Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Difford, Tilbrook, Zander, Nielsen, Pierce, Fenner & Ziggy

Something needs to be said about Glenn Tilbrook's guitar playing and Robin Zander's voice.

Last night's double-bill of Squeeze and Cheap Trick at Radio City Music Hall was something of a dream concert. I mean, why not tack on Irma Thomas and have the New York Yankees giving away free pizza in the lobby, while you're at it? I expected good things and I got great things.

Precisely at 8, CT took the stage, and for the next 75 minutes vocalist Robin Zander, defying age, at least from Row UU, stood aglow and proved with song after song that he is one of the greatest voices of our time. Rick Nielsen thinks so as well, introducing him as "my favorite vocalist in the world."

Even better was the set list. I once wrote a piece about how Cheap Trick, a band who could give Bob Dylan a run for his money with their relentless touring, rarely mixes up the set list on stage. You can read it HERE.

I followed it up with a request from a reader for my "dream Cheap Trick set list."
That's HERE.

Happy to say, 5 of my choices and only 3 of the band's usually tired set made it last night. From memory, and not in order, Trick wowed us with the following:

(The great opener)
(freakin' Borderline!!)

And of course, I Want You To Want Me & Surrender.

Totally fab!

But wait! There is more.

9:40 and Squeeze comes right out of the box with an inspired "Black Coffee in Bed," which thankfully, spared us the usual 10 minutes of audience participation, by its use as an opener and not a closer.

Difford & Tilbrook, along with almost original bassist John Bentley, and two younger dudes on keys and drums, plowed on flawlessly with a tasty set list of their own.

Annie Get Your Gun, Goodbye Girl, Loving You Tonight, Hourglass, both Is That Love & If It's Love, all sounding as fresh as ever. They even pulled out "Hope Fell Down," one of the better songs from the still disappointing "Difford/Tilbrook" solo album.

I need to point out that Glenn Tilbrook has never been mentioned in his 35 year career as a "guitar god." It's a shame, really. This man's playing gets better and better. Sure, it is overshadowed by the brilliance of the songwriting and melodies with more hooks than the Stella Maris Bait & Tackle Shop on Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead bay. But if you're a fan of the band, listen to a handful of the hits, specifically "Take Me, I'm Yours," "Another Nail In My Heart," "Is That Love," and Pulling Mussels From The Shell," and this time, refrain from singing along and focus on the guitar solos. Tilbrook could and should duel it out with any of the obvious guitar players one thinks of when the subject comes up. He has it all, flavor and phrasing, speed and style.

Did anyone who was there last night catch the note perfect rip of Freddie Stone's "Dance To The Music" solo that Glenn placed right in the middle of "Cool For Cats?"


Next up, The Hollies and Dwight Twilley at the Highline Ballroom!



Troy said...

That's so cool Sal! I saw the CT/Squeeze double bill last Saturday at beautiful Ravinia Park near Chicago. Squeeze opened and played brilliantly, and CT was simply amazing. I loved 'Borderline' and we all went bonkers for 'Magical Mystery Tour'. Zander's voice was so strong, it really is incredible.

My extra added bonus was that it was my birthday, and while we had lawn seats, somehow midway through the show 2 of my friends procured front row tickets in the pavilion, and we rocked out right up front through to the end. Quite possibly one of the best birthdays in my life!!

matt said...

Way of the World was indeed such a kick ass opener. I too, was blown away by Glenn's guitar playing during the Squeeze set. Here's the complete CT setlist from their site:

Way of the World
Come On Come On
Didn't Know I Had It
I Want You to Want Me
These Days
Need Your Love
Heaven Tonight
I Can't Take It
Magical Mystery Tour
Ballad of TV Violence
Baby Loves to Rock
Sick Man of Europe
Closer - The Ballad of Burt and Linda
Dream Police

Sal Nunziato said...

Thanks Matt. I should have mentioned "Closer- The Ballad Of Burt & Linda," which is my fave track on "The Latest." "Need Your Love" was sick, as well.

steve simels said...

Saw Trick in the early 90s when the box set came out, at the old Tramps.
Tom the bass player wore a sombrero the whole night.

Meanwhile -- is that Hollies/Twilley show for real?

Sal Nunziato said...

I was at that Tramps show. Of course, I stood behind Manute Bol all night, so I didn't see any sombrero.

And no, that show is not real. I was just riffing on the "dream" shows. Sorry to excite you.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to have missed it. Sounds like a good time for a Squeeze/CT weekend mix.

cmealha said...

I have always thought of Glenn as a great guitar player. None of the flash of the 'gods' but just so damned tasty. Very melodic style seems like he's singing with his guitar. Truly underrated.

Karene said...

I don't know if it was just me, but I can hear the difference with out Bun E Carlos.

My personal favorite was Need Your Love. I have been following them regularly since 1980 (at the Calderone, with the Ramones!) and hadn't seen them do it.

Sal Nunziato said...

I agree Karene. Nothing wrong with Dax on drums. But Bun E. played with a certain looseness, almost perfectly sloppy. No doubt, Bun E. gave CT a definite sound.

cooljerk said...

hey sal...sounds like a great show; i'm sure i would have loved it...for some reason, the thought of not having seen these bands in thirty years has got me feeling a bit melancholy...i mean, where did all that time go?'s not like i'm filled with regret, but sometimes i just gotta wonder...(sorry, sal...just one of those days)...steven