dates - 1999
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Liverpool, Neptune Theatre, November 5th
From Alan Tapp:
Basingstoke, The Anvil, November 6th
Not having seen the band LIVE for eleven months, withdrawal symptoms
were becoming evident, however Neptune Theatre, Liverpool, 5/11/99 was
The evening got off to a great start due to the unexpected bonus of
a brief chat with Ash and Hilaire in the Neptune bar. The gig had a somewhat
trickier start with two aborted attempts of Is That Love. Glenn apologised
and led the band offstage while the roadies sorted out the problem. Two
minutes later they were back to rapturous applause. Not wanting to risk
the 'Third Time Lucky' approach, Glenn resumed with This Summer. This had
several fans out of their seats and frontstage like a shot.
After a couple of songs one observer shouted "Where's Chris ?". Glenn
began to explain to those not familiar with the latest line up, but was
creased up when some wit shouted "Where's Harry ?" Glenn admitted to having
'No Idea !!' and went on to explain that due to current circumstances he
has had to start penning some lyrics himself for the first time in about
25 years. Well if Interviewing Randy Newman is anything to go by - I'll
eagerly await the release of the solo album he is currently working on.
It was a very catchy number considering it was the first time I'd heard
it and contains a couple of moments that will confuse the 'auto seek next
track' buffs (You'll understand when you hear it !!).
The next surprise came after 5 songs, Glenn announcing that there would
be a 7 minute break. In fact Glenn re-appeared in half that time armed
with an acoustic guitar and treated us to four songs performed solo. The
rest of the band then rejoined him onstage by which time virtually the
entire upstairs audience were on their feet singing and dancing. An encore
of four numbers completed a 23 song show (considerably less than what I've
been treated to at previous shows - but over the years I could never accuse
the band of short changing the audience).
The highlight of the evening was still to come. About an hour after
the show I left the Old Monk pub to catch up with some friends. who do
I bump into in Hanover Street ? Yes Mr Tilbrook himself. After signing
my ticket he agrees to join me in some liquid refreshment (the look on
my friends faces as Glenn and I entered the pub will live with me forever).
I'd loved to have spent a few hours chatting over a few Guinesses
with this legend alone - but that was hardly likely considering his gig
had not long finished across the road! Nevertheless, we did manage to reminisce
about a few previous gigs and about the Charlton .v. Liverpool games from
last season (although being a Liverpool supporter, in hindsight I should
have focused on the music!).
The Neptune was a surprising choice of venue and I thought that the
Liverpool audience was strangely subdued compared to previous visits of
the band to the City. Talking to Glenn later, he was pleased with it from
the bands point of view. Perhaps having to concentrate on not tumbling
from the Upper Balcony didn't help my cause? No matter, it was still wonderful.
I can't help wondering if that's the last I'll see of Squeeze as an
item. If it really is the end of an era I can always cling to the hope
of a 'one-off' outdoor event similar to the one that helped get Madness
back together at Finsbury Park. Squeeze at Calderstones Park ? How about
it Glenn ? Still as long as my hero keeps touring solo then I'm well pleased.
No other artist has given me more enjoyment. Scanning the list of dates
for his solo tour, it looks like Telfords Warehouse in Chester is next
for me. Tempted ? I already have my ticket !
Is That Love
Interviewing Randy Newman
Without You Here With Me
No Place Like Home
When The Hangover Strikes
Slap & Tickle
In The Morning
Up The Junction
Annie Get Your Gun
Black Coffee In Bed
Another Nail In My Heart
Some Fantastic Place
Take Me I'm Yours
From Kay Jennings:
London, London Arena, November 13th
Basingstoke...what a dump! A 'modern' town with a recently-rebuilt centre,
it took some time to find the Anvil, after some fruitless rounding of countless
roundabouts and following of signs which disappeared. We (hubby and I)
got there at 6 - gig due to start at 7.45 - no sign of a queue, we went
looking for food among the maze of shopping malls. Big joke, unless we
fancied a McDonalds; back towards the venue, hoping for better luck in
a different direction....success! The Anvil had a cafe bar where we could
eat while waiting in comfort and warmth - and get close enough to the doors
to bag a position right under Glenn's nose when they opened!
The support, Dean Johnston, was familiar - he supported last winter's
tour too - and not bad for that. At just after 8.30 the lads took the stage;
they were obviously in fine form, no signs of the tiredness one might expect
after a gruelling American tour, thoroughly enjoying themselves throughout.
(Sartorial aside....grey suit, lilac shirt, black shiny shoes- bet he's
back to the spotty shirt for the solo gigs next month!) Chris Holland's
place was ably filled by Chris Braide (keen on Chrises aren't they!), Hilaire
and Ash were superb (the best rhythm section yet I reckon), and as for
Glenn, well......Guitar God doesn't really sum it up adequately. He's slipped
effortlessly into the role of Frontman, blasts out far more guitar solos
than he ever used to, keeps the chat going, loves every minute of it, infects
us with his enthusiasm. During the now-obligatory acoustic spot he went
truly unplugged and led us Pied Piper-like into the bar, where he stood
shakily on a table and gave us Labelled With Love, followed by a rousing
Ticket To Ride, then came back in for Temptation For Love, beautifully
performed. The new song Interviewing Randy Newman shows much promise for
the solo album next year, being lyrically every bit as quirky as a Chris
song; the style must have rubbed off over the years! I forget the set list,
but among the usual oldies it was good to hear a different selection of
Domino songs, Without You Here being one of them, and the brilliant In
The Morning a highlight, as well as Little King and of course Domino.
On the down side, I felt Chris' second guitar was sorely missed at times,
and its lack meant that some of my favourites (SFP, Walk Away) had been
dropped from the set; also missing of course were the distinctive backing
vocals, most noticeable on Take Me (though Hilaire's wonderful bass made
up for it). And did I imagine it or was Glenn slightly pissed with Chris
when explaining his absence? After all, it's difficult to keep up the 'touring
is bad for my health' excuse when he's out on the road with Jools at the
moment! ...'used to stand there, doesn't stand there any more.....sod it!'
I thoroughly enjoyed the evening, it came to an end far too soon, and I
couldn't help feel it was the end of an era - the last proper Squeeze gig,
perhaps for ever (I don't count the Blondie thing; not their gigs, not
their audience). One to treasure. Grateful thanks to Glenn and Chris and
all the many band members who have given such pleasure (musically!) over
the years, and here's looking forward to the start of a new era and that
Newcastle, Newcastle Arena, November 16th
The sound was big. So was the Arena, a place dedicated to team sports,
spacious with an oddly "vacant" feeling to it what with the seating placed
in regimented blocks down on the main floor of the venue and the steel
bleachers reaching up the outer walls. Felt remote, like a prairie, with
the odd hoot and shout from people trying catch each other's attention.
To be honest, it was like a gigantic brick barn. Dead on 7:30 the
lights cut out to a "Woooooo ?!" from an off-guard crowd, and the band
arrived. They launched into "Another Nail..." which brought idle Blondie
fans racing into the auditorium to find their seats in the dark, treading
on toes, tripping over bags, hopping over seats. For the opener, I mainly
saw silhouetted bottoms and heads, but felt the bleachers vibrating to
a collective rhythmic stomp. Then the view cleared and there they were.
It was fun/heartstopping to see the foursome so far away, picked out
by powerful spotlights, across a sea of nodding heads. But the sound was
big and earned it's place in this huge setting. By the third song, it seems
EVERYONE had found their seats, giving the band the kind of attention headliners
get. I tried not to feel surprised, until "Slap and Tickle", my first hearing
live. I don't know how they decided what to play, as they played for 45
minutes, both familiar and fresh, "In The Morning" going down particularly
well. I could tell this from the now terrible, boneshaking judder of the
metal seating. But the sound quality was not good. Heavy "bottom", almost
no "top", not as crisp as it could have been, it was like listening with
your jumper pulled up over your head. A lot of Glenn's vocals were lost
as a result. But the guitar solos sliced through the muggy mix. It seems
the sound problem was the same for Blondie's set too.
Glenn's curls are back, and he was flapping them all over the shop.
I cannot give a fashion report as my eyesight is only average and I couldn't
see that far. They were all wearing clothes, I'm sure of that. I could
see the odd fan, checking their watch, plotting their route out of the
auditorium and as they rounded off with "Take Me..." a tiny trickle began,
purposeful, with lips clamped shut for fear all of Blondie's die-hards
would jump ship and cram themselves into the Glengall with those "in the
GLENGALL: 15 minutes later.
The suite was one side, the bar was on the other. The bar was full.
Was ANYONE there to see Blondie?
The suite is wide with a low ceiling, flourescent lighting, oatmeal
carpet and white walls and people rehearsing what to do or say. This meet
and greet gesture is already much appreciated and there is an air or unreality
about the whole scene, some folks adopting a nonchalant look, pretending
they're not jumping everytime the doors open and someone breezes in. The
occasional flutter of nervous giggles from a gaggle of women. Rick "Never
Gonna Give You Up" Astley, 80's popster and quiff-boy, lurking and failing
miserably to look like *one of the crowd*. I love you Rick (((sigh))).
The doors open, the manager Suzanne ushers Glenn in and he stands there,
startled and startling, with a big mad grin on his face. It reminded me
of a post-nightclub kebab, you don't know where to start on it but Start,
you must. We were Glenn's kebab. (Queen of the bad metaphor strikes again).
After the spontaneous applause dies down, Glenn picks out a corner of the
room and makes a bee-line for an amazed bunch of fans. With Chris Braide
(mmm), Ash Soan brings up the rear. How can such a compact man make such
a powerful sound? And why did it appear there were several women plotting
to overpower and kidnap him? Hilaire sneaked in and stood *very* still
as he talked with a few folks. He seems to be one of those quiet ones.
You know, they're the worst.
And so the mingling begins. Among the gibbering wrecks (aka fans) was
a woman all the way from New York, who had a good old grope of Glenn's
back as they posed for a malfunctioning camera. And a man who got Glenn
to sign a five pound note (now worth at least £7?), plus the young,
the lovely, Adrian S, sometime onelister(eGrouper?!) and the young Diff-a-like
from the New Cross show!
Glenn had time for everyone, but rather like meeting the Queen, I won't
divulge the contents of anyone's chat with the Duke Of Twang (or whatever
you lot are calling him nowadays). I'll say that as time went on, he was
hemmed right into a corner, back to the wall and the fans just kept on
a-comin'. You know how Squeeze can go 2 and a half hours non-stop? And
you know how they only did a 45 minute set? Well, meeting a hoard of sweating
fans is a piece of cake to them and they wandered about the suite without
a care. Glenn was wearing an eye-crossing, blue?-no-purple? short sleeved
shirt, beige combat trousers and trainers/sneakers. Ash - jeans, trainers
and an olive-green t-shirt. Also spotted, guys from Valley Entertainment!!
Not sure who and how many went kicking themselves into the night, but the
boys were chirpy to the last as they announced they were off the watch
the rest of Blondie's set. Blondie was by now chugging out "Atomic" and
elsewhere there was a rowdy, but earnest rendition of "Never Gonna Give
It's an odd contrast to the times we fans would have to surround a venue,
guard all exits, chase the Squeeze tour bus down the road in the middle
of the night and end up face down in the gutter, utterly dejected. We're
spoiled! If they ran, would you chase them?
Even without the lovely little dark one.
From Steven Armstrong:
It was an omen.
As I climbed out of the shower to get ready for my second Squeeze gig
in as many weeks, Virgin Radio played Up The Junction. The scene
was set for a good night.
Last week in Cardiff, Glenn had battled with - rather than played -
his guitar, and the evening was beset with technical difficulties and poor
sound quality. Newcastle Arena was going to be different.
* * *
"We are Squeeze, and this is what we do!", announced Mr Tilbrook confidently
before launching into the opener just before half past seven. Already
he was in command, and the succession of classic songs in the first fifteen
minutes cemented his position.
The polite applause gradually turned to genuine appreciation and banter
with the audience even culminated in a James Brown impersonation!
Somehow he got away with it in front of 4000 rampant non-Squeeze fans -
most of whom were still finding their seats.
Things were going well and it was time to try something new. Glenn
informed the uninitiated of his brief flirtation with Radio 2 in the summer
and we were treated to "Interview With Randy Newman". The lyrics
were hard to make out, but the sound was pure Squeeze - complete with not
one, but two false endings.
Footprints disappeared from the set, but no one really missed it as
we got a couple of extra tracks from Domino instead. Little King
is a storming live track, but my particular favourite was In The Morning.
Chris B. briefly abandoned his keyboards to play acoustic guitar and Ash's
drumming was superb. Even without the customary distorted vocals
of the album, it was an excellent demonstration to everyone of what Squeeze
have been doing since they were last on Top Of The Pops!
The "invisible" lyricist was missed. The others tried with the
backing vocals, bless them, but there was no "gravel" to it! If you
stopped to think about it, we only had half of that magical partnership,
a part time keyboard player, a bass player who doesn't speak English and
wasn't that Marianne Faithfull's drummer at the back? But what the
hell. The sound was Squeeze, Glenn was enjoying himself again, and
so were we.
But forty five minutes after it began, the night was over. We
were on a high and ready to drive home with the car radio turned up loud.
And then someone mentioned that Blondie were also going to be on!
"Are they still going?", I thought to myself. Well, there wasn't
much on TV anyway, so we stayed. Sadly. Blondie may be many
things, but they are not good live, not worth £22.50, and certainly
But forget them, when are those Glenn solo gigs again.....?
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