Squeeze, Dr John Cooper Clarke @ The Gov, Adelaide 30/4/2018

Tonight at The Gov was hits and memories for me.

First up tonight we had Englishman Dr John Cooper Clarke who became known as a punk poet in the late 1970s. I was surprised at how much of his material I knew from listening to radio station Three D (formerly 5 Triple M) back when I was younger. John is seriously funny and he has a fantastic gravelly voice for poetry. He kept the audience enthralled for nearly an hour. The funniest section was the preamble to the poem “I’ve fallen in love with my wife”. John said that marriage starts with heart and a diamond but by the end of it you are looking for a club and a spade.

John did some of the old favourites like Twat and Beasley St as well as its update Beasley Boulevard and told us a funny but “true” story about when he met the Dalai Lama at the Glastonbury Festival. I regret not seeing John when he performed at the Big Day Out in 2007. To me, he has not changed a lot over the years and he actually appeared in the Joy Division film Control as himself from thirty years prior.

Next up we had Squeeze from the UK a band I have loved for a very long and have never seen live. I was a bit too young to attend their only other visit to Adelaide which was in 1980 when they played a venue in Hindley St. I had seen and heard a lot of Squeeze on Countdown and radio Three D but it was not until my little group of music aficionados obtained a copy of their 1982 best of compilation called Singles – 45’s and Under that I really started paying attention to the band. This was one of the best compilation albums of all time and I was so happy that tonight Squeeze played every song from the album.

Squeeze started in 1973 when Chris Difford stole 50p from his mother’s purse and put an advert in a sweetshop to advertise for a guitarist. Glenn Tilbrook was the only person to answer the advert and a band was born. Chris wrote all the lyrics and Glenn wrote the music. They recruited a band but then slowly over the years all members have been replaced except for the original two. Chris Difford is still in the band but was not in Australia as he has a fear of flying.

The band tonight was incredibly tight together and had a wonderful camaraderie. It is so nice to see a band having fun together on stage but at the same time put out an extraordinary sound. They were faultless and Glenn” voice and guitar playing still sounds phenomenal. The drummer was remarkable and looked to me like John Lydon if he was happy.

The band played some great songs from the latter half of their career with highlights being Departure Lounge, Albatross and Patchouli from their 2017 album The Knowledge but the old hits from 1978 to 1982 was what I and the crowd were there for and as stated previously they played them all. The early singles highlights were Pulling Mussels (From the Shell), Tempted, Up the Junction and my personal favourite Is That Love. The crowd was in fine form with many of us singing with the band at the top of our voices. Up to the end of the set Glenn hardly said a word and let the songs speak for themselves. The encore included Cool for Cats and they finished with an extended version of Black Coffee in Bed and this was where Glenn thanked the crowd for coming and introduced the band.

A most excellent night and hopefully Squeeze will return to Australia to perform again soon.

Live Review by Richard De Pizzol

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