Squeeze At Glastonbury Review: Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook open this year’s festival with a gold standard greatest hits set

Take us, we’re yours: Squeeze’s likely lads kick off Glastonbury 2024 with a barrage of hits.


by Ian Harrison |
Updated on

It’s been hot enough to melt lead for days, but the skies are overcast as we look out onto a field of flags – Wolverhampton Wanderers, a ragged Union Jack and Tyskie lager from Poland among them and await the Pyramid Stage’s inaugural group. The sunlight starts to filter through when Squeeze, with their opening song, make the challenge/offer Take Me I’m Yours. They’re in their golden anniversary year, and in an all-suited seven-strong formation - Chris Difford in papal purple, Glenn Tilbrook in green tartan – they make us accept with consummate ease.

And the songs, stretching back to their first late seventies/early eighties flush, keep on coming. A number two hit in 1979, Up The Junction transmits sweet melancholy and exquisite hurt, yet is welcomed by the crowd like an old pal. Difford touches his heart in thanks. It’s followed by sole new song One Beautiful Summer: concerning the possibility of late-flowering love, it features rap-adjacent breakbeats and high country keening, and it makes bittersweet sense to follow up with 1981’s lonesome honky tonker Labelled With Love. That song’s references to black and white telly and air raids places it a time now even more removed from now, but as a song of the affairs of the heart, it still cuts deep. It goes on: was acid house being invented with 1979 hit Slap And Tickle, you wonder, and how does Tilbrook suddenly channel Steve Cropper on a minimal-to-full bore Tempted?

As ever, Difford sings the supremely tongue-in-cheek Cool For Cats, shifting from seventies TV escapism to the then-realities of the dating game in Deptford. All these songs are perfectly polished and proportioned pop songs, and when reflecting on the great songwriters of British music, from Lennon and McCartney and Ray Davies, to Madness and Blur, you’re reminded how Squeeze have been among the best to do it. And with two new albums in preparation, one based on unreleased teenage songs and another of fresh material, they’re still sustaining.

A closing stomp through Black Coffee In Bed involves joyous audience participation, introducing the musicians (ex-Roots man Owen Biddle seems to drop a sliver of Autonomy by Buzzcocks in his spot) and, as it ends, Difford beaming, “you’ve made an old man cry.” And so they take a bow, a couple of likely lads still with concerts to play and songs to write, deservedly celebrating the first outstanding show of Glastonbury 24.

Set List

Take Me I’m Yours


Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)

Up The Junction

One Beautiful Summer

Labelled With Love

Slap And Tickle


Cool For Cats

Black Coffee In Bed

Keep an eye on MOJO4MUSIC across the weekend for full coverage of Glastonbury 2024’s best music.

Picture: Squeeze at Rewind Festival. Credit Getty/Lorne Thomson

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