Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Squeezed!!

Last night, I went to a sweat lodge and I'm not even trying to quit smoking. This particular sweat lodge is commonly known as The Starland Ballroom, a little venue in Sayreville, NJ on Jon Bon Jovi Boulevard. (That wasn't really the street name, but I predict that it will be eventually.) It was hotter inside than it was outside, which would normally have been intolerable, but most of the heat was coming from the stage where Squeeze was playing! That's the kind of heat I could bask in all year round.

I have loved Squeeze for years and years, but never had the chance to see them live in any of their various lineups. For this reunion, which was most likely the last, the key songwriting duo of Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford joined forces with John Bentley, the band's bassist from 1980 - 1982. Completing the band were keyboardist Stephen Large and drummer Simon Hanson, two members of Tilbrook's band, The Fluffers, who capably filled in for original members Jools Holland and Gilson Lavis. Glenn mentioned during the show that he thought this was the best lineup ever and, since I'd never seen them in concert before, I guess I'll have to go along with that assessment!

I can't find the full set list online, and I certainly wasn't writing down the order, but the show was jam-packed with all of the hits that I expected. The band kicked things off with "Take Me I'm Yours," and eventually got around to playing all the songs from Singles - 45s and Under, including my favorite, "Another Nail For My Heart." They pulled out a lot of other minor hits and fan favorites like "Some Fantastic Place," "Footprints," "Piccadilly" and "Electric Trains." All the guys were in top form, and my fears that I would miss Jools were soon quieted by the wonderful Stephen Large. It was great to hear that Difford/Tilbrook harmony, and it probably goes without saying that Glenn's voice was sheer perfection. I have no complaints about the evening, except to say that I kind of wish that Squeeze would've put on a show of Springsteenian proportions, playing into the wee hours of the morning!

I should mention that I played the Lone Wolf once again last night, because my brother and his girlfriend couldn't go at the last minute and I couldn't get any of my friends to go with me on such short notice. I ended up selling the other two tickets to a couple of guys at the door and found someone to chat with before and during the show. (Not too much during...I was transfixed!) After the show, I headed toward the front of the venue to cash in on my meet 'n' greet privileges and ran into Doris, another Glenn fan I met through MySpace and Glenn's Yahoo! group. She didn't have a V.I.P. ticket, so I just took her up to the meet 'n' greet as my guest. Since she had already met Glenn before, I figured that she wouldn't let me chicken out again when it came time to meet the lovely and talented Mr. Tilbrook!

I was kind of disappointed with the whole meet 'n' greet thing. I was certainly glad to meet everyone (especially Glenn, obviously) but it was too much of an assembly line. The guys in the band basically sat at a long table, like at a press conference, and everyone walked by, passing their various items down the line so each guy could sign them. Everyone had a limited amount of time to talk to each member, supervised by an impatient, jerky security staff who were only missing cattle prods. Not being much of an autograph hound, I was ill-prepared for this whole scene anyway and wondered if I should be a true groupie and just have Glenn sign my chest. However, since I am a fan of daily showers, I decided that would be pointless and opted to have everyone sign my concert ticket. Luckily, they were also giving out and autographing limited-edition concert posters.

First up was Chris Difford, who seemed a bit shy and stand-offish, but pleasant enough. For some unknown reason, he wrote "blind melon" above his signature on my poster. I think he personalized Doris's with "yours is no disgrace." I guess he's kind of a weird guy. Since he was on one end of the table, I got my picture with him. He didn't get up but managed to mug a bit for the camera.

Next was John Bentley, who seemed like a pretty regular Joe. Well, a regular John. (But not that kind of John.) Then it was Simon and Stephen, who were both very cute and funny. All three guys in the middle seemed happy to be there and appreciative of their fans. I told Stephen that he was "awesome" and that I really want to get his CD. That wasn't bullshit - you should all check out the MySpace page for his band, Lord Large.

Finally, it was time to meet Glenn and I immediately started jibber-jabbering about who knows what while he was signing my poster...then he looked up and realized I was talking and was like, "What?" Good question. I don't know what I was talking about. Something about how I've wanted to meet him since I was x years old, but I stopped short because I thought if I gave an age it would make him feel old. Then I didn't know what to say. I was totally flustered by how charming and handsome he was in person! My brain managed to function well enough for me to ask if he would mind getting a picture with me, and he immediately came over and threw his arms around me. Security kind of had access to him blocked off with the table so he had to lean over and reach across to get to me. (Like the jerks couldn't move the table a smidge?) Doris nicely snapped a pic, and then he asked her to take another one and sort of leaned all the way forward so his head was kind of cradled in my arms. (I should have just grabbed him then and ran.) Somehow he changed position before the picture was taken and when he saw the still, he wailed, "nooooo, I'm frowning!" I just told him it didn't matter. We were chatting a bit and so I got to tell him how this show was exactly what I needed now.

You see, my father just had open heart surgery last week, so the week had been pretty frightening and stressful for my family and I. I never mentioned it in my blog because A) it was personal and B) I needed my silly little blog as a diversion from all the heaviness going on. For a while there, I assumed I wouldn't be going to the concert and I really didn't care at that point because all I was worried about was my dad's health. As it turned out, the surgery went extremely well and Daddy-o is already being cantankerous and talking about getting back on the golf course! Once I was comfortable that he was okay, I had to return to New York to get back to work. It hit me then that I would be able to make the concert after all and I really started looking forward to it again. I don't know why I felt compelled to tell Glenn about this, but I guess I just wanted to let him know that his music is very important, to me and millions of others, and that even something as simple as a concert can really make a difference in someone's life. He seemed genuinely concerned about my situation and appreciative of the sentiment. Of course, as I'm having my "Glenn moment," the security guy "Ma'amed" me and told me to move along. Glenn gave me a big squeeze and put his cheek right up against mine and said, "I wish you didn't have to go." That's no bullshit. Well, at least I don't think it's bullshit. But even with my ears ringing and his accent, I'm 99% certain that is what he said, which was very sweet. (The subsequent marriage proposal, on the other hand, was all in my mind.) What I've heard from people who have met him at solo gigs is that he is extremely gracious and often spends a lot of time with the fans, even hanging out at the bar and throwing back a few pints with them. He's probably not used to the cattle drive meet 'n greet! So, now that I've gotten over the first meeting, I promise to become a groupie stalker on his next solo tour!


Technorati tags: , , ,

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

That is agreat picture of you and Tilbrook!! Damn, I knew I should've went with you!

Can't wait for the full review.

Angela :)

Rhet said...

Tilbrook is featured on my post of Aug 3.

You are stalking me aren't you?

Beth said...

If I didn't love you, I'd hate you.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

That is one mofo of a squeeze! Score!

Barbara (aka Layla) said...

Who's the hot chick in the photo with that dude ;)

I really don't know who the guy is but I do know the hot chick is you.

I guess I better look up Tilbrook

chelene said...

I came to see the pic and I am not disappointed! Great shot.

LoraLoo said...

Holy crap! Look at those pictures! So how exciting you finally got to see them AND meet them... I don't know that a single word would have come out of my mouth, I'm much too star-struck. Thanks for sharing the experience and the pictures!

I'm also glad to hear everything's okay with Dad. I wish him a very speedy recovery!

Les Becker said...

Wow! You should have hidden under the table 'til the real party started...

Bond said...

SO HAPPY to hear about dad...

Those pictures are keepers for sure...

deadspot said...

Glad your dad is doing well.

Hey, did I ever tell you that I saw Squeeze in college? I mean, I was in college, not them. Well, not that I know of, but touring would probably have put a dent in their studies, so I assume not.

Anyway... Squeeze played in a gym at Eastern back in the day. I bought tickets because I wanted to see the opening band, 10,000 Maniacs. (Don't hate.) Then 10,000 Maniaces got booked for SNL and canceled at the last minute. The dBs were booked to replace them, and then they had to cancel at an even later date. I don't even remember who ended up opening, but they sucked.

Squeeze was good, though.

Wow. If Grant Miller if needs someone to guest blog for his Most Boring Story Ever Told series, I'm in there like swimwear.

(and your arms look fine, silly.)

Rhet said...

"I wish you didn't have to go."

And you didn't, did you!
You saucy minx you!
Give us the dish!

Flannery Alden said...

Oh, I'm so jealous! But you've inspired me to check them out if they come to my town.

I'm glad your Dad's ok.

Malcolm: said...

Man, you saw an awesome show, plus you got pics and autographs of the band members! How cool is that?!

Also, I'm glad to hear that your dad is recovering nicely.

Evil Genius said...

That is too cool! Good for you. I always imagined them to be nice blokes.

busterp said...

Lucky you. They are one of my favorite older groups that I never saw live. Good pictures.

Bubs said...

Sounds like a blast, and the pics are great too!

I was lucky enough to see Squeeze one time in 1981, they opened for Elvis Costello at the Uptown Theater when "Trust" came out. Elvis had kind of an off night, and I remembered Squeeze as putting on a better show than he did.

Dale said...

I'm so happy your Dad's okay, mine's been trying to scare me a little lately too. I'm equally happy though that Glenn asked you to marry him, what a guy! I love the Squeeze too and I'm glad they wowed you with so many greats.

Coaster Punchman said...

These star interactions look even more satisfying than my own!

Sad to see at Chelene's that you did in fact get to work. I was hoping you got to spend the day on the couch.

Writeprocrastinator said...

Dang, if it was indeed their last tour, you should've snagged him. Nice pics.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

He said "I wish you didn't have to go"? Why are you not still swooning all over the place?

Very glad to hear your dad is doing well - he sounds like some trooper.

BeckEye said...

Ang - Yes, you should've. Especially since they've done a song with your name in it, but not mine. :(

Rhet - I'm trying to stalk Tilbrook, but you keep getting in the way.

Beth - Now, is that love? C'mon.

Barbara - Yes it was!

Layla - Ah, you're too sweet. I guess I can't get mad at you for not knowing who my beloved "dude" is now that you called me hot. :)

Chelene - It must've been my good side. ;)

Loraloo - Well, a lot of jibberish came out of my mouth! But I didn't want to just stare like a serial killer. Thanks for the good vibes towards my Dad!

Les - Damn, why didn't I think of that? I'm such a bad groupie.

Bond - Thanks!

Deadspot - Thanks. And your story wasn't boring. Any story involving Squeeze is quite riveting to me.

Rhet - I thought about grabbing him around the leg with a unremovable death-grip so he would have to drag me to the tour bus, but I chickened out.

Flannery - They're not stopping in too many cities. It's kind of like an East Coast/West Coast thing and then back to the UK.

Malcolm - It's about as cool as I get.

Evil Genius - I love that you used the term "blokes" to describe them. They're so wonderfully British.

Busterp - Thanks for stopping by! It's a shame you never got to see them...they put on a great show.

Bubs - Have you heard the Elvis/Glenn duet "From a Whisper to a Scream?"

Dale - We need to sit our Dads down and have a little talk with them. This scary shit just won't fly! Glenn doesn't realize that he proposed, or that I said yes and am just sitting here patiently waiting for him to give me a ring and set the date. Hmm, that sounds like a Lifetime movie plot. I think I'm go-go. Har har.

CP - Star interactions. That has such a ring to it. I'm borrowing that phrase some time.

WP - Oh, if only.

Barbara - Um, I am! You can't feel the heat of my perma-grin through your monitor?

EVERYONE - Thank you all for your kind words and well-wishes for my Dad!!

X. Dell said...

I've always liked Squeeze. I never played that room, though, so I would be clueless as to what it's like.

Still, it sounds fascinating, and judging from the pictures you look like one happy lone wolf.

My best wishes to your dad.

Slave to the dogs said...

Glad to hear your pops is OK. The concert sounded like great fun.

And...we have the same Simpsons hair! Mine being blond.

Turnbaby said...

First i am sooooo glad your Dad is on the mend sugar

and second I AM SO JEALOUS!!!

Oh man--that's AWESOME!!!

and YUM

You are HOT in the pics so hush about your arms LOL

An80sNut said...

Very very awesome. There is something about meeting your heroes (and crushes) and I doubt it is a night you'll forget soon. Glad to hear that the surgery went well also. Diversions are good. B)

BeckEye said...

X.Dell - I was howling all night!

Slave - Our characters have awesome hair. We would probably just make fun of Marge's and Lisa's 'dos all day.

Turnbaby - What giant arms I have...the better to Squeeze Glenn with! ;)

80s Nut - Sometimes I worry that meeting people I admire will be a let-down, but Glenn was even nicer than I imagined. Such a people person.

Again....THANK YOU ALL who sent along well-wishes and good thoughts for my Dad.

H.Sidney said...

my pics from the Starland show:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/offl74/sets/72157601333270035/show/

BeckEye said...

H. Sidney - Some fantastic pics! :)

Anonymous said...

I went to the concert in SD,CA and had VIP tickets. Everyone I talked to felt it was a ripoff for the price. Our seats were OK but not great and there was an autograph session, not a meet and greet. This must be their last tour because they couldn't sell VIP tickets very well on the next go-round.

The Guv'ner said...

GODDAMN woman, I am JEA-LOUS! Love me the Glenn. He sounds as awesome as I've heard he is. Incidentally, Difford's known to be a bit "out there" but perfectly nice. He's just too cool to be a cat. :)

You are my hero. You met The Glenn.
I have this urge to play "Labelled with Love".

 

Who Does This Broad Think She Is?

My photo
I am a winsome muse who was sent to Earth to inspire an artist to turn a vacant building into the world's coolest disco roller rink. We fell in love along the way, and I foolishly gave up my immortality. When the disco craze ended and all the roller rinks were shut down, that lazy bum wouldn't get a job. We broke up and I was stuck on Earth with nothing to do and no one to inspire. So, now I write a blog.

What Do Others Think of BeckEye?

"You're like an idiot savant of terrible garbage entertainment." - Falwless

"You're my hero." - Candy

"Get yourself a life. Better yet.....eff off." - Ann Onymous

"There's no one like you." - Klaus Meine