Hanley, The Royal, November 20th
We arrived in Hanley mid afternoon to stake out the 'Royal' and wait for Squeeze to turn up. As luck would have it, right opposite the stage door of the Royal (all of 15 feet away), was a pub called the Stage Door. Needless to say that's where we holed up for the next couple of hours. First to show up was Chris D, but we let him enter without a fuss. Well actually I think the real reason was that I had just ordered another drink so I didn't want to waste that! About 45 minutes later, the next mini-van showed up with the rest of the guys. So out we jumped - Surprise, the Canucks are here!! I can just imagine what Suzanne, Glenn and co. thought - oh no not them again!! Well, as they were running late, we said our hello's and Suzanne promised to catch up with us later. After they had taken off for their hotel, we left a token of our appreciation at the stage door - hey those bottles of wine were darned heavy to lug 3 and a half thousand miles!
So onto the show. We were in the first row of the 'circle' which
sounded good when I bought the tickets over the phone. I didn't realize
however that the circle comes behind the
So the show was brilliant - guess that goes without saying really. Glenn was suffering with a touch of the flu but still sounded and played brilliantly. As the set list is already known, it's not worth repeating. For some reason though, the first song 'The Prisoner' seemed a bit out of place with the rest of the greatest hits + Domino tracks but having said that it did get the show of to a flying start. Also, contrary to what I've read about the Domino special effects, I didn't think they were that bad and the lighting in general was very good. So, all in all, the Hanley crowd had a good time (especially as Glenn had them eating out of the palm of his hand with the usual audience participation of BCIB) and everyone seemed to go home happy. After the show, as we were in no great rush to get home, we hung around and caught up with everyone again getting as many CD's, etc. signed as I could, said our farewells for 48 hours until our next show at Wolverhampton.
After a 50 mile drive that took just over an hour and a half we arrived at the King George's Hall just as the public address system is saying that "Squeeze will be on stage in five minutes". We find our seats, balcony front and centre, and sure enough Squeeze come on stage.
Glenn shuffles like an old man for some reason but as soon as he straps his guitar on he's transformed. He invites the downstairs section of the crowd, which is seated, to stand and they do so immediately without hassle from security. We're a little annoyed as we only went for the balcony as we couldn't get decent seats downstairs! We did manage to get downstairs before the second encore however.
The venue is two-thirds full, I'd guess about 1200 people. Unlike the Middlesbrough show the audience listen to the new material and don't treat it as a chat interval. The show itself is excellent and the improvement from the summer show in Nottingham and even from Middlesbrough is marked. At this rate by the end of the tour they will be awesome. I hope that those in the U.S. and Canada will have the chance to see them then. Ash, Hilaire and Christopher seem to be really fitting in and Ash is, I think, the best drummer they've had since Gilson.
For those with a sartorial and style interest Glenn, Chris, Ash and Hilaire were all wearing suits and Hilaire had his hair down.
After the show I managed to get my programme signed by the band, an excellent end to another fantastic evening.
Roll on Manchester!
Set list: The Prisoner; Another Nail In My Heart; Domino; Electric Trains;
It's Over; Walk Away; Some Fantastic Place; Donkey Talk; Tempted; Up The
Junction; This Summer; Bonkers; Melody Motel; Play On; Fingertips; To Be
A Dad; Let The Good Times Roll; Take Me I'm Yours; Is That Love?; Third
Rail; Little King; Goodbye Girl; Pulling Mussels; Cool For Cats.
We arrived in Wolverhampton at 4pm - just as the Wolves vs Birmingham City soccer game was finishing!! (The last time I was in Wolverhampton was quite a scary experience after Coventry had beaten Wolves 3-0.) Needless to say, I was more than a bit wary of the chanting hordes roaming the streets. Anyway, we lubricated our vocal chords at a couple of bars until the Civic Hall opened. Quite a fancy looking building from the outside, but quite ordinary inside. However, the good thing about it was that it was 'general admission', so right to the front we went. Similar to Hanley, Dean Johnson opened the show with a very entertaining half hour. (Great sense of humour + good voice also). At about 8.45pm, Squeeze were doing there stuff for another 2+ hours of excellence. What a difference 50 feet makes. What a view. What photo's!! After the show, somewhat Deja-vu from two days earlier, we got to chat with guys again for a few minutes before we took off for a curry. Well, where better than in Wolverhampton!! See you tomorrow in Northampton.
From Mike McCormick:
I picked up a music mag in the recording studio in Birmingham (England) the other day. It's called 'The Beat' and it's not something I usually read, because I live daan saaf (down south). Anyway, there was a review of Squeeze at Civic Hall, Wolverhampton. It's a joint review with Roddy Frame (who played the same week) by Steve Morris. Here are the important bits:
...both Frame and Squeeze have realised that pop fame and adulation are no longer possibilities and the need to make music to suit such possibilities is no longer necessary. One immediate upshot is the lack of pressure from the moguls. Frame records for a label run by a music man, not an accountant and Squeeze call their own shots.
...I've never found Squeeze the most riveting of live acts (strange when Glenn Tilbrook's solo outings are so joyous) but on this occasion they were blisteringly good. Picking liberally from their entire, wondrous catalogue they proved that they are simply amongst the best UK bands ever. Strengthened by a new tight and purposeful rhythm section and coloured by Chris (brother of Jools) Holland's keyboards, the stalwart Tilbrook and writing partner Chris Difford sang with newly minted feel. Highlights? You're kidding, they came too thick and fast to remember.And there's a moral here; when the music ends up being made for reasons other than music, it withers, but as these guys clearly demonstrated, it needn't be terminal.
It didn't seem two minutes since we were in Northampton, Mass. eating Pizza with Marcy, Nick D. and MikenJenn this past June, although the Derngate Theatre is a million miles away from the Pearl Street club. The Royal Derngate - what a beautiful place to have a show. You could tell that the band just loved the luxury. After catching up with Suzanne before the show, to wish everyone well on the balance of the tour, we met up with some Squeeze buddies (John and Dawn) from Melton Mowbray. So there we are having yet another drink before the show!! when Sukie comes up to talk to John and Dawn. As hard as I might, there was no way that Sukie was going to have her photo taken, let alone plastered across the world wide web! Now I don't know if the surroundings were infectious, but I sat back and enjoyed the show as immensely as Squeeze seemed to like performing there. The crowd consisted of more of a yuppie set, with many of their off-spring brought along for the ride.
Again Dean Johnson opened (by this 3rd show I'm really beginning to like this guy), then followed by Nick Harper. At 8.45pm again, 'The Prisoner' is in full force. I guess after three reviews in one, what can you say different about this one except that with about 4 songs to go, Glenn invited everyone up on stage to join the band. I didn't need to be asked twice I can assure you!! I was there like a shot. Carolyn kept the camera to get photos, but after about a minute, I realized what a golden opportunity this was for great pictures. Back off stage, retrieved the camera and back on stage. It's not everyday you get to roam around the stage taking photo's as Squeeze go about their business. So then Glenn hops off stage to join and play in the remaining crowd (i.e. the shy ones that hadn't got up on stage) and the fun continues. After BCIB the fun stopped, but then how do you convince a hundred or so people to leave the stage and go home!! So Squeeze then get a day off, but Glenn ('flu and all) is going to do a solo gig anyway (because he can!!) and we get to pack up to come home. Well, I hope this feeble review does justice to a superb week but if it doesn't, put it down to the delays at Heathrow this morning, the re-adjusting to the 5 hour time difference and the fact that I've been up for 24 hours! Once again, we can't thank Suzanne enough for her kindness this week and we can't wait until the next US tour!!!
My first Squeeze gig for three years also turned out to be one of the
best I have seen. The boys in suits for the first time since Frank as I
remember and Glenn was the most energetic I have seen him since then too.
The show at the Arts Centre was just fantastic. The new line-up
is probably the best so far.
From Alex Glanville, Beaulieu Hampshire:
It was 11 years ago that I last saw Squeeze at Poole (Babylon and
On Tour) though I have seen them plenty since elsewhere. I thought
Friday night one of their finest performances in ages -the new members
of the band complement each other so well - no weak links and really tight.
I enjoyed the new numbers which were all well received and the old favourites
too. I felt the set worked well and the on stage antics at the end
just finished the evening on a high.
Well, here we are again, a different line-up to the last time I saw Squeeze in Torquay (over 3 years ago), but the same half-full house. My hearing returned to normal several days after Bristol, but this time I wasn't taking any chances - got there early, nabbed a nice spot just left of Glenn (means I don't have to keep looking up his nose, and have a good angle to watch Chris D's antics!) The guys were in great form, their enthusiasm infectious and their enjoyment so obvious. Once again special mention must go to Walk Away and Fingertips, the highlights for me, but really the whole set was flawless (with the possible exception of Donkey Talk? A bit of a downer for a live set, allows those not familiar with it to start chatting). The encore was a laugh, Glenn invited the audience up on stage to join him; so many got up there was hardly any room left for the band! The genuine fans got lost at the back, leaving the front of the stage to be hogged by the exhibitionists (you do get some arseholes don't you!) Poor Glenn was pawed and ruffled and even strangled by one guy, but he took it all in good humour. All-in-all, it was one of those evenings you don't want to end. I wouldn't mind if I had any others to look forward to, but I don't think the finances can stand a trip to one of the Shepherds Bush gigs (oh how I wish...!)
Dean Johnson provided an excellent first warm-up, songs to get your feet tapping. Nick Harper came on and did the same routine - he really can play the guitar well but didn't get the crowd going like Dean did. Then at 8.30(ish) Squeeze appeared. Although the two Chris's appeared bored at first the reason was explained - the band had stayed up until 5.30am playing games and drinking, thus they were knackered before they'd even begun. That said, once they'd opened with The Prisoner, Glenn invited us to leave our seats and come down the front - within minutes the aisles and front-of-stage were packed. It soon became apparent that not a lot of people were aware of the existence of Domino, as there were blank looks when tracks from the album were performed.
I was having too much fun to remember the order of the songs they played, except that they started with The Prisoner, the first encore was Sleeping with a Friend, Footprints and Hourglass, and they ended as usual with Annie Get Your Gun and Black Coffee in Bed. In between were: Take Me I'm Yours, Up the Junction, Goodbye Girl, Cool for Cats, Pulling Mussels (From the Shell), Another Nail in my Heart, Tempted, Is That Love?, Melody Motel, Some Fantastic Place, Third Rail, It's Over, Electric Trains, Walk Away, This Summer, Fingertips, Bonkers, Domino, To Be a Dad, Donkey Talk and Little King. And by then it was nearly 11pm.
Altogether a great performance. Hilaire, Chris and Ash melded in well, and the late night didn't seem to affect them at all once the crowd joined in and everything "rocked"!
Okay, okay, so I've written several reviews before, I know that - by now - I must be verging on the point of boring the crap out of everyone. Just bear with me, please? How about I promise to keep this one short. Is that okay? (well, reasonably . . .)
To summarise? Well, fantastic. There's nothing new there, I hear you sigh, but then I do feel that I have to correct you.There were plenty of changes from last week, and not in the least, the improvement of the light show. Not a weird floating domino in sight, I think you'll be relieved to hear . . .
Last night. Well, I think that last night was perhaps one of the top Squeeze gigs that I've ever been to. That's not to say that it was necessarily Squeeze's best performance (I think that Glenn hadn't quite recovered from his suspected flu, and it took a few tracks for him to get into it!) but the enthusiasm, set, improved light show, company and audience all came together for an utterly amazing night.Intrigued?
Of course, it took the usual Prisoner to get the audience up out of their seats, and Glenn again had to gently coax us to approach the stage. Saying that, I think that Glenn's persuading was needed more for the security guards than us. The Grant Mitchell Wannabes had to be told several times, by a quite firm Glenn, to step down, move away from blocking the aisle, and let his 'very well behaved' audience have the permission to groove! Naturally, by the end of the show (for which the guys really must plead Temporary Insanity!) when Glenn was inviting the audience up on the bloody stage with him, with sixty or seventy people crammed on a very small (and very hot - I don't think I had appreciated it before) stage, I think half of the security guards were going to pass out with fear. Amazingly, everyone was incredibly well-behaved - including those drunk bastards who at every gig religiously try to recapture a lost youth! - and when, after a couple of numbers, Glenn told us to get off, everyone did - with no exceptions. An amazing feat, let me tell you.
The set revisions were slight, but noticable. I was personally very disappointed that Play On had been dropped (and Donkey Talk still included), but the rest of the set pretty much runs with what's been standard during this tour. Slept With a Friend, Little King, Bonkers, To Be A Dad, Domino and the aforementioned Donkey Talk all had their usual airing, while tried'n'tested tracks This Summer, Is That Love, Black Coffee and Up the Junction all brought forth an incredible level of audience participation, most noticeably with This Summer (i don't think I've ever heard an audience really go for it during that track before). But the highlight of *my* night has to be the wonderful, incredible, marvellous, delightful inclusion of the never-heard-live-before-in-my-lifetime version of First Thing Wrong. Although ashamed to say it now, I sheepishly admit that I did go nuts when Glenn opened the song with those achingly familiar chords . . . but then, I missed so many of the early tracks being played live (probably because I was only two when the debut album was released) it was an absolute and amazing surprise to hear it. All I can do is beg with the guys most desperately to keep it in for Shepherd's Bush!! Please!!!!!
Well, I guess there's not much more to say. Except . . . When did Glenn get promoted? I mean, Chief T-Shirt Seller requires some skill, you know . . . are you sure he's up for it?!?
See ya at London!!
(p.s. if anyone wants a copy of the setlist, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, okay?)
I saw the gig in Cardiff on December 2nd - f**king brilliant! I'd only ever seen the 'lads' live once before (three years ago, Cardiff again) and loved them, but noticed the lack of a decent keyboardist holding the back of the songs together. This time round, Chris H was superb - a real treat to listen to. And yes, he does sing better than his brother! I'm a little disappointed at the new album to be honest with you - where did all that enthusiasm for 'a new direction' go? And in answer to any questions about why there are no singles from it, we can only say this: there's not an obvious one in sight! We were all reminded of this in the most spectacular fashion on Wednesday when GOODBYE GIRL got a fun and funky new work-over and yes, the highlight of the night, FIRST THING WRONG got an airing! But the most important thing to mention here is - Hilly the bassist. His solo (I can't remember the number) had me spellbound. It was like listening to a lead guitarist. We are just not worthy! But the highlight was jigging about on stage towards the end. Sadly, I couldn't hear a thing the whole time I was up there. Haven't a clue when HOURGLASS ended and BLACK COFFEE began. But hell, who cares?
The Apollo Theatre, Manchester is a converted 1930's cinema and at the time it was built it was the largest cinema in Europe. I remember when Squeeze played this venue in 1987 Chris Difford said it was the first time they had ever sold it out. Tonight it is between a half and two thirds full. This is still a sizeable number of people but perhaps a little disappointing.
For some reason Glenn appears to be in a rush to get on with the show and between songs chat is almost nil, and most of what there is is done by Chris. Perhaps Glenn is saving his voice.
The performance is of the usual high standard and the new material goes down well. Hilaire's Bass playing was a highlight tonight, particularly on 'Fingertips' and 'Take Me I'm Yours'. The set list was much the same as at other shows except they dropped 'Play On' and 'Is That Love?' and the encores were combined, with 'First Thing Wrong' added as the encore opener.
After 'First Thing Wrong', Glenn invited the audience on stage and plenty of people took him up on the offer. Is this a return to the Punk ethic of destroying the distance between performer and audience? I don't think I'm very happy with this development for two reasons: a few people dancing is fine but a number of exhibitionists trying to prove they are more important than the band is annoying; secondly it means the show peters out rather than having a firm conclusion. I will be interested to see if he tries this in Leeds as the stage is quite high.
Roll On Leeds.
The boys were really rocking at The Cambridge Corn Exchange last night. The new line up is working well. 25 Years of experience and like a good bottle of wine getting better and better with the years. New songs and old, they all went down a treat. My only gripe was that the lads did not sing Labelled with Love (my own particular favourite!), but then I suppose as the repertoire gets larger and larger with the years some of the old songs have to be dropped from the running order. Just over two hours of pure genius. Pity I wasn't downstairs when Glenn invited the audience on stage at the end. But us "old - timers" like to sit down at concerts these days. This is about the twelfth concert I've been to and I've never once gone home disappointed. Whether you are young or old don't pass up an opportunity to see this band. You will not be disappointed.
From Paul Higham:
For the past few years, part of the run up to Christmas has been Squeeze at the Corn Exchange. Unlike most previous years, however, I've been able to get reviews and set lists (from this site), so some of the questions (who's in the band, who's the support) have been answered. This takes away some of the anticipation, but provides compensatory fun in having yardsticks against which to measure the venue, the crowd, the performance.....
Cambridge Corn Exchange is a great venue. Over the years, in addition of theatre, classical, kids shows, pantomimes and comedy it's played host to Van Morrison, James Taylor, Roger McGuinn, Mark Knopfler, Crowded House, The Lightning Seeds and many others, including Bruce Springsteen and the reformed E-Street Band (sorry, made that one up, but clear message to Santa there...). There's an all seated balcony area, but the downstairs can be reconfigured to seats or standing. For Squeeze, as usual, we had standing. Thus those who choose to stand can feel free to express themselves without having to challenge "security".
Tonight's crowd doesn't fill the venue(two thirds full ?). Staff on the door invite those with seated tickets to join those in the auditorium. Not all do. It seems pretty crowded near the stage, and comfortable at the back for us old fogeys who still like to stand but don't like to be prepacked in brine. Age range is mid 30's +, with the average being brought down by people bringing their offspring. As usual, there's a good humoured feeling about the crowd.
Squeeze take the stage at 20:45, and exit it finally at just as the Cambridge curfew kicks in at 23:00. The set list appears to have settled down to that given in the reviews of the most recent shows, i.e. all the "greats", (except "Labelled") the onstage favourites and a healthy dose of "Domino". It's good to hear some new songs being played (even if my attention does wander during "Donkey Talk"); it's also good to have more recent classics such as "Some Fantastic Place", "Walk Away" and "This Summer" greeted with as much enthusiasm as, say, "Up The Junction" or "Goodbye Girl". There's not much in the way of inter-song banter, but neither is it a rushed set, just trying to get as many songs in a possible (and did Glenn have the 'flu ?).
I'm not too sure about extending audience participation to having the crowd on stage, though it did provide some light entertainment in the form of some people making complete idiots of themselves. There's little better than being in an audience which is at one with itself and with the band, and some of that feeling comes from the distance between the stage and the audience having been reduced to zero by the band's presence and perfomance. I'm not convinced that physically reducing that gap to zero achieves the same end.
That minor Scrooge like point said, it was a great evening. Now to find a shop selling "Domino"....
From Martin Hitchcock:
Well, that's four times in five years the band has visited the Corn Exchange and every gig has been different. Someone else said in these reviews "Hell, they're rockier than I remember?" and I concur completely. Glenn's guitar was in your face in the mix as was Hilaire's bass but, for the die hards, the vocal was fine but the non converted (I took a few) they complained they couldn't hear the lyric, which was a shame when "Bonkers" was in full flow.
The running list was roughly as I'd already seen here;
A liberal sprinkling of Sleeping With A Friend / Footprints / Hourglass in a twenty minute encore was only marginally disappointing for the lack of Labelled With Love, Anything from "Play" and the new In The Morning (how do you get a guitar to do that?). CD and Ash signed autographs in the foyer, the audience were appreciative, polite without being nuts and the band sounded as good as ever, timeless yet always bringing something new to the party.
Please come back soon, I miss you already.
From Lynn Baker:
So much has been said by so many people, and all the great reviews - so true. I'm sure on Saturday I heard the best version ever of 'Walk Away' the emotion in Glenn's voice was fantastic, it made the hairs on my arms stand on end. This was the second time I have had the chance to hear and see the new line-up (the first being the excellent warm-up gig at the Amersham Arms) and I must say I am very impressed. The whole band look and sound like they really enjoy playing together. Hilaire's sexy bass playing is something to be heard. Like so many others have said, including several overheard comments on Saturday, I missed 'Labelled With Love' - but there's always next time. Keep up the good work!!!