Tuesday, December 12, 2006

No Sleep 'Til Tilbrook

My long-time craving for some live Glenn Tilbrook was finally satisfied last night in good ol' Hoboken, NJ. I always knew Hoboken had more to offer than just drunken frat boys and the memory of Frank Sinatra. At a cozy little music venue called Maxwell's, I was treated to The Golden Voice. Tilbrook is one of my favorite singers in the universe. If Paul Rodgers dies, Glenn is next in line for the crown. Well, he and Eddie Vedder might have to battle it out, but I think Eddie is kind of a pacifist so it wouldn't be much of a fight.

Before I get into specifics of the show, I should tell those of you who don't already know this that I'm a complete jackass. I walked in the door of the club and there, at a table right near the front, sat Mr. Tilbrook and his band. We made eye contact. Well, he probably just looked at me like anyone would look up at someone who just walked into a room. The thoughts behind my eyes were quite a bit different though. I played it cool but basically I was screaming inside my head, "Oh...oh...oh my God, there's Glenn Tilbrook...he's sitting right there...what do I do...do I say hi? Look how adorable he is...he sees me staring at him, he probably thinks I'm psycho...I have to meet him I have to meet him I have to meet him..." That all flew through my head in the 5 seconds it took me to walk from the door to the bar. I never did talk to him, although I was chatting with some guy at the bar and we were standing in front of the band's table the whole time. Of course, I kept giving Glenn over-the-shoulder glances and contemplating going over there and saying something that was sure to be very unoriginal ("I'm a big fan"), dorky/stupid ("listening to your voice puts me in another universe") or creepy ("I had a semi-hot dream about you recently"). Any of them would've been true, but probably wouldn't have endeared me to him in any way. I even took my camera along in the hopes that I would meet him and talk him into posing for a pic with me, but since I was too chicken to open my mouth, that didn't happen. Drat.

I'm sorry I have no pictorial evidence of the evening, period, but my digital camera sucks. It's a Wal-Mart $80 special, what can I say? I tried snapping a few shots during the show. I was only standing about five rows back, so I thought they would be okay, but none turned out.

When Glenn hit the stage, I was in Heaven. The minute I heard that voice, goosebumps starting popping up all over. The set list was great and it seemed like he really crammed a ton of songs in those 2 hours. There were a lot of old Squeeze songs played, like "Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)," "Slap & Tickle," "Footprints," "Up the Junction," "Some Fantastic Place," and a bunch more. I was very surprised but elated that Glenn kicked off the show with "Annie Get Your Gun," which is sort of tied with "Another Nail For My Heart" for the "favorite Squeeze song" title. It's also better than Prozac. It's impossible for me to be unhappy when I hear it. There was also a much more rockin' version of "Goodbye Girl," which the audience helped to sing, more audience participation fun with "Black Coffee in Bed," and the long-awaited (for me, anyway) all-Glenn version of "Tempted."

During the show, Glenn kept apologizing for losing his voice. He definitely seemed to be having a bit of trouble, even taking about a ten minute break and returning with what appeared to be hot lemon water. Even a little hoarse, he sounded terrific. I would rather hear him on his worst day (and I guarantee you this wasn't anywhere near being his worst day) than 80% of the singers out there at their best.

All of Glenn's solo songs sounded great as well, especially "Parallel World," the sweet notes of which proved that he hadn't completely lost his voice, the uptempo but lyrically depressing "Hostage," and "Neptune," a fun, poppy tune that evolved into a serious jam.

Speaking of jamming, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Glenn's stellar band, The Fluffers. Drummer, Simon Hanson, was ab fab, even if I kept getting distracted by his familiar appearance. I was trying to figure out who he reminded me of all night. I think I've narrowed it down to a little Peter Stormare meets the "Everyman." The keyboardist, Stephen Large, was completely crazy and added quite a bit of fun to the show. I immediately loved him, even though I was a bit weirded out by his microphone fellatio. I could picture him as the "charming cad" that you'd see in some British indie film. You know, the very likable guy who ends up breaking the heroine's heart, but everyone somehow forgives him. And then there's Lucy Shaw, the bassist. She's kind of Reese Witherspoon meets Nancy Wilson, if either of those girls were to ever pick up a bass. I think I developed a bit of a lesbian crush on her during the evening. It's gone now...Catherine Zeta-Jones need not worry.

I'd also be remiss if I just focused on Glenn's vocal ability and left out his musical prowess. I've always known that he's an accomplished, incredible songwriter and musician (he plays a gazillion instruments), but it was easy to forget what an amazing guitarist he really was during the Squeeze days. With their poppy, new-wave sound, it seemed that the guitar was rather understated, in favor of heavy keyboards. Besides, I've always focused on Glenn's glorious voice, so I probably never paid enough attention to the musical compositions. Whatever my problem was, seeing him live reminded me that the man can not only sing like an angel, he can wield one hell of an axe. He even played the guitar behind his head in homage to Jimi Hendrix during a cover of "Voodoo Child." Yes, the Glenn Tilbrook Experience was quite spectacular.

At 49, Glenn still has more rock 'n' roll spirit in him than most guys half his age. Stunning vocal ability, musicianship, energy, humor...he's got it all. He is the complete package. (The darling, baby face and infectious smile certainly don't hurt him either.) If he comes back to this area again, I'll certainly go. I'll just have to arm myself with some possible opening lines and a better camera.


Anonymous said...



Seriously thinking you are me in some time warp way.

Oh My

An80sNut said...

I was lucky enough to catch Squeeze together one last time several years back. This just reminds me that I need to sit down with his solo work and do some research.

Rob Booth said...

Sorry about you not getting any photos. There are some posted at the GlennList web site.

I'm not sure if you have to be a member of the list to view them, but you can join the list here.

Glad you enjoyed the show!

Bill Hobbs said...

Nice to read your comments on the Tilbrook show on Monday night.
Especially the one about talking to
"the Guy at the bar"
That be me... Great Blog.

BeckEye said...

Turnbaby: (At least I think you're the one who left that first comment!) I'd be jealous of me too if I got to see Glenn. :)

80s Nut: Now it's my turn to be jealous. Anyone who got the chance to see Squeeze has my envy. Definitely pick up his solo stuff. He's amazing.

Rob: Thanks for the link! I'll definitely sign up.

Bill: Hey, "guy at the bar!" It was nice meeting you and your wife. Thanks for chatting with me...I felt kind of strange there all by myself!

teknikel said...

Don't feel strange. I once travelled to Brooklyn from Baltimore alone to see Glenn. It was snowing. I got lost. Getting there. It was in Red Hook (very industrial, but how could I know that?). Made some friends and it was great fun. Took me forever to get back to my friends' place in Battery Park. Great night!

Welcome to the List.

LoraLoo said...

Very rarely here in the city of sin do you get to experience a small intimate venue such as that. Glad you had such a great time!

Dale said...

Sounds like a great show and it's too bad you didn't muster up a bit more courage but no matter, you still saw a great show and him up close. I'm a dork and never have anything to say to the celebs so I let them be. Loved Squeeze for sure.


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