Photos and Live Review: Squeeze @ Chastain Park 9/16/23

Photos by Gail Fountain

Review By Drew Fountain

Squeeze’s music is upbeat, very British, with wordy lyrics describing failed relationships, upbeat melodies and memorable, singable ditties. Four decades later, founders and singers Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford still have friendship, harmonies, and the new members can deliver with the same deliberate passion.

The set opened with the opening track from Babylon and On, the harmonious “Take Me I’m Yours.” On “Hourglass”, Tilbrook rocked the finale using fancy guitar chops. When the band played their 1979 single “Up The Junction”, Tilbrook’s vocals delivered the lyrical ballad with clear British diction.
Next, Difford opened his songbook and offered a choice cut from Argybargy, “Here Comes That Feeling”. Tilbrook retorted with a track from the When the Wind Blows soundtrack,  “What Have They Done?”

Difford and Tilbrook used distinct harmonies on “If I Didn’t Love You”. It was a treat to hear them share those stories of lost love and misplaced affection. Next, Tilbrook played the bouncy “Another Nail in My Heart”, energizing the crowd. Afterwards, the pace slowed down with the graceful flow of “Vanity Fair”, then switched to the herky-jerky rhythms and off-kilter lyrics of “Slap and Tickle”.  During the bridge, Difford and bassist Owen Biddle huddled center stage and jammed.  As the song ended, Tilbrook rubbed the mic up the guitar neck, making a crunchy sound.

Tilbrook pulled out the nostalgic “Electric Trains” and “Goodbye Girl” and everyone sang along. The drummer Simon Hanson was very animated with some hand percussion, then tossed it to percussionist Steve Smith, who played two tambourines simultaneously through a few songs.  
After an energetic rendition of the song “Annie Get Your Gun,” there was a clean transition into the word tapestry song “Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)”. The band sounded wonderful, and the drummer and percussionist performed in sync.

Tilbrook slowed it down, leading into Difford’s “Tempted”.  Everyone was standing, smiling, and singing along to the confession about infidelity.  

Suddenly, the band rolled into fast paced, playful bass/guitar chops, with tightly woven Cockney vocals for “Cool for Cats “. The chorus’ harmonies were spectacular. Large became especially bouncy, almost bobbing his head into the keyboard. 
After rousing audience applause,  there was another singalong with the big hit “Black Coffee in Bed”. Afterwards were solos and introductions, and the band closed out the set with the lyrical hopscotch of “Is That Love” with an energetic audience call and response. The band said good night and finally closed the evening with a reprise chorus of “Black Coffee in Bed”. 

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