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."
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:
BABY LOVES TO ROCK
I CAN'T TAKE IT
MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR
COME ON, COME ON
WAY OF THE WORLD
(The great opener)
BALLAD OF T.V VIOLENCE
And of course, I Want You To Want Me & Surrender.
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!