This was only my second outing to see Squeeze. I fell in love with them two years ago when I first saw them live and had wondered how I had missed out all these years. This time there was no question - I knew I would go and they are so considerate by playing Milton Keynes makes it a no-brainer as its on my doorstep.
The support were Nine Below Zero. I had not heard of them before and with their logo looking like Footlocker shop brand, I had no idea what I was about to hear. However, once you have seen them you will not forget them. They play a blues, soul mix with a small brass section and an amazing harmonica player. I was hugely impressed and it’s not easy to impress me. They thanked us for coming in early to hear them. Stormy Monday, sung by Charlie was breath-taking. It really did show off all the band’s talents and contained all the elements that a blues track should . Charlie is not only an amazing singer, she is mesmerising to watch. Barefoot and a simple black dress, she is so in tune with the music that she dances like someone has been plugged into the amp. If you cut her in half you would see that soul and blues runs right through her like a stick of rock. The band were all very talented musicians and I found myself thinking this is the best support band I’ve ever seen. Dennis Greaves is an awesome guitar player. He really rocked the joint. If you are yet to see Squeeze on tour – get there early and catch this fab band.
You could feel the anticipation build during the interval awaiting Squeeze and it was palpable. The new album had not yet been released so I would be hearing some of the new songs for the very first time. They opened with Take Me I’m Yours. Everyone was singing along although as Milton Keynes is a seated venue we didn’t get up as we had been told by staff not to (so that those in wheelchairs could see the stage).
Of course, Chris and Glenn lead us through a mix of wonderful tracks, both new and old. New tracks included Innocence In Paradise, A&E, Rough Ride and Departure Lounge mixed in amongst all the well-known tracks you expect such as Is That Love, Up The Junction and Slap and Tickle. I loved the version of Labelled With Love which was done in a country style with the harmonica player from nine below zero, Mark Feltham. Goodbye Girl also had a restyling and was delivered in a tropical style. They also played another of my favourites Cradle To The Grave. The graphic screen behind them was often hypnotising and I had to remember that actually I wanted to watch Squeeze and not the screen. Great work by the graphics guys to have that power over our senses. Simon Hanson was having a whale of a time on the drums and it did make me laugh when he threw up his drumsticks and one hit him on the head.
There didn’t seem to be a huge amount of interaction with the audience but that just meant we got pure Squeeze music and that felt good. The encore included Black Coffee In Bed and we were on our feet singing and dancing and the whole theatre was buzzing. We didn’t want it to end. Sadly, there was no meet and greet unlike two years ago, which did leave me a bit disappointed – but the gig was awesome.
The Knowledge album is released on 13 October 2017 and further details of the tour can be found here: http://www.squeezeofficial.com/shows/