Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne Minster
Thursday 14th November 2013 19.30
Support; Leslie Mendelson
She’s my tip for a star of the future. She started off with a Carole King style number (I didn’t catch the title) with a lovely grand piano sound on her keyboard. Then switched to guitar. She played all four original songs from her EP, which I bought: Chasing The Thrill, Jericho, Speed of Light, Coney Island, as well as a slowed down cover of The Pretenders Don’t Get Me Wrong and she closed with Goodnight, probably the best performance of the entire evening, and sadly not on the CD. She played guitar for most, keyboard for two. She’s American, young, extremely talented as a singer, lyricist, composer and musician. This was the second time in a year when I thought the (unbilled) support act better than the main attraction. Moral: do not sit out support acts in the bar. I never do.
Squeeze were at their peak when my kids were babies, and I have singles not albums. I loved Jools Holland’s autobiography, but his personality grates. Tilbrook and Difford were the talent, there’s no question, and the audience were fans. I was in an unusual position: I know the Squeeze stuff, I don’t know post-Squeeze stuff.
It’s a solo show with three guitars. I found the assignment odd: a third with six string acoustic, then a third with 12-string, then a third with Stratocaster. Intermingling them a tad would have given more variety of sound. He also has a habit of showing he’s a lead guitarist by doing solos which sometimes work, but sometimes on acoustic sounded fumbled. If you want to do a long solo, it’s a lot easier on the Stratocaster, which is why he should have switched guitars song by song, I felt.
He’s relaxed, good banter, though a couple of times crossing to get a water bottle or whatever he suddenly spoke like Jools Holland. Maybe a hangover from their days as laddishly-laddish lads together.
The covers were fun. He carefully dropped in an anecdote about being hauled up on stage in New York and made to sing Tie A Yellow Ribbon. Then five minutes later asked for requests, inevitably got Tie A Yellow Ribbon, and did it: extremely well too. He did Voodoo Child (on acoustic, a clear case for the Strat!) and Wichita Lineman.
There was plenty of Squeeze: Labelled With Love, Annie Get Your Gun, Take Me I’m Yours, Up The Junction and in the encores Pulling Mussels From A Shell and Goodbye Girl. His new material included Dennis about Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, and the intriguing Rupert, about phone-hacking and a certain newspaper proprietor, which he explained he was forbidden to sing on the BBC two weeks earlier.
It’s a cheerful show, though I thought Up The Junction somewhat perfunctory compared to Chris Difford’s solo version of three years ago, which was interpreted far better. I assume the lyrics were Difford’s.