By Nicholas Burford
The mood was set for this Squeeze warm-up gig, as we were warmly welcomed in the Sub Rooms reception by the two gents working front of house; underlining how inclusive our society should be…
At precisely 8:30pm, fittingly the poet Elvis McGonagall introduced Squeeze to the stage to a more than warm welcome. It was fitting a word-obsessed poet should announce Squeeze as the band are one of the great lyrical bands, who with the help of Chris Difford, know how to deftly use words to communicate and connect.
After walking out to the centre of the stage frontman Glenn Tilbrook, simply stated; “Here we go.” From here on in we never allowed our attention to drift. The highly impressive performance which ensued, highlighted the band’s readiness – with more than a flight case of experience – they were clearly ready for their up-coming complementary role with the Madness tour. Suited and booted, the band led by Tilbrook and Difford were in full control and the audience savoured the opportunity to celebrate the past and rejoice in the present. Even when Tilbrook suggested he had lost control momentarily with a guitar solo that would have provoked a Mexican-wave of head-banging at Knebworth – we knew we were in the presence of a highly polished outfit.
The polished musicianship on display alluded again to the band’s legacy as they have been playing together, on and off – new members accepted – since the new wave period of the late seventies. The near-telepathic performance was enhanced by the relatively new members. The inclusion of the stiletto-blade thin keyboard player Stephen Large allowed the songs to blossom and flower. The modish, slim jim tie-wearing keyboardist was at times as lost in a musical reverie as the watching captive audience.
Tilbrook’s voice after all these years is still as captivating.
The audience expected and received all of the songs that had narrated their lives pinpointing the highs and lows. From the country-tinged ballad, “Labelled with Love” to “Cool for Cats” that allowed us to revel in the 70s preoccupation with, well, getting on with life.
As I walked out on this midwinter’s evening, the warmth of the evening’s entertainment wrapped itself around me, as I involuntarily hummed all the way to my digs.
The Swilgate Scuttler