The Governor Hindmarsh Hotel, Mon 30 Apr.
It’s standing room only at The Gov this evening. All of the tables and chairs have been removed, in anticipation of a bumper crowd. Whomever it is that works these things out has got it right, because the place is fairly heaving. The band arrives on stage and launches into a typically well-crafted pop song, Please Be Upstanding, from 2017’s The Knowledge album. From there it’s back to 1980 for the classic Pulling Mussels (From The Shell) and then forward again to 2017 and Patchouli. This approach to the setlist sets the tone for the evening; it’s great to see a band that isn’t afraid of its past or its present. The vocal gymnastics of Hourglass test the crowd’s collective singalong memory, while Final Score and Rough Ride demonstrate that lyrically (as well as musically) Squeeze’s songs are as incisive as ever.
Annie Get Your Gun, Labelled With Love and Another Nail In My Heart are contrasted with Cradle To The Grave and Albatross and the result is pleasing.
Yolanda Charles is fabulous on bass, while Simon Hanson (drums) and Steve Smith (percussion) provide some stunning foundations. Smith also plays guitar and, on occasion, provides a Chris Difford-esque voice to complete the signature Squeeze dual vocal sound. Difford hasn’t made the tour because of a serious fear of flying. Stephen Large on keyboards adds plenty of flourish as well as a little novelty, most notably during his solo in Take Me I’m Yours. Glenn Tilbrook’s voice and guitar are simply brilliant.
It’s a consistently well executed set; most of the songs, old and new, sound brilliant. Departure Lounge seems to slip out of focus for a moment or two, and the show seems to get louder to the point of the sound beginning to break up, but no-one minds.
Goodbye Girl, Up The Junction and Slap And Tickle signal the climax of the set, before the band returns for an encore featuring three more classic Squeeze numbers. Cool For Cats and Is That Love are rapturously received. Tilbrook seems relaxed and happy, but the band doesn’t stop to do much talking. Getting through 23 songs in about little over 90 minutes is pretty good going, especially when the finale, Black Coffee In Bed, accounts for 10 of them.
All up this has been a great night out for all concerned. Squeeze have demonstrated the enduring quality of the music, while the newer songs show that there is still, most likely, much to add to the canon. The next record just might be the best yet.
by David Robinson
Image courtesy of David Robinson