Suzi Quatro @ QPAC Review

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Suzi Quatro is '70s-rock royalty; an iconic American singer who made her name as a leather-clad Queen with a scream like a panther and an ability to rock a bass guitar like nobody’s business.

Since the age of 13, Suzi’s been wowing audiences. But it’s been a while since her stint on ‘Happy Days’, and the girl in the leather jumpsuit is now a grandmother proudly rocking a mane of grey hair.

When it comes to female performers, aging visibly is often an issue in and of itself, but when classic-rock acts tour, there’s always the risk that age will have caught up, and the songs and voices we love just won’t be able to stand up to the march of time. Not here.

Granted, those perpetual high notes have made way for a lower, bluesier sound that leaves those highs to become accents, but with so compelling a figure on the stage, it’s easy to miss the change. If anything, aging is a godsend for Suzi fans: with the songs being performed with fewer high notes, there’s a chance us mere mortals can finally sing-along without sounding like we’ve put our hands into blenders.

And sure, there are a fewer of those iconic panther screams, but don’t for a second think they’re a thing of the past. Vocally, Suzi Quatro is still a powerhouse.

It’s captivating watching a woman made iconic for a sexually-charged persona and lyrics to match rock the stage past the age we stop thinking about people as sexual creatures. But while artists like Madonna try to hide the aging process, Quatro revels in it.

‘Leather Forever’ brings the classic hits out to play, and it’s impossible for audiences to sit still with tunes like ‘Devil Gate Drive’, ‘Too Big’, and ‘Can The Can’.

They’re just as rockin', just as brilliant, but there’s something there that can only come from age. Suzi is no longer the doe-eyed girl singing hard, and that perspective shift brings something new and thrilling to the songs.

But how do fans feel about an aging Queen of Rock? Talking to those who saw Suzi perform in her ‘glory years’, there’s no sense that the current show is lesser. Though she’s older, she’s still the cheeky, powerful, captivating rock goddess they fell in love with decades ago.

When you strip back a show like this, all the lights and all the instrumental chaos can’t really hide failing vocals. But there’s no disappointment here, just a rocker who has perfected her craft over decades of touring.

The current ‘Leather Forever’ tour isn’t just a chance to showcase the old hits; it’s also a way to introduce fans to her newest musical project: QSP. A rocking trio of icons made up of Quatro, Andy Scott of Sweet fame, and Slade drummer Don Powell: QSP is a chance to cover some amazing songs, and to bring some new tunes into the world.

While a lot of iconic rockers have other bands opening for them, Suzi’s brought QSP along for the Aussie tour, meaning that it’s all Suzi, from the time the lights go out until the final encore’s cheers fall silent.

Let’s be honest: there are far younger acts out there who couldn’t manage hours of full, powerful vocals to such a calibre.

The ‘Leather Forever’ tour will be hitting the rest of Australia throughout February.


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