Squeeze made a barnstorming return to Sheffield City Hall on Thursday with a two hour masterclass in sheer musical talent.
Over the years Chris Difford and Glen Tilbrook have cemented their reputation as among Britain’s most underrated songwriters and on Thursday they proved that after 40 years their legacy as the New Wave Lennon and McCartney is still intact.
The witty kitchen-sink lyricism and new-wave guitar music that has become the band’s trademark was on display from the off.
They opened with a new song Please Be Upstanding, quickly followed by Pulling Mussels (From the Shell) and the gig took off. As hit after hit was unfurled you realise just how many classics the duo have penned.
Tilbrook’s soaring vocals sounded like a man half his age as he effortlessly tore through song after song. And he proved he is no mean guitarist with some furious riffage and soloing on his black Telecaster.
Moody lyricist Difford is a perfect counterfoil providing the deep baritone harmonies the band are famous for.
Highlights included an acoustic version of Take Me I’m Yours with accordion and bongos and a huge crowd singalong of Labelled with Love,
On Slap and Tickle and Nail in My Heart The hive mind of the crowd eventually kicked in and they partied like it was 1979.
The duo have assembled a tight and talented six piece band, with drummer Simon Hanson, keyboardist Stephen Large, with bass and background vocals by Yolanda Charles, who has worked with Paul Weller and Dirty Vegas’ Steve Smith on guitar, vocals and percussion.
They transitioned from poignant ballads to funk to rock out guitar, synth inspired electro pop, country and ukelele skiffle, always economical and with no instrumental grandstanding.
Between hits like Cool For Cats and Up the Junction Squeeze showcased their first new material in 15 years from their new album The Knowledge.
Squeeze have not strayed too far from their trademark social realism roots in Austerity Britain - new song “A&E” was dedicated to NHS staff.
They rounded off with Open Your Heart, Is That Love and Tempted.
There was no shortage of love for Squeeze tonight.