Tilbrook kept the patter between songs super brief, save for an introduction to the band during the final song “Black Coffee in Bed.” This meant a tight, efficient 20-song set in less than 90 minutes. (That was three songs fewer than their three concerts in Texas last week.)
Sometimes - as was the case with “Black Coffee in Bed” - the songs even felt a bit sped up.
The two original members of Squeeze - Difford, 64, and Tilbrook, 62 - no longer command the stage with any sense of youthful vigor. Tilbrook only seemed to liven up when he was doing a guitar solo while Difford preferred to blend into the background when he wasn’t singing. (Difford’s best moment was digging out a deep cut “Slaughtered, Gutted and Heartbroken.”)
Difford acknowledged the inveterate passage of time, recalling that the first place they ever performed at in Atlanta was Rose's Cantina, a Tex-Mex dive bar in Midtown back in 1978.
Fortunately, both men sound as good vocally as they did on the LPs they recorded decades ago. And the five-piece backing band behind them injected fresh energy and robustness to many of the tunes. Stephen Large, the keyboardist dressed in a colorful suit and sunglasses like a member of the Cars circa 1984, danced around with both an accordion and near the end, a keytar. And the playful interplay between the two percussionists Simon Hansen and Steven Smith was fascinating to watch during the entire concert.
In the waning moments of the concert, both Difford and Tilbrook gave each sincere verbal shout outs. Difford rightfully called Tilbrook “a genius” and the crowd applauded lustily.