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Scottsdale AZ, Cajun House, February 8th
Saying that last night's show was great is an understatement. Phoenix loves Squeeze. The show was packed even though there was not a hell of a lot of publicity about it. Squeeze fans just simply know.
The Cajun House is a club set up to resemble a small block of Bourbon Street. Small taverns line a cobblestone street and the stage sits at the end of the block in the center of the street. The rest of the street is left open for dancing. The show last night was open for all ages, so CH had certain areas roped off to allow those of us who are of age to drink. Unfortunately the view was not as good as being in the "street". I am glad we stayed where we were though. it worked out.
The opening act was a local one man accoustic number. I don't remember his name (actually I don't remember a lot of things from last night). He played very mellow new age style guitar. And even though he was very talented, I don't think the audience could groove with it. His set lasted about 45 min.
Because the opener was all accoustic, there was about a 10-15 min break before Squeeze took the stage (no set change time). During this time my girlfriend and I were busy trying to find a better view of the stage. We couldn't. It was simply too packed. During Squeeze's opening number I was stuck holding a few tables for the group I was with (that lasted about 5 min and then I gave the spot up for standing room). The group I was with was watching the show from stage left over a small bar used to separate the drinkers from the non-drinkers. I managed to get a spot directly left of the band, but unfortunately was blocked by a french door. After some coaxing of the security guard and the manager of CH I managed to get the door opened so my friends and I could have an unobstructed view of the stage (we were literally at the edge of the stage). The view was fantastic and the sound we were getting was from the monitors on stage (as opposed to the PA system) which did very well considering our view.
What else can I say about the show? It was fantastic. Difford's harmonies were missed, but they sounded great nevertheless. They pretty much played the same set that was played in the show at Fort Worth so I wont go into that. Besides, with my hangover the way it is, it's hard to focus long enough to remember the order.
I grabbed my girlfriend to go out and dance by the time the band got to "Is That Love". We were able to get pretty close to the front. We danced and danced. Glenn invited the audience up on the stage after he had explained the ground rules. Everyone complied and had a great time. There must have been 30 people up there, all singing laughing and dancing. After 2 songs he very politely suggested fans resume watching the show from the floor, and the stage was clear in a few seconds. Four encore songs in all. including a call and response on "Black Coffee".
I hope Squeeze makes it back to Phoenix on there next tour. I have touted to friends that the Some Fantastic Place tour that hit Tempe in '94 was the BEST concert I have ever seen. This comes close but doesn't get the number one spot due to the segragation of the drinkers.
My shift is over and I need some sleep and to start an IV of aspirin.
If you're reading this from a city soon to be visited by Squeeze, Go, it's worth it!!!
Another great show by the boys (what a surprise!). First the play list:
Now for the juicy bits!
Glen stopped by a local radio station at lunch (Star 100) and chatted up the DJ (Anita Rush). Is it too much to ask these people to do 15 minutes of research before they embarrass themselves trying to interview someone that they practically know nothing about! It was obvious that the only two songs that she knew were "Tempted" and "Hourglass". And then she starting asking Glenn where he got all his ideas for those wonderful lyrics! Glenn corrected her and explained that it was his songwriting partner Chris who wrote the words and for the most the lyrics were part true and part fiction and the best for him (Glenn) was trying to figure the true bits from the made-up parts. She then asked him how "Tempted" got on the Reality Bites soundtrack and he said he didn't quite know. Someone rang him up and told him "by the way did you know 'Tempted' was on the Reality Bites soundtrack". He assumed it was all handled by his management. He then went on to proclaim how he would really like to be on the new Austin Powers soundtrack, since he liked the first movie so much, and if anyone listening had any pull with Mike Myers they should ring him up and let him know.
Well, hearing Glenn on the radio got me so fired up, I went straight to the Belly Up Tavern after work (I get off at 3:30) instead of going home first. I called my best friend and talked him into hanging out with before the show. So we get there about 5:00, parked right next to the tour bus (a nice purple number), broke out the boom box and started pumping out the Squeeze tunes. The first thing we noticed is the "Sorry, but this show is sold out" sign. Boy are we glad we got our tickets early. One guy joined us about 5:15 and we swapped Squeeze stories. About 5:30 some guy in a red and blue shirt comes walking out of the restaurant adjancent to the B.U.T. My friend looks at me and whispers "It's him"! I look again and sure enough who is walking towards us but Mr. Tilbrook himself. Being cool and sophisticated I blurt out "It's You!" and Glenn comes by and shakes our hands and ask "What's up guys". I tell him "We're just waiting for you Glenn" and he smiles and says "I hope it will be worth the wait" as goes over to the tour bus.
The doors open at 6:30 and the opening band hits the stage right at 8:00. They were a local band called "The Incredible Leroy Moses" (or maybe it was "The Incredible Moses Leroy"). They were a three piece band that you could tell hadn't been together for too long, but they had a couple of good pop songs. TILM left the stage at 8:40 and it took another 40 minutes to finish the set up for Squeeze.
The band comes out about 9:20 to a roaring ovation. For a Tuesday night the crowd was really pumped up and did a good job singing along with the older material. Glenn was actually pretty reticent during the show and kept the songs coming one right after the other. After "Another Nail" he acknowldged that we (the audience) might notice that someone is missing and explained that Chris had been having a stressful time of it and was back home resting up. Except for that and pointing out the new songs (especially when he did "To be a Dad" and "Without You Here" back to back - he called them the father medley) the hits just kept on coming.
Now I hate to be a nattering nabob of negativity, but, I thought some of the songs were a bit "thin" without Chris. Specifically "Prisoner" and "Melody Motel". One friend even commented that it was like listening to Squeeze with one of the channels turned off. Not that it didn't rock (to the point that me and some of the people that I went with tonight are seriously thinking of driving up the Coach House on Friday to see them again) but Chris was definitely missed.
There was the usual "pitch invasion" during "Footprints". Things got a bit out of hand as Glenn kept saying "I think we have enough dancers now" two or three times as the people kept pouring on to the stage. Poor Hilaire went and hid behind Ash and left Glenn to fend for himself at the front of the stage. The dancers were eventually shoo'ed of the stage as they finished the encore with "Annie" and "Black Coffee". Glenn did the call and response thing with "Black Coffee" and that went quite well (also when they did "Is That Love" the crowd was in full voice for the final "quiet" verse).
Well, I've got to be at work in 5 1/2 hours so that's all for now. A big thanks to Glenn, Chris H., Hilaire and Ash, a good time was had by all! And get well soon Chris D!
"Now wait a minute..." I've got something to say! The Solana Beach show at the Belly Up Tavern was more exceptional than the last (possibly still hungover and sleep deprived) reviewer may have lead you to believe!! Sorry I'm late, but I have just been reflecting on the events of the fabulous Tuesday night show (and working too much to take the time to share my thoughts!), and now I'm ready to spill my guts.
My husband and I arrived about 8:30PM and only heard part of the Moses Leroy/Leroy Moses opening act. I was very anxious to hit the T-shirt table, so I ran right over there. They didn't have any autographed CD's that night, but I gratefully purchased a copy of DOMINO anyway....hoping that I might be able to get an autograph later. I was glad that a previous reviewer mentioned the programs for the 1998 UK Tour as the listing of all the other acts they had preformed with over the last 25 years was quite interesting and the photos were great. So, armed with the un-signed CD, the program and the grey "Domino Pawprint" t-shirt, we set off for our seats in the loft area of the club. The loft was a great vantage point for the show. We could hear and see everyone in the band quite well and we were able to appreciate the excitement and size of the audience. I was frankly amazed at the number of people there. I have seen Squeeze three times in the San Diego area (have been living here only since 1993), and this crowd was into the performance more than any other (singing and dancing throughout) and appropriately "squeezed" into the hall...filling it up more than any other show I've attended at the Belly Up!!
"The Prisoner" is a great choice for starting off the show. It's a great showcase for the power and flexability of Glenn's voice. Since I have a tendency to appreciate the "crooner" side of Glenn's repertoire most, it's a particular delight to me to be reminded of the joys of his "pop" side. "If I Didn't Love You" and "Another Nail" set me to swooning and flashing back to the "old days" of my first Squeeze show 18 years ago. I really began to miss Chris D. on "IIDLY." One of the most interesting parts of this show was that it heightened my appreciation for his vocal contributions to the band. As much as I love Glenn and find ecstasy in his beautiful, clear tones... I missed the depth of sound that Chris's harmonies provide. "Domino" was great...a little bluesy and modern. I had not yet heard the new album, so hearing this first song made me anxious to pop it into the CD player ASAP! "It's Over" was very good live. Really heartfelt and moving, with the shifting tempos. I was really impressed by the opening arrangement on "Walk Away." It really added to the dreamy quality of the song and showed off the band in a "not-obviously-showing-off-the-band/ organ-bass-drum-solo-of-the-night" way. WOW! I wish that song had gotten some airplay over here...it really deserves more of a following.
The next few songs, "S.F.P.," "Tempted" and "Up The Junction" saw the crowd warm up a little more. They became a bouncing and waving ocean below us. I should mention that there were three or four guys sitting next to us that looked and acted like record company guys...possibly scouting for the coveted U.S. distribution?? I hope so! The next few songs were also from DOMINO and were well received. "Melody Motel" always seems to get everyone back up on their toes, and tuesday night was no exception to the rule. Chris H.'s spotlight performance of "Let The Good Times Roll" was really fun. My husband was so impressed by his performance all night...particularly on the Hammond Organ. I am still hearing about it four days later!! After that, lots of old favorites, pretty true to the recorded versions...."Take Me I'm Yours," "Third Rail," "Is That Love," "Goodbye Girl." The crowd seemed most hardcore to me on "Mussels." Although I have heard the crowd "sing along" rising to accompany Glenn on "Tempted" and "Black Coffee In Bed" many times, I have never seem a group that seemed to know and sing out ALL the words to this song so perfectly...not just "behind the chalet, the holiday's complete." I was really moved. I made me feel good to see and hear so many people just really LOVING these men.
They left the stage after "Mussels" and I made ready for the invitation to dance on stage (as I had read the fan reviews of the previous night's shows, I was ready!!). Surprisingly, Glenn said nothing before beginning to sing "Footprints." I was a little disappointed until, when the song ended, he started in on the familiar ground rules. I must say that I did stay in my seat...but I'm glad I did because it allowed me to appreciate the energy down there. All I could think was that I hoped at least one show was taped for the guys so they could really see what was going on down there! It was a total Joy-Fest! "Hourglass" became the soundtrack to a pseudo-soroity/fraternity party. I can imagine that it felt like the floor would give way beneath them. Everyone was bouncing and jumping in unison. It became even more of a party when Glenn started the old favorite, "Annie Get Your Gun." Eventually the security staff started calling everyone back off the stage, and "Black Coffee In Bed" was done in the same style (in general) as the last few times I've seen them...with the audience singing and repeating a series of rhythmic "Oh, Oh, OOOOH's!" with Glenn. Everyone was on their feet when they exited the stage, shouting "goodbyes" and "thanks."
Overall it was a great show. Glenn and the band were very tight and seemed comfortable together on stage. The new material went over very well (better than on the tour for S,F,P. in my opinion) and hopefully a new U.S. contract will be the result.
THANKS TO ALL IN THE BAND FOR THE GIFT OF YOUR MUSIC!!
I have been a Squeeze fan for about 18 years now and have seen them 9 or 10 times through the years (9 or 10 because I was a bit smashed at the Babylon and On dates and I'm not sure that counts). Anyway, I definitely enjoyed the show last night even without Chris. I was suprised that some of the other members didn't attempt much background vocals. Glenn was pretty much on his own as far as the singing and proved to be very capable. It seemed toward the end of the show that they were hurrying through the songs to wrap the whole thing up. The quickened pace, in my opinion, took something away from some of the slower songs i.e. To Be A Dad. Although, the crowd was more subdued than on the Ridiculous tour, the true fans were evident right from the get go. Here is the set list from the best of my memory. Some may be a bit out of order. My apologies.
UP THE JUNCTION
ANOTHER NAIL FOR MY HEART
IF I DIDN'T LOVE YOU
TO BE A DAD
WITHOUT YOU HERE
TAKE ME I'M YOUIRS
SLEEPING WITH A FRIEND
LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL
IS THAT LOVE
ANNIE GET YOUR GUN
FIRST THING WRONG
BLACK COFFEE IN BED
SLAP AND TICKLE
From Kristine Briggs:
Let me start out by saying that I had such an amazing time at The Galaxy that I just bought tickets for Friday's show at The Coach House! Were it not for the conspicuous absence of one Mr. Difford, I could easily say this was the best Squeeze show I've seen since becoming a fan more than 10 years ago.
The energy level of the entire band was electric, and they looked like they were having just as much fun as the capacity crowd at The Galaxy. Bounding onto the stage at about 9:15, they went straight into a Squeeze classic (and aren't they all!), "Up the Junction." The set list stayed pretty much the same as the other shows, mixed up a bit, and was the perfect mixture of old and new.
Super highlights of the show included an incredible "Take Me I'm Yours," made up of skillful solos by each of the band members. As always, Tilbrook's guitar playing never ceases to amaze, and the newest band members made fast fans of the Orange County crowd. Another favorite was a rocking rendition of "Melody Motel," which was started off with big smiles from the band - you could tell it was a favorite of theirs, too. The new songs have that special Squeeze touch, and becoming a quick sentimental favorite of mine is "To Be A Dad," which Tilbrook puts his heart into.
As many people have already pointed out, Tilbrook's distinct voice has just gotten better over the years, and it's totally apparent he's having a great time out there performing. Difford was missed, but he was absolutely there in spirit through his brilliant lyrics that Tilbrook is so quick to credit. The two have been together so long that a real Squeeze fan can't have one without the other, and Difford is always in our thoughts during his recovery. You should have seen the grin on Tilbrook as he sang Difford's special line in "Tempted" like a tribute to his friend.
By now everyone has heard about the real highlight of the show when Tilbrook invites the fan's onstage. Let me tell you - I barely have the guts to dance at a friend's wedding reception, but I jammed up on that stage (without my friend, I might add!) and I had the time of my life! What a thrill to share the stage with my favorite band of all time! Everyone was well-behaved (accept the drunk guy who was quickly introduced to security!), and the guys looked like they had a good time, too. I highly recommend that you jump up there, too - it's awesome! (Although I wonder what's going to happen on the shoebox stage at The Coach House...)
But wait, there's more - A big Thank You to the all the guys in the band who are always so great to their fans in the whole meet-n-greet deal. A small but loyal group gathered after the show to wait for autographs and such, and the guys hung-out for awhile to chat about the tour and what's up with Squeeze. Yes, guys, I was the nerd-girl with the camera, and photos with the band just about made my whole life, so thanks for putting up with me!
See you at The Coach House!!!
From Dan Fryman:
Back in 1980 I was shopping in a record store called "Licorice Pizza". Creative name! Don't you think so? The store was playing a song that made the hair follicles on my arms tingle. Who could this be? After asking the store clerk the name of artist of this fine tune, it turned out to be Squeeze's "If I Didn't Love You". I immediately bought the vinyl single and my admiration for Chris and Glenn's insightful and eloquent music began. Hearing the song 19 years later live last night at the Galaxy Theater was sheer bliss. Ah, the Galaxy! Once a dinner theater that catered to the patrons of show such as "King And I", "South Pacific", "Oklahoma" etc. Now a concert venue that covers a wide range of musical artists. Tonight's performance - Vanilla Ice! Ugh! After entering the venue around 8:45, I stopped by the merchandise table and proceeded to buy all items available. As some of my fellow reviewers have mentioned, the items are very generous in quality and content. Love the grey t-shirt with paw prints! As I entered the concert area, the opening band had just left the stage. I asked the bartender how they were and her response was a subtle pinch to the nose. I suppose I was to take that gesture as to be they were "bad".
Around 9:00PM the band arrives on stage to a warm welcomed applause. They launch straight into "Up The Junction" and a wide Cheshire cat grin is on my face. The band sounds great. Good song selections and a very well paced show. During "Domino", Glenn tells the audience on the reason for the absence of Chris and says that he is resting comfortably back home and is in our "hearts and minds". Of the new songs performed, I really enjoyed "Domino" and "Sleeping With A Friend". What can you say about gems like "Nail", "Mussels", Goodbye Girl"? Delicious! Glenn, as usual was in fine voice and playing his guitar like there was no tomorrow. Chris H. shined during "Melody Motel" and Hilaire on "Take Me, I'm Yours". Ash, like a cardiologist, kept the beats and rhythm going throughout the concert. Chris D.- get well soon!! The bit where the members of the audience come up on stage during "Footprints" added a nice touch to the show. Everyone needs fifteen minutes of fame once in a while.
Speaking of the audience, I was slighty disappointed by the enthusiasm for most of the concert but towards the end of the set and encore the crowd really took the ball and chains off their ankles and got into it. Thank you Squeeze for a fine introspective performance! The follicles are still tingling!!
From Robert Moss:
After a couple days reflection, I thought I would offer my report on the Santa Ana show which I was lucky enough to attend.
The show was awesome! Glenn was in great voice and seemed to be in great spirits. You get the feeling watching him that he really loves what he does. And he looked very dapper in his (untucked) blue shirt and iridescent olive green suit.
I missed Chris, but it was a joy to watch Glenn sing and play as only he can. There are few better guitarists out there. You come away from his performance thinking, "Man, he deserves far more fame and fortune than he has!" Yet, in a selfish way, how lucky are we as fans who realize his great talents. We can go to a club that holds no more than 500, and five minutes before the show starts, walk right up to the front of the stage to be only inches away from such an enormously talented performer.
I was really impressed with the rest of the band as well. Ash and Hilaire make for a really tight rhythm section and Chris Holland definitely reminds me of Jools (except that he seems to have a bit more reserved personality).
The new songs sounded great, esp. Domino, Little King, and the beautiful Without You Here. It had been some time since I had seen Squeeze live (Babylon and On Tour), so I heard them play quite a few songs for the first time. I really liked the live version of It's Over alot better than the studio version--more up-tempo live. It was also great to hear Walk Away and Third Rail.
All in all, a great night capped off by the usual stage dancing that this tour is now famous for. I, of course, knew it was coming, but I heard a lot of people in the crowd make comments like "Wow, I've never seen a band do that before." It really seemed to make a connection with the crowd.
Great show that I will alway have great memories of. I hope I don't have to wait 12 years to see them again!
What can i say, although the thoughts of my impeding old age were apparent
last night, it did not seem to be the same way for Glenn. There is no doubt
the night was certainly missing the irreplaceable Chris, Glenn and the
boys certainly worked hard to keep the night
I am from New Jersey, right outside NYC and i have had the honor of seeing the boys many time in the New York area. I was under the illusion that we held the title of the states biggest Squeeze fans, well LA may give us a run.
In the House of Blues on the infamous Sunset Strip, the night opened up with a swing like band called Big Rude Jake from Toronto. They were very good and a great start to a retro evening.I must confess, I had illusions of Chris coming out with the boys when the curtain went up, but Glenn certainly has filled in nicely. The energy and quality has not diminished and the fans were pleased, excited and just plain rocked, unlike the music of today.
The sound system and song selection was incredible as well the new stuff, which sounds new yet old. I being one of the originals of the early years longed for crazy songs like Vicky Verky knew that was not happening, but like the years that have past since my discovery of a band I would go on to see around 20 times the evening was filled with growth, respect and an admiration for one of the greatest bands I have ever seen live, and one of the most underrated bands of the last 20 years.
I am looking forward to Chris's return, but I would advise Squeeze fans everywhere to see the boys who after all these years, have not lost a step. Thanks for the many years of joy.
After taking in last night's (Feb 11) gig at LA's House of Blues, I wanted to pass along some comments...
I consider myself a pretty big Squeeze fan (going back to early '80s), but I have to say I was a little disappointed with last night's performance. Now before I get anyone here riled up, I should preface this by saying two things...
1> I was lucky enough to catch Squeeze (with Chris D.) only two months ago at one of the UK gigs at London's Shepherd's Bush (which was an a-w-e-s-o-m-e show!), so the thrill of seeing Squeeze after such a long time may have been tainted slightly.
2> Unfortunately, I had to leave at the end of the main set (didn't get to see the two encores which may have been better). I'm a nine to five kinda guy and my drive home from the House of Blues is long. Believe me, had I not seen them recently, I would've stayed to the end.
Having said this, the feeling I came away with last night was that Glenn and company really went through the motions in their performance. I didn't sense the same energy on stage last night that I felt only two months ago at Shepherd's Bush, or that I've been reading about in the reviews on this website. Granted, UK fans are much more fervent in their following of Squeeze, and LA people tend to be rather unenthusiastic fans no matter who they're watching, but the songs had more of a straightforward, studio version sound, rather than the playful live versions I've come to love.
The set list really did not stray from the Solana Beach show and Glenn again made sure to acknowledge the absence of Chris on a couple of occasions. All in all, I'm always thrilled to hear Glenn & co., but I have very high expectations...
I'm really curious to see what others who were there last night have to say, but to anyone else who's waiting to see them, definitely don't miss the show!!
I just spoke to my buddies who stayed for the remainder of last night's show at House of Blues. Apparently, things did pick up towards the end of the show, with Glenn inviting the crowd to join him on stage during "Black Coffee in Bed."
One of those joining the group on stage and who was allowed to break one of the rules ("no singing into a microphone") was Cyndi Lauper, who joined Glenn in the finale.
From Heidi Sackerson:
Big Rude Jake was the opening act for Squeeze at the House o' Blues last night -- six-piece swing band, not *really* the kind of music you associate with Squeeze, but the audience really dug them, and I have to say, they swung to the maximum, daddy.
Squeeze was AWESOME, naturally. I met up with Cathi Entwhistle and Stephanie before the show, and just before the opening act we managed to meet up with Kate and Vic (all the way from the UK), thanks to a little intervention from Debra.
And YES, that was Cyndi Lauper up on stage during the encore, shaking her booty with a legion of Squeeze fans! She sang a couple lines of "Black Coffee" with Glenn and did her best despite not really knowing the words ("Now she's gone, I'm back on my feet..."), and the audience whooped and hollered for her.
I didn't get a set list, and didn't want to be totally geeky and write down everything they played, but I can tell you the set consisted of the standard hits ("Tempted," "Another Nail," "Up the Junction," "Hourglass," "Take Me I'm Yours") and some pleasant surprises ("The Prisoner," "It's Over," "Walk Away," "Slap and Tickle"). Jools -- whoops, I mean Chris H.! -- ripped it up with a cover of "Let the Good Times Roll." Man, he is a dead ringer for his brother.
The place was packed, and the show was high energy throughout. All in all, a successful and thoroughly entertaining evening. My ears are still buzzing. Oh, yes, and the obligatory fashion report -- Glenn was in the black suit with the black shirt, this seems to be the new standard. And his shoes looked suspiciously like Doc Martens.
Despite Chris' absence, the band put on a top-notch show that highlighted Glenn's crystal clear lead vocals in such selections as "The Prisoner" "It's Over" and "Third Rail." Glenn mentioned his partner several times during the evening and we gave Chris enthusiastic applause when Glenn acknowledged him during band introductions at the end of the main set. Glenn pointed to a space on the floor to his left and then stood in it asking us to applaud for his partner who usually "stands right here!"
I must say that although I found the band to be full of energy, I agree with Jeff White that certain songs are thin and lonely sounding without Chris; notably, "If I Didn't Love You" "Take Me" and "Slap and Tickle," although I won't complain about "Slap and Tickle" because I had never heard it performed at any of the shows I've seen since 1988.
Glenn's sterling guitar work stood out on both "Take Me" and "Footprints,"
the latter of which featured a particularly blazing "clean channel" solo.
I noticed that Glenn added a lot of suspends and extra fills (I assume
to compensate for the absence of Chris' guitar) and several songs, such
as "Walk Away" and "Goodbye Girl," had new and different guitar textures.
Hilaire showcased his talents in "Take Me" with an extended bass solo that
The encore was a separate party/show in itself due in no small part to Glenn inviting a dozen or two completely anonymous fans (with varying blood-alcohol levels) onto the stage to dance in the background. Somehow I made my way to the stage and found myself dancing among other jovial "extras" between Hilaire and Glenn to "Hourglass." Moments later, I realized I was dancing with my arm around Cyndi Lauper!!! It was like some kind of deliciously surreal '80s music video . . . I wasn't completely convinced it was Cyndi Lauper until she began singing and her powerful voice blasted through a few fans who had commandeered Hilaire's microphone on "Black Coffee." Cyndi's guest appearance was wonderfully spontaneous and it looked as though she thoroughly enjoyed herself, despite having to endure people like me dancing around her!!
Glenn held a dance contest and said he'd take the two winners out for a night on the town. One man began kicking his legs emphatically in an Irish jig or something. Glenn loved it. He exclaimed, "It's brilliant!" This man was one of the winners.
Although any Squeeze performance without Mr. Difford is necessarily diminished, the show rocked just fine with the four-man crew. I was very pleasantly surprised by Chris Holland's singing. His voice sounds like a mix between Glenn and Jools, but it is unique and a welcome addition to the repertoire. I think he is absolutely the perfect Squeeze band member for the next millennium; his genetic link to Jools and his musical link to Squeeze over the years provides a comforting heir/apprentice element to the band.
Also, the sound technician informed me the show was being recorded for liveconcerts.com, so be on the lookout . . .
I hope Chris is well rested and gearing up for another U.S. tour later this year, which hopefully will include venues in the Midwest.
The instant Glenn Tilbrook took the stage at the HOB, it was evident
something (or someone rather) was amiss.
“If I were in your shoes,” Tilbrook said after a tight run through “Another Nail In My Heart” that was bereft of Difford’s frog-in-the-throat harmony, “I’d be wondering, ‘Where’s the other one?’ ”
At that point…utter silence. One could essentially hear a pin drop.
“Well, when it came time to leave for the airport,” Tilbrook explained, “Chris was having a stressful time of it and check himself into a clinic. He’s fine now and at home resting.” According to squeezefan.com, Difford had taken ill and unfortunately was not onboard for any dates of the tour.
“And we wondered,” Tilbrook continued, “ ‘Should we cancel or carry on?’ ”
And there you have it. So it begins.
Tilbrook, decked out in a black suit (in honor of Difford, I’m sure), looked smart from his Cesar hair-do, complete with sideburns, down to his Dr. Marten’s boots. He was in top form and played with confidence throughout. The high level of energy he maintained was palpable. His guitar work was amazing, with lightening-fast fingers as measureless as the sand on the seashore.
New songs “To Be a Dad” and “Without You Here” (which Tilbrook labeled the ‘Father Medley’) were lovely as can be.
“Domino” was a treat as well (“Blacked out and wasted…”), and Christopher Holland shined taking over lead vocals on the jazzy “Let the Good Times Roll.”
The new line-up—five-string bassist Hilaire Penda, leather trousered-drummer Ash Soan and keyboardist Holland—proved more than capable and pepped up classics such as “Up the Junction,” “Goodbye Girl” and “Pulling Mussels (From the Shell).” Although I must say, Difford was sadly missed.
Another past favorite, “Is that Love,” went quite well as the crowd was in (far from) perfect harmony for the final acappella verse.
Looking for chaos during the encore, which included “Footprints,” “Hourglass” and “Annie Get Your Gun,” Tilbrook enlisted the help of some dancers.
“Now if you’re really drunk…I’d think twice,” Tilbrook warned. “Because you could either be really brilliant or really sad.”
Roughly 30 people acquiesced and hopped on stage. Interestingly enough, among them was Cyndi Lauper. With tambourine in hand, she did an impromptu duet to end “Black Coffee in Bed” on a fun note.
After 25 years together, and their 13th studio album, when it comes to writing brilliant, affectionate mini-dramas, Difford & Tilbrook are still the best around. Pop isn’t dead, people…it’s just obfuscated. God bless you, Chris D.
A handful of fans hung round afterwards. I chatted with the band and of course had them autograph my tour program. Incidentally, my brother was along and flashed the SQUEEZE tattoo he has on his groin. Needless to say, the lot of them loved it. I’ve seen the band live more than 20 times…fantastic bunch of blokes. Tilbrook’s jovial disposition, and self-deprecating sense of humor, proves unswervingly that you can indeed catch more flies with honey. Top one, mate.
Opening swing act, Big Rude Jake, was a bit vulgar, indeed. So, that’s all I’m gonna say about that. Cheers!
On Friday night, our favorite guys made a surprise appearance onstage at Jon Brion's (formerly of the Grays) Friday night gig at Largo.
Glenn and company had performed the night before (and Brion was in attendance), and were invited to come down to Jon's gig. At about 2 am, when the club usually closes, Jon Brion asked the audience if they could sit through another hour of music. We all agreed, and he announced that Squeeze was in the house.
He said a few words eluding to the fact that Squeeze was one of his major musical influences as a younger musician, and that it was a complete honor to have them there.
Without further ado, Glenn and co. joined Jon and played the following songs:
-God Only Knows
It was excellent. Bravo!
Along with Grant Lee Phillips, Colin Hay and genius jazz pianist Brad Mehldau, the currently-in-the-States portion of Squeeze sat in with Jon Brion at his weekly Friday night free-for-all.
The setlist for the Squeeze part:
(Jon on piano, Glenn on vocals and guitar)
(Hilaire and Ash are called on stage... this part rocked beyond belief)
(Sometime around here, they got Chris H. up, and Jon switched to guitar and Diffordesque backing vocals)
-Pulling Mussels From A Shell
This was without a doubt among the most fun shows I've seen... well... ever. I've seen Jon play probably over 100 times, and I've seen him play with a lot of musicians he respects, and - bearing in mind that he isn't generally a surly chap - I have *never* seen him look as genuinely happy as he did during the last four songs. One suspects he may have longed to fill in for Chris for years now... ;-)