’, the singer left them screaming for more
After leaving the stage to thunderous applause, Suzi and the band returned for the encore which included ‘If You Can’t Give Me Love’ and ‘Sweet Little Rock ‘n’ Roller’, before returning again to sing ‘You Keep A Knockin’.
To close the evening, Suzi chose a quieter, more reverent tune which she had written as a tribute to her idol, the late, great Elvis Presley. But, first, she gave us the background of the song, her memories of Elvis and the story of how she had declined an invitation to meet the man himself. Then, Suzi sang her beautiful Elvis tribute, ‘Singing With Angels’. A dedication from the Queen of Rock… to the King of Rock . What a fitting finale!