Squeeze, Rejuvenated, Treat Fans to Standout Show

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Buoyed by the addition of two new band members and a new studio album, The Knowledge, Squeeze began their “Join the Dots” tour earlier this autumn with dates in their native U.K. Four shows into their quick 13-date U.S. jaunt, the rejuvenated group arrived in New York City on Nov. 19 to play the Beacon Theatre, a mid-sized venue that they have played numerous times.

Squeeze, Beacon Theatre, NYC, November 19, 2017 (Photo: Greg Brodsky)

This reviewer has seen the band–or its co-founder Glenn Tilbrook solo–perform live perhaps a dozen times at venues large (Madison Square Garden in 1982) and small (Tilbrook at the 184-seat Joe’s Pub in the East Village in 2009).

Co-founders Difford (R) and Tilbrook (L) with keyboardist Large, Beacon Theatre (Photo: Greg Brodsky)

The 2017 version of Squeeze tops any other. Hands down. Whether it’s the recent addition of bassist Yolanda Charles and percussionist Steve Smith, or the skills (and on-stage antics) of the now-veteran extraordinary duo of keyboardist Stephen Large and drummer Simon Hanson, Tilbrook and the band’s co-founder (and co-songwriter) Chris Difford have created a live performance that tops all other editions.

With five of the evening’s first eight songs from 2017’s pleasing The Knowlege still unfamiliar to most in attendance, the band wisely interspersed three lively fan favorites into the early part of their set. Moments after the top-notch opening song, “Please Be Understanding” ended, the crowd rose to their feet as soon as they heard the familiar first notes of “Pulling Mussels (From a Shell).”

After another new song came “Hourglass.” (If you knew that Squeeze earned just three songs on the U.S. Hot 100 with “Hourglass” their biggest chart success here, raise your hand. At that 1982 MSG gig, their longtime label flew in dozens of U.S. radio programmers to show them first-hand how popular they were in New York. Sadly, Top 40 programmers never embraced them.) “Hourglass,” always a crowd pleaser, featured playful images on the stage’s backdrop and earned a huge ovation.

Difford’s unbelievably low register on “Cool For Cats” is always a highlight. Smith and Large were also standouts here.

Next up was 1980’s “Another Nail in My Heart,” one of the best (among many) of Difford and Tilbrook’s compositions, with their trademark clever lyrics: I’ve been such a fool, I’ve loved and goodbyed. It’s performance was the evening’s standout.

Later, their first single, from 1978, “Take Me I’m Yours,” was performed with all six members in a row, military style, with Large swapping his keyboards for an accordion and Hanson and Smith strapping on portable drums.

The set ended with 1978’s “Slap and Tickle.” In concert, the song is dominated by Hanson and Smith’s lively percussion and Large banging away on the keys, and is the closest Squeeze gets to doing extended solos on stage.

With so much new material, the setlist left almost no room for songs from their now-deep catalog. (“Labelled With Love” or “In Quintessence,” anyone?) But if the reception to the new stuff was any indication, expect more material and return visits from the rejuvenated band.

Squeeze, Beacon Theatre, New York City, November 19, 2017 Setlist

Please Be Understanding
Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)
Patchouli
Hourglass
Final Score
Rough Ride
Annie Get Your Gun
Innocence in Paradise
Cradle to the Grave
Nirvana
Cool For Cats
Another Nail in My Heart
Departure Lounge
Albatross
Take Me I’m Yours
Tempted
Wicked and Cruel
Goodbye Girl
Up the Junction
If I Didn’t Love You
Slap and Tickle

Encore
Is That Love
Black Coffee in Bed

Kudos to audience member “Larry Rulz” for the outstanding videos!

Related: Our interview with Glenn Tilbrook

Squeeze Fall U.S. Tourhere (Tickets are available  and here)

Nov 24 – Akron, OH – Goodyear Theater
Nov 25 – Chicago, IL – Vic Theatre
Nov 26 – Royal Oak, MI – Royal Oak Music Theater
Nov 28 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
Nov 29 – Port Chester, NY – Capitol Theatre
Dec 02 – Huntington, NY – The Paramount

Squeeze 2018 Australia Tour

Apr 26 – Brisbane – The Tivoli
Apr 27 – Sydney – Metro Theatre
Apr 28 – Melbourne – The Forum
Apr 30 – Adelaide – The Gov
May 1 – Perth – Astor Theatre

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Greg Brodsky

Greg Brodsky

Best Classic Bands Founder/CEO Greg Brodsky earned his first professional bylines as a reporter for the music trade weekly Record World. He still has all his vinyl albums and enjoys going to flea markets and garage sales to grow his collection.
Greg Brodsky
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  1. Mike Cote
    #1 Mike Cote 23 November, 2017, 09:07

    Sounds like a great show. I hope they get back to the Boston area soon. When I saw Squeeze once in Boulder (without Difford in the lineup) he invited the audience to come on stage to dance at the end of the show. So many people up there you could barely see the band.

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  2. Smithy
    #2 Smithy 25 November, 2017, 11:56

    Hi Greg,
    Thank you for such a positive review. The show that night was a highlight for all of us.
    I want to thank you personally for your kind words about the percussion.
    All the best
    Steve smith

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