By: Kevin Rolfe
I forget sometimes how iconic a band Squeeze is. Of course, they have hits in the US like “Tempted” and “Pulling Mussels (From the Shell). But they are much more than their hits. At one point Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford were considered “Heirs to Lennon and McCartney’s throne”. And while that correlation may or may not have taken place, the British rock band have definitely left their mark over the last 45 years. Squeeze was the perfect band to close out this summer’s Deer Valley Concert Series.
As I walked up to the Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater I must admit I was a little sad that I would be entering the venue for the last time this year. This summer has been full of amazing experiences from Michael Franti all the way to this closing night with Squeeze. I think it was an extremely successful series and I’m already getting excited to see what’s in store for summer 2020.
The seven person lineup of Squeeze took the stage and I could see from the eyes of the crowd how important this band and this moment was to them. Sometimes it’s so strange to see faces as familiar as those of Tilbrook and Difford. I thought for a second “Do I know those guys?” Of course I don’t. I’ve just seen their faces for my entire life. I was taking photos on the side of the stage and it was not lost on me that I was for a brief moment on stage with Squeeze. It was a pretty cool moment for me.
What stood out immediately was how good Squeeze still sounds. You never do know what you’re going to get with bands that have been around a while. But I was impressed with Glenn’s vocals. His voice is so unique. You know that it’s him immediately. I loved hearing my favorite Squeeze song, Pulling Mussels (From the Shell). I don’t know that I ever thought I’d see Squeeze live. So it was pretty amazing hearing that song live. Each one of the members of the band stood out as exceptional musicians. I think my favorite was Yolanda Charles on bass. She was so smooth. I enjoyed watching her make her way through the intricate and complicated basslines of the songs. But honestly everyone was excellent and I made sure to take time to watch them work.
Something I enjoy about concerts is seeing how much a band is enjoying themselves. And Squeeze looked like they were having a blast on stage. I would catch members of the band glancing at one another and a big smile would appear on their faces. Sometimes during a guitar solo or jam session, the band would break out into laughter. I would imagine that happening when a band messes up, but I think these guys were just laughing because they were having such a great time. And I don’t blame them. It looked really fun up there on that stage. While Squeeze isn’t running around doing scissor kicks or singing into the same mic, they’re still engaging to watch.
I’ve enjoyed the Deer Valley crowd all summer. They really seem to have really appreciated the bands that have performed with the series. This night was no exception. Most of the crowd was up on their feet from the beginning and only sat down when Squeeze did a few deep cuts. Speaking of which, the crowd seemed to really enjoy hearing “King George Street” a song Squeeze had either never done or hadn’t done in a really really long time. Another cool moment the crowd loved was when every member of the band was playing some sort of percussion during the end of a song. The audience got a kick out of Glenn Tillbrook saying, “Having problems downstairs? This song is about that”, then performing “Please Be Upstanding”.
As the concert rolled along more and more people rose to their feet. Chris Difford told the audience that he “Loves it when people are up on their feet. It makes us feel good”. Then, knowing that people would be excited he said, “this next song is from the Cool for Cats album. Your job is to guess which one it is.” Well, I failed at my job because I didn’t know the name of it! But this I do know, people on the hill loved it and it was clear that they love Cool for Cats! At this point, everyone was up and moving. It was like all of a sudden they got this huge energy boost. Things totally rose to a new level. No one sat down for the rest of the night.
I thought Squeeze did an amazing version of their song “Tempted”. The song was originally sung by Paul Carrack. And while I’ve always enjoyed Carrack’s voice and his take on the song. But I’ve always felt that seeing how things played out, with Carrack not being in Squeeze for too long, I would have liked Tillbrook to have sung it. So it was pretty great getting to hear him finally sing it. And it sounded right. Glenn told us that they were going to start the song with the chorus stating that they wish they would have done that when they recorded the song. The song began in an acoustic fashion with various instruments joining in at times. Tillbrook invited the audience to sing the chorus one time on their own and they were not shy about accepting the invite. Everyone sang the chorus with full voice as the entire band joined in at the end of the song.
The time came for the final encore of the Deer Valley Concert Series and while we were waiting for the band to return I overheard some women talking about how much fun that had at Deer Valley this summer. They mentioned what a good job the promotors did and how friendly the staff was at each show. I couldn’t agree more. Deer Valley was my favorite concert spot this year no matter who was performing.
Squeeze returned and the audience gave them a loud ovation. Chris Difford took to the mic and said, “Thank you very much. The hills are indeed alive!” All of the encore songs were really upbeat and people were getting every last bit of dancing in before their night and summer was over. During “Coffee”, each member of the band was introduced and given their own solo. Again, I was really impressed with the level of talent accumulated in this band. When it came to the final two introductions, Glenn Tillbrook and Chris Difford were effusive towards one another. Tillbrook complimenting Difford’s talents as a lyricist and Difford stating that “You don’t need a ski lift to see the peak of this man’s talent” in reference to Tillbrook.
As a show ended there was an appropriate chill in the air. We were knew the show, the series, and now the summer had come to an end. Take care, everybody. We’ll see you next summer!