Artcetera Logo



Find breaking news, concert updates and people news in the arts and entertainment world

Squeeze bandmates rise and shine for first of two Cedar shows

After putting their beloved band Squeeze to bed a decade and a half ago, Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford found a cheeky way to kick off their duo show Tuesday night at the Cedar Cultural Center: in bed.

The lights over the Cedar stage came up to reveal the British pop heroes buried under the covers in a pair of twin beds that had been set up in front of a backdrop of wallpaper, lamps, wall ornaments, etc., all made to look like a boys bedroom circa 1966. It might be the most elaborate stage props in Cedar history. Tilbrook and Difford took the gimmick so far they popped up to reveal matching flannel pajamas and proceeded to make their beds before launching into the opening tune, “Take Me I’m Yours,” whose smitten tone appropriately set the mood for the love fest that came next.

It wasn’t their first local gig since putting Squeeze on hiatus – they also played the zoo amphitheater in 2010 – but Tuesday’s two-set, two-hour-plus acoustic performance had an air of rebirth to it since it followed the release of their first Squeeze album in 17 years, “Cradle to the Grave.”

“It’s not often you can say this is our first album out this century, but that is indeed the case here,” Tilbrook said as they launched into the night’s first new song, “Nirvana.”

They would play four more tunes off the record, all of which were complemented by video footage that showed on a TV-shaped big-screen backdrop. The sentimental highlight “Beautiful Game” came with vintage soccer footage, while “Cradle to the Grave” showed scenes of grade-school kids singing in a pub alongside the older blokes (Difford and Tilbrook) doing the same.

The other interesting new twist on the sold-out show – which will be repeated with a second Cedar gig Wednesday night (also sold-out) -- were Q&A segments with the audience in each of the two sets. Questions ranged from, “What was it like working with Elvis Costello?” and, “Who inspired the female characters on [1981’s concept album] ‘East Side Story?’” to, “Why is it very windy where Glen is and not Chris?” (there was a very efficient fan plugged in at his feet). The best one was, “Has your pool game gotten any better, Glen?” from Kate Meier of Minnetonka, who recalled beating him numerous times at First Avenue’s pool table back in 1987. Tilbrook’s dry reply after hearing her explanation: “No, it’s about the same.”

The charm of hearing the longtime songwriting partners sing “Black Coffee in Bed,” “Pulling Muscles (From the Shell)” and “Tempted” is about the same, too. Not only did the crowd go ga-ga for those hits but also ate up and sang along excitedly to the fast-paced, truly best-for-last encore that included “If I Didn’t Love You” and “Goodbye Girl.” Here’s the full set list from Tuesday's concert:

SET #1: Take Me I’m Yours / Cool For Cats / Black Coffee in Bed / Nirvana / Electric Trains / Some Fantastic Place / Beautiful Game / Slap & Tickle / Fat as a Fiddle / Wrecked / Cowboys Are My Weakness / Up the Junction

SET #2: Still / Ice Cream / The Elephant Ride / Annie Get Your Gun / Only 15 / Happy Days / Cradle to the Grave / Pulling Muscles (From the Shells) / Is That Love / Tempted     ENCORE: Another Nail in My Heart / If I Didn’t Love You / Goodbye Girl

Spooky music: Stephen King goes to the opera

Led by conductor Michael Christie, the cast and orchestra of Minnesota Opera's new commissioned work based on horrormeister Stephen King's bestseller "The Shining" presented a workshop sneak peek on  Friday at the opera's rehearsal space. Front row, center to right: Alejandro Vegas as young Danny Torrance, soprano Kelly Kaduce as his mother Wendy, baritone Andrew Lovato as father Jack (Brian Mulligan will sing the role for the May world premiere) and tenor John Robert Lindsey as Lloyd the Bartender. Photo by CJ Standish.

It's a safe bet that nothing resembling the line, "Did you remember the parking brake?" has ever before been written for an opera. But there's a lot of new ground being broken with Minnesota Opera's new commission of "The Shining," arguably Stephen King's best-known horror novel and also immortalized on film. With music and libretto by two Pulitzer winners (Paul Moravec and Mark Campbell, respectively), the commission, premiering next May, promises to be a noteworthy addition to the opera's new-works initiative, which has previously brought musical adaptations of modern classics including "Doubt" and "The Manchurian Candidate" to the stage.

Both composer Moravec and librettist Campbell were present at a private workshop of the opera's First Act Friday night, held at the company's rehearsal space in the Warehouse District of downtown Minneapolis. Moravec seemed to like what he heard, smiling as he tapped a foot to one of the cinematically grand orchestral interludes used to convey the passage of time. 

Opera supporters in the audience included Margaret WurteleJohn and Ruth HussSara and Jack DonaldsonWilliam White and Gus Blanchard.

"Opera is about three things -- love, death and power," Moravec said. "This story was practically an opera already." He likened the story to the biblical tale of Abraham and Isaac: "He's getting instructions from a higher power to both protect his son and to kill him. It's unresolvable."

He said that, with the aid of multimedia effects, "psychological unease" will build, creating "moments of genuine shock."

The opera follows King's book, not Stanley Kubrick's film, which King famously dislikes. Moravec summed up key differences as "Wendy is smart, Hallorann the cook is a hero, and Jack isn't crazy from the beginning."

Event Calendar
  • Today
  • Thu
  • Fri
  • Sat
  • Sun

No Events Available.