Roberta Parkin, Redferns The version of Squeeze touring this summer with Cheap…
- Posted on Jul 14th 2010 10:00AM by Kenneth Partridge
It took about three notes of 'Black Coffee in Bed,' the evening's opener, for the audience to spring to its feet. Recorded in 1982, as Squeeze's transition from twitchy New Wave technicians to soulful power-pop masters was nearly complete, 'Black Coffee' somehow missed the US pop charts. Tuesday's ticketholders were plenty familiar with the song, though, and during the second verse, they shouted its signature background vocals, echoing "hardly contain," "joy and the pain," "fire in my eyes" and "new love tonight," the phrases that end each line.
An unmistakable synth gurgle and militaristic drum-box beat signaled the start of the next tune, 'Take Me, I'm Yours,' which featured vocals from both Chris Difford, the man responsible for writing all of Squeeze's lyrics, and Glenn Tilbrook, the group's musical mastermind. The crowd remained standing through 'Annie Get Your Gun,' patterned after the Eddie Cochran rockabilly classics 'Summertime Blues' and 'C'mon Everybody,' but took a breather during the ballad 'When the Hangover Strikes.'
Other stand-up standouts included 'Goodbye Girl,' on which bassist John Bentley and drummer Simon Hanson played hand percussion, their usual duties usurped by synths, and the strutting 'Cool for Cats.' Tilbrook has always been a far better guitarist than Squeeze's songs require, and while he usually reigns in his playing, he unleashed a bluesy fake-out riff at the start of 'Up the Junction,' perhaps the most poignant tune in the Squeeze catalog. He took similar liberties with the opening bars of 'Tempted,' an immensely popular song that stalled at No. 49 back in 1981.
The musicians lined up like runners and sprinted onto the stage for their encore reading of 'Pulling Mussels (From the Shell),' a tune they'd performed hours earlier on the set of 'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,' amazing the host with keyboardist Stephen Large's use of an iPad as a musical instrument.