Photo by John Vettese

The last time I saw a band from my youth, it was Go-Go’s in June at The Keswick Theater. I think that will be the closest I ever come to seeing a county fair rock show; no new songs, inviting kids onstage to do the “Cool Jerk” with them, they even did a Kiss cover for crying out loud. I prayed that Glenn Tilbrook‘s performance at World Café Live would be more than an 80s nostalgia trip and, thank goodness, it was.

While Mr. Tilbrook’s last release of note was with his old band Squeeze, re-recording Squeeze songs (Spot the Difference, released in 2010), only a handful of these were played and the show focused on solo material. He played a bit from all three of his solo works and had about three brand new songs from an album he stated he put the finishing touches on earlier that day (he also said that the album was due to come out in May of this year, then June, July…well you get the idea).

His voice was immaculate, his under-rated guitar playing impeccable and his banter I can only describe as very chippy chappy happy Brit. He seemed to be having a great time as did drummer Simon Hanson. They played a new ditty called “Kevin and Dave” as a duet. They joked that the song was about Kevin Bacon and David Lynch; however, it was a slice-of-British-life song with lyrics reminiscent of those Tilbrook’s cohort Chris Difford might pen: two guys who hang out at a Wetherspoon’s type pub, dazzling everyone at karaoke and being small town bigshots. It was definitely the best of the new songs.

A riot would have ensued if no Squeeze songs were played: Tilbrook threw in “Annie Get Your Gun” and “Goodbye Girl” during the main set and the encore was all Squeeze. I was surprised that he played “Someone Else’s Bell,” a deep cut from East Side Story, but not surprised at all that “Tempted” from the same album made an appearance. While Tilbrook played to a nostalgic crowd, the solo material was just as well received. His show demonstrated that if you still have the gift, keep using it rather than dwelling on the past.

When he hasn’t been drumming on this tour, Hanson has kept a video travelogue of the group’s adventures via YouTube. Below, watch Tilbrook and band arriving in Philly, soundchecking at World Cafe Live and emerging Laverne and Shirley style from the Wawa at 36th and Chestnut.