A review for the local paper of Chris Difford, at St John’s Church, Farncombe, May 11th
It’s a long way from Madison Square Gardens, where he has performed a number of times, but St John’s Church provided an intimate and atmospheric setting for Chris Difford’s entertaining and confessional one-man show.
As an award-winning songwriter and co-founder of the band Squeeze, Difford has made a lasting contribution to English music over the past 40 years, building a reputation as a clever lyricist and co-writer of many hit records and albums. His current tour is to promote his autobiography, Some Fantastic Place, and it is from this book that the night’s anecdotes were drawn.
From a childhood spent on a south-east London council estate to his success as a rock star and problems with relationships and alcohol, the stories are honest, witty and often raw. Highlights included the postcard in a shop window that led to the formation of Squeeze, early experiences with girls, embarrassing encounters with celebrities and the many support acts who subsequently became more famous than Squeeze – such as Woking’s The Jam. As he said when tuning his guitar, ‘I used to have staff to do this’.
Backed by his own acoustic guitar and Melvin Duffy on pedal steel guitar, Difford performed a number of Squeeze hits, such as Cool for Cats, Take Me I’m Yours and Up the Junction. The audience joined in throughout, to his evident pleasure. A number of his solo songs were also played: the moving Battersea Boys, based on the life of a man he met in a hospice, was particularly memorable.
In support, Kent-based trio, Arcelia, sang their own well-crafted songs, beautifully and with immaculate harmonies. They also provided back-up towards the end of Difford’s set, notably on the emotional Some Fantastic Place - an apt description of St John’s Church on this highly entertaining evening.
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