Squeeze performing their Join The Dots Tour at The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham on Friday 20th October 2017

Images and review by Kevin Cooper

Squeeze have been through several line ups since they first formed in 1974, at one time counting both Jools Holland and Paul Carrack amongst their ranks. But its mainstays have always been the brilliant song writing partnership of Chris Difford and Glenn Tillbrook and that brilliance was clearly on show at the Royal Concert Hall last night.

Whilst the Ivor Novella Award winning duo did go their separate ways in 1998 to concentrate on different projects, they came back together in 2007 and they haven’t looked back. Touring to promote their latest album, Knowledge, this Join The Dots Tour features their old mates and blues legends, Nine Below Zero as their special guests.

The band which comprises Yolanda Charles on bass, percussionist Steve Smith, Stephen Large on keyboards and drummer Simon Hanson, were on top form and the night’s opening number, new song Please Be Upstanding gave them the chance to join Difford and Tillbrook for exquisite six part harmonies.

The band performed a selection of their new songs such as the slow melodic A & E which was definitely not dedicated to Jeremy Hunt and Rough Ride which included an opera singer and children’s choir on the effectively used video backdrop. But it was the oldies that the crowd had come to hear and Squeeze did not disappoint.

With the sound being understated early on, it was good that this audience knew all of the words, as Pulling Mussels (From A Shell) came early on, as did Annie Get Your Gun and Hourglass which was faultlessly tight and stuffed with heavy harmonies.

Cradle To The Grave was a particular highlight with its uplifting mandolin and the drum heavy oldie, Wicked And Cruel sounded really refreshed. But it was a relaxed Nottingham audience that spent the first hour of the gig enjoying the comfort of their seats until Difford suggested that they might like to stand up, and they did not need asking twice as the familiar notes of Cool For Cats rang out and once they were up, there was no stopping the band or the audience, as they tore through one great hit after another.

Oldies like Tempted and Take Me I’m Yours sounded as fresh as they did over thirty years ago, and Labelled With Love featured a sweet harmonica solo provided by Mark Feltham from Nine Below Zero. There was a raucous Slap And Tickle brought alive by stinging guitar work from Dennis Greaves which brought the main set to a close.

A three tune encore finished the night, with Is That Love being wildly appreciated and Black Coffee In Bed closing the show with an epic guitar standoff between Tillbrook and Greaves which brought the audience to their feet for a well deserved standing ovation.