Hamilton, Bermuda, June 3, Surf Club
Great Show tonight..........
Northampton MA, June 7, Pearl Street
A wonderful time was had by all!! Just some thoughts before I turn in while they are still fresh in my mind: Great day seeing friends, old and new. Old friends: Chris, Glenn, Suzanne, mikenjen; New friends: Marcy, and Gary & Carolyn, Chris Holland, Ashley, and Hilaire. The band sounded great, and got a great response from a packed house. They played 5 new songs: "To Be A Dad", "What's Wrong With This Picture", "Bitter Wind", "Domino", and "Morning". It was kind of difficult to hear all the lyrics, but the ones I did catch were very moving. Nice guitar work by Glenn all evening, but I especially liked the sound he got on "Fingertips".
From Gary Leeson:
Breakfast with Squeeze this morning was just one of the many highlights
of the last 30 hours. We arrived in Northampton at about 3pm yesterday
afternoon and decided to first locate the club and get our bearings. Once
we had done that, the next step was to find lodgings. Having not pre-booked
anything we wandered around a while and then stumbled upon the Northampton
Hotel. Although it's a bit 'up market', as it is basically the only show
in town we decided to go for it anyway. So, as we are checking in, Carolyn
said 'Isn't that Chris Difford?' It sure was. So from that point on we
know this is going to be a good night. Chris said we were welcome to go
into the club for the sound check. Unfortunately though, by the time we
got there, the doors were closed so all we got to do was hear it from outside.
Washington DC, June 9th, 9:30 Club
Hi! Just got back from the 9:30 Club Squeeze gig in Washington D.C.! Me and my sister were in the front row, right in the center, so we saw all the action up close. Plus, we got a setlist, which looked like this:
Trains (Electric Trains)
All in all, it was an excellent show. Five new songs were played,
including "To Be A Dad", which Chris Difford introduced as a song "about
being a dad, oddly enough." The three new guys proved themselves
admirably; a highlight of the show was the elaborate piano intro Chris
Holland added onto "Melody Motel". Soundwise, there were some problems;
Avid Woman writes:
I was gonna do a review but since you all beat me to that as well I'll
just add my two cents in and say the show rocked! Having been a fan of
Victor Woten's for years (Bele Fleck and the Flecktones) I was nearly drooling
when they let Hilaire Penda loose. Can we have a celebrity bass deathmatch
between Victor and Hilaire, please? And in case anyone was wondering I
think they let Chris dress Glenn last night because he came out sporting
dress shirt, slacks, and a blazer, which quickly got shed.
Kristi O'Connell writes:
I must add a few important details that my dear brother omitted...first
off, Glenn was sporting a lovely, shorter hairstyle this time around.
And Chris Difford was decked out, as always, in quite a dapper suit (pinstripe).
Chris Holland's keyboard sounded every bit as good as Jools' best work
- it was refreshing to hear that jazzy, flourishy piano returned to Squeeze's
From Dave Lampel:
Just wanted to drop a line about the show at the 9:30 club last
night. Let me preface by saying I am a die-hard fan and have been
for many years. I live between DC and Baltimore and have traveled
as far as New York on more than one occasion only to see Squeeze.
The show last night was good. They stuck to the same set list as
reported for the Bermuda show. They played straight through and before
the last song Glenn announced they were going to play it and not come back
as an encore. He also said they were going to be on tv this
morning (Wed 6/10) but didn't say on what program and I couldn't find a
listing. Any ideas? That being said again I thought the show
was good, but not great. This was the first time they've played full
band here since the Some Fantastic Place tour ended. I though
the new band members were good, but the band didn't gel like before.
What happened to Keith Wilkinson? The playing was solid, but not tight.
Glenn's voice was not in as good of form as it was on recent solo acoustic
shows. He couldn't get through the drawn out parts of Third Rail and a
few other songs.
From Helen Glazer:
Had a super time at the Squeeze show at the 930 Club in Washington, DC last night! Also in attendance from this mailing list and the Squeeze chat--Anna Borg, Gary Maragos and Chris Topham, who was lucky enough to get a free flight over from England (he's a pilot!). My friend Dave and I waited around for about 1/2 an hour hoping to say hi to the band, to no avail :-( So I can't present that vicarious thrill but here are some others...
Dave McConnell already posted the set list here, and evidently you can anticipate that it's going to be the same for every show, perhaps with the order shuffled a bit, because Glenn announced at the end that they'd played everything that they all know and they'd played it straight through so there would be no encore. They must have played about 2 hours and frankly I preferred it this way to the rock concert encore game, which at my age makes me feel pretty silly anyway.
Having said that, let me proceed to toss all dignity aside and tell you girls what you really want to know (guys, you can skip ahead to the next paragraph). Anna and I had a female-bonding moment ;-) when Glenn came onstage looking slimmer since September and wearing a black suit (the jacket came off fairly soon) and charcoal grey button-down shirt open at the neck. *Loved* the new look--we enthusiastically bestow our Fashion Seal of Approval.
Other random fashion notes: Chris D. looked liked he could have just gotten off from work at the Department of Justice, in his pin stripe suit, white shirt and red patterned tie. One difference between Hilaire Penda and Keith Wilkinson is that he plays a 5-string bass, the other is that he has hair, lots of hair in fact. Also, there is a distinct facial and physical resemblance between Chris Holland and his brother, Jools.
Most of the new songs sound to me to be a return to a more straight-ahead rock mode than "Ridiculous." Glenn said they'd be writing more songs before recording an album later this year, and so depending on what they end up with these songs may or may not make it onto their next recording. So far I like the direction they seem to be heading in.
It's great to see them play with a full band again! At times Chris Holland appeared a bit tentative in his playing, not quite cutting loose, and during some songs, like "Fingertips," the overall sound of the band could have been tighter, but I imagine those things will work themselves out over time. They are obviously skilled musicians, and Hilaire Penda played an inventive solo during "Take Me I'm Yours"--he has a friendly smile and seemed to be enjoying himself.
On the way home, we heard a radio ad for their upcoming show at Club Xhale on the Baltimore-Washington area's 50,000 watt dominant rock station, so there's been some advertising, albeit at 12:34 am on a Wednesday morning. But hey, it's advertising, and evidently word got out about this show, too, because the crowd at the 930 Club had to be twice as big as it was the last time I saw Squeeze play an acoustic show there--it was wonderful to see the place filled. Everyone joined in for the "Black Coffee" sing-along at the end.
Shopping tip: If you're anxious to get your hands on the soccer fight song, they're selling the CDs for $10 at the shows. T-shirts are a rather hefty $30 apiece and feature the Squeeze logo with the little colored circles on white shirts.
If you're going to one of the upcoming shows, have fun! If not, I feel your pain. Really. :-)
Frederick MD, June 10th, X-Hale
I went to the shows in D.C. and in Frederick where I saw Helen (D.C.) and Anna (both).
There were identical set lists for the two shows. Glenn changed his setup for Frederick from his Mesa Boogie amp to a small Crate vintage reissue (similar to one I have - Go Crate!). I think Chris is playing through a direct box, although he did have a double 15 EAW cabinet behind him.
Some other things that I'm not sure have been mentioned or not:
Footprints and Hourglass are done medley style (although they are the full songs) which is a strange transition because of the tempo shift.
The keyboard intro to Melody Motel is very close to Dr. Jazz, so much so that I thought they were actually going to play it for a minute.
I prefer Bitter Wind and Domino (which has a resemblance to Hourglass) out of the five new songs. In D.C. Glenn said that they would be recording in the summer and hopefully have an album out in the fall.
From Dave Lampel:
I must say, I enjoyed this one a lot more. I got right up front at the stage between Chris and Glenn. They played the exact same show but the sound was a little better and the band seemed to gel a little more. It appears they haven't been playing together long as Chris said they couldn't honor a request for "Satisfied" because these are all the songs they know. I tried to focus more on what these guys added as opposed to what was different in this lineup. Hilare definately is a mean bass player. Domino is an excellant song thanks to him, and he does add some ideas to some of the older songs as well. The new drummer is good also. I guess I would just say that although Glenn and Chris seem to be enjoying themselves, they definately don't seem as lively as they have on recent tours. I don't think Chris Holland does much for them, though. I wish I could go to New York for all the activities this weekend.
From Anna Borg:
I'll chime in with a quickie! Although I don't have much to add, Helen summed it up pretty well. My own private girly moment came at Club Xhale when I FINALLY got to give Glenn the hug I have been saving since I was 11 years old. Although I've met him a few times now, I never had the nerve to invade his personal space. I now have the high score in Space Invaders.
I went to both the 9:30 Club show and Xhale, and didn't feel they were all that different, in mood or style. At both shows the crowd was GREAT, Glenn and I spoke about how fun the 9:30 show was, he even confessed to being embarassed by the show he and Chris did there in 96. It's all about the mood. I thought the band worked well together, that's a heck of a lot of songs to learn in a few months! I'm not a keyboard maven, so I can't really comment on Chris H.'s playing, but he's cute as a button, and that counts for something in my book!
I was really disappointed with the t-shirt prices, I didn't see a single person carrying one around. I have 5 Squeeze shirts as it is, and although this design is really cool, (Not like the DREADFUL Frank shirt!) I can't pay that much for a cotton T. I just don't have it in me.
Although I am sad I will be missing other shows on the tour, I look forward to reading more reviews here. Anyone who meets Glenn needs to let him know he made my decade!
From Craig Moore:
I just got back from seeing Squeeze at X-hale. I was pleasantly surprised by Great Big Sea. I enjoyed their set quite a bit.
Squeeze was great and the set was, as far as I can remember, the same as previous shows. They did "Footprints" which I don't remember seeing posted before, but that might be my bad memory. "Fingertips" was excellent, ending with Glenn's guitar blazing. I also liked the arrangement on "Goodbye Girl." If they (or anyone else for that matter) re-recorded the song that way it could be a hit all over again. Chris Holland was a great addition to the band, sort of like Jools on Valium. The other two new guys were great too. One thing I really missed was Keith Wilkinson's voice. They are somewhat lacking for backing vocals now.
That said, the band seemed somewhat out of sorts. Chris D. seemed like he didn't feel well, smiling only once or twice the whole night. Glenn was largely silent between songs until the very end. They also opted to dispense with the encore routine, playing "all the songs we know" without stopping.
Still, over all it was a great night. Now, I've got to go to work in the morning.
From Kristi O'Connell Myers:
Having enjoyed myself immensely at the DC show on 6/9, I was anxious to get to the Xhale Club on 6/10. At first, we tried to watch the sound check, but club staff politely removed us. At this point we were relegated to eating fast food while sitting on the sidewalk. Not to fear, however - the discomfort was well worth the sight of Chris Holland and Ashley Soan walking up. They stopped to chat a few minutes, introduced themselves (as if that were necessary) and said they recognized us from the night before. They were so sweet and charming! Before the show, I also ran into Hilare and had the chance to speak with him - what a dear!
Now the best part - I asked if my brother (Dave) could interview the guys for his college paper. Suzanne arranged for us to meet Glenn backstage.
Glenn was just a doll - he gave a great interview and was very understanding
when we discovered that the interview hadn't recorded the first time -
he simply offered to do
The show was great, and I was able to get some great pictures of the band (and, miraculously, no musclebound goon stepped up to confiscate my camera). I have grown fond of "To Be a Dad" - the chorus hits me in that way only a Difford-Tilbrook hook can. I too loved Hilare's work on Dominoes - what a thrill it is to hear what he adds to the old Squeeze favorites. I also thoroughly enjoyed Chris Holland's keyboards - not only was he a very nice person to talk to, he is a gifted keyboard player. During his intro to Melody Motel - if I squinted my eyes a bit, I could have mistaken him for Jools at that point. I could have listened to Chris play all night! I am so anxious to hear the new Squeeze recordings with him! And, as I said before, Ashley is a truly tasteful and talented drummer.
In short (or rather, long), the boys were just wonderful, and it was such a treat to be able to chat with them and meet the new members - I hope this lineup is here to stay.
Thanks especially to Suzanne and Glenn! I am already thinking about the next tour. (Chris, if you're reading - any idea when that will be?)
From Bruce MacQueen:
Before you read any further , you can rest assured that Squeeze is back and appears relaxed, happy and better than ever. Before the X-hale show, I ran into Glenn wandering through the crowd (unbelievably unrecognized by anyone before I ambushed him) and I imposed on him to help me find one of his crew I had meet the night before. He was very gracious and while we chatted he allowed as he was having a really good time with the current band.
As posted by others, the set lists were virtually identical on both nights and they played "all the hits" including a reggae tinged Goodbye Girl, four or five new songs, straight through to a sing-along ending of Black Coffee In Bed - No encore and gone - after nearly two hours of unbridled, exuberant fun for either the devoted fan or the unsuspecting, uninitiated casual listener! My only complaint would be that they should stagger the new songs in the set listing to keep the momentum going. And while Fingertips isn't one of my favorite songs, Glenn's guitar work was blistering! (Everybody's a freaking critic!)
Attendance at both shows was very good. Glenn also told me it wouldn't put the band off to snap photos, so I took a couple rolls which the Beckett's may be kind enough to post. Chris and Glenn also indulged the fans for photo ops and autographs, even though they were leaving immediately for a five+ hour drive to Boston. They also indicated that they hoped to have a new album (cd) out in January or February and would be undertaking a longer tour in the near future. Maybe the rest of the country will get a dose of Squeeze and we'll get a very early Christmas present here in D.C.!
God Save Squeeze !!
(Photo: Glenn and Chris flank the wonderful Bruce MacQueen!)
From Dave O'Connell:
Hi! About the Frederick, MD show...wow! First I should start this review off by mentioning that I attend York College (located in lovely not-so-downtown York, Pennsylvania), where I'm a third-year Mass Communication major working for the campus radio station WVYC (as the Library director and also a DJ) and the school newspaper (as a writer, or "cub reporter", if you want to be silly about it). Me and my sister Kristi arrived three hours before the show, and once we were let in (after being kicked out for sneaking into the soundcheck), we were chatting with the woman who refreshes Squeeze fans' appetite for band merchandise during the gigs and we mentioned my college radio/amateur newshound duties to her in hopes of securing some time with Glenn and/or Chris for an article I wanted to do on them in the fall. Well, she spoke to Suzanne and Suzanne was nice enough to let us in the dressing room during the opening act's set to chat with Glenn (Chris was having a nap in the tour bus). Of course, we were thrilled to death!
Fast forward to an hour-and-a-half later; opening act Great Big Sea were at the midway point in their set and we were in the dressing room, relaxing on a couch, chatting with Glenn on all manner of topics. Glenn was quite the good-natured subject; he even redid the interview when we discovered that the tape machine had malfunctioned and not picked up Glenn's original answers. Take two sailed a lot smoother and at the end, he was even spirited enough to do a hilarious station ID for our radio station's liner disc! Then my sister snapped a picture of him and we left to reclaim our spots near the front of the stage. The concert, once again, was excellent; as usual, it was the "Singles-45s and Under" material that drew the largest response from the crowd. "What's Wrong With This Picture?" is my favorite of the new songs, being the latest in a long-line of Difford/Tilbrook compositions featuring tons of unpredictable chord changes (like "House of Love" and "On My Mind Tonight"). And in keeping with tradition, the false ending to "Is that Love" fooled a sizable portion of the audience. The setlist was the same; the only major difference from the D.C. gig was the omission of Hillaire's bass solo from the retooled "Goodbye Girl."
Back to the conversation with Glenn: A few tidbits from the 1st interview attempt did not find their way into take two, so I'll share them with you here. Glenn had trouble singling out his favorite Squeeze records, but did not hesitate to name the ones he is still disappointed in; namely, UK Squeeze, Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti and the Difford & Tilbrook record. Glenn's obvious admiration for the talents of Keith and Kevin Wilkinson came through during our chat, but he explained that the reason the two were let go was to avoid stagnation in the band's sound. Stylistically, he felt it was time to move in a new direction, although he felt very sad that he had to part ways with two fine musicians in order to do so. We also talked about how he met Chris, his excitement about the new lineup, and the new single "Down in the Valley." As for what actually made it onto tape, well, I'll be transcribing my finished Q&A piece for the Squeezefan site this fall, when classes resume and the thing gets published. For now, though, I'll leave you with Glenn's transcribed words of praise for his friend, the ever-talented singer-songwriter (and occasional Squeeze sideman and opening act) Nick Harper (and thanks again, Glenn, Suzanne, and Kristi for helping me out with the interview!)...
"He supported me when I was doing a solo acoustic gig in England. He managed to draw the audience in in a fantastic way. Normally, particularly on some of the acoustic shows, the people who support me, unfortunately, get ignored quite a lot. That didn't happen with Nick. So I immediately wanted to become his mate, 'cause I loved his songs. And then I ended up working with him and produced his last album, Smithereens, which I'm very very pleased and proud of."
From Josh Gold:
I don't have too much to add to what everyone else has written other than to say that I think if "Morning" is not the first single off the album the boys have got to be crazy! I really like that song (can we get a snippet up on this website)?
My fourth Squeeze concert and I still have not had the opportunity to meet Chris and Glenn! Where did you people find them in the bar? I was looking everywhere. Oh well, I'm sure they will be back in the area soon. I thought they sounded great, and I was really happy they played "Melody Motel." I wish they would play "The Day I Get Home" someday... that is my favorite.
Boston MA, June 11th, Club Avalon
I just got back from the Avalon show, and it was tremendous. Set list was the same, but in different order. The band sounds great! Much tighter than the Northampton show. Nice bass solo by Hilaire on "Take Me I'm Yours". Nice work by Chris Holland on a few songs, and Ash kept a rock-steady beat all night long. Highlights for me were "It's Over", "Bitter Wind", "SFP", "Morning", "This Summer", "Is That Love"...OH, THEY WERE ALL GREAT! I got there early, and Chris Difford very graciously agreed to do an interview for my radio show to be aired this Saturday at 9:30 pm on 90.5 in Worcester. I will also post it on Squeezefan. A very busy night selling lots of shirts and CDs. Shirts are nice, too! 4 different styles ranging in price from $25 to $45. And Great Big Sea (the opening band) was very good as well.
From Rachel Hill:
What a great night in Boston last night! My friend and I were there early and were one row of people from the stage for the opening act. Great Big Sea were VERY good! There music is a unique style, but quite good, and very fun!
Amazingly, after GBS was done, the 3 guys in front of us decided to leave!! So my friend and I took their spot. We we in the front row (I had my elbows on the stage) between Chris and Glenn!! It was fantastic!! I was getting some great pictures, until a security guard decided he had to take my camera!! I was really bummed out! It didn't seem as if the guys minded my picture taking, Chris actually smiled for the camera a couple of times, so I guess the security guy just wanted to flex some muscle!!
The band sounded great, and they seemed to be really enjoying themselves! Glenn looked very dapper in his suit and short hair cut! (No more curls in his eyes!) Chris had on a tan colored suit with a pink(?) shirt and a green tie! I have seen Chris be better dressed. However, they could have been wearing anything, it really didn't matter, they were great!
I hope everyone who gets to see them has a great time!
From Paul Colella:
I have to add that "Domino" is probably the best of the new songs. I noticed that just about everybody was dancing during it. It reminded me of something that you'd hear on Al Green's Greatest Hits, very funky.
The band does sound just great, but I have to be honest say that I really miss Keith big-time. He added a lot of fun to the show during the Ridiculous tour.
Setlist, courtesy of Mike Velcheck:
The Boston set was FREAKING incredible! Whenever I meet bands I've liked for a long time, I'm always afraid the "attitudes" will be a disappointment. HOWEVER, every person in Squeeze was absolutely gracious and personable...which counts for more than you will ever know! THOSE attitudes only reinforce my liking and appreciation for the band and the music...no surprises...just very real !
Thanks so much!
From Megan O'Connell:
Squeeze was their usual amazing selves last Thursday. It was great to
hear many songs off of some of their newer albums, particularly "It's over",
"Some Fantastic Place" and "Walk Away". My only complaint is that accoustics
seemed a bit off at the club and my poor ears were still ringing the next
morning (clearly not the bands fault . . .)
Having seen Squeeze in nearly all it's forms over the years (my first show being in Denver, Colorado in 1980) I was a bit surprised to see and hear this new lineup.
My last Squeeze show was the amazing acoustic show with Amee Mann @ The Stone Pony beautiful Asbury Park, NJ. I have been calling it the "best show I have seen in the past five years" ever since that night.
It was with this level of expectation that I entered the Avalon that night of June 11th.
I was immediately struck by a feeling that Chris was under the weather. While his playing was strong and solid, his demeanor was a bit blah. The boy seemed beat. (We in the front row appreciated his intense eye contact, however)
There was very, very little talking from any of the band members. From song to song they banged through the set. Some of the tunes seemed rushed through. and the fact that there was virtually no changing of instruments by any of the bandmembers gave some of us the feeling that it was merely a dress rehearsal for the Hard Rock Live show they were to tape the following night in New York.
Don't get me wrong, some of the blame must fall on the audience as well.
I felt that the crowd was a bit lost on some of the "less heard" Squeeze
material they chose to play early in the set. I think some in the audience
were a bit suspicious when Difford stepped to the mic and said,"Now, this
is the normally the point in the show when we leave the stage and hide,
quivering in the wings, hoping that you'll all cheer and have us back out.(Laughter)
The energy took a leap in the last 30 minutes of the show. Glenn even made an attempt at a Freddie Mercury-like sing along that almost worked (crowd's fault, not Glenn's). He made a few attempts to get the room to go absolutely QUIET at one point, but of course there were the handful of drunkards in the back who just could not shut their mouths.
Overall I felt it was a nice show. I miss the rest of the gang. I felt like it was Difford and Tilbrook with a "touring band". I mean no disrespect. They were all absolutely great musicians. The drumming was rock solid. The bass was melodic and sweet with a fun solo. Chris Holland is a natural replacement on keyboards and does a great job on vocals as well as flourishes.
I loved the new songs they played. Particularly "Domino". I can't wait to hear them on a new album soon.
I've said my piece and now I will wait till they come around again.