POP / On the Road: Party time

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The Independent Online
There is an adrenalin buzz after a gig that makes one more susceptible to the desire to 'paaar-ty'] (This word, for some reason, sounds better if said loudly in an American accent, with the last syllable at least a octave higher than the first.) Within Squeeze there are exceptions to this rule. Chris, Keith and Paul find it admirably easy to call it a night, whereas a tranquiliser dart in the neck is the easiest way to stop me.

The tour bus is divided into three sections, The front is the quiet, no smoking, relax and have a read or a bit of a chat zone. The middle is where the bunks are. The back is where smoking, drinking and loud music are more commonplace. It was this last area that Aimee, Suzanne, Bunny, Chrissie and myself settled into after the Stone Pony gig in Asbury Park. As we headed to Manhattan, we slowly got the urge to paaar-ty]

I was the object of some derision when I couldn't settle on a station immediately - there are, in my defence, about eight million stations on FM in the New York area - but I rode it out until I found a dance station. The lyrics of most of the 'songs' (and I use that term loosely) could fit on to an economy-sized Rizla, but what a damn fine sound to dance to. Aimee pointed out gleefully that the entire lyric of one song appeared to be 'Pick it up, hold it up, you got it', which we acted out and chanted.

As anyone who has danced in a moving vehicle will tell you, it is a golden opportunity to incorporate the commonplace elements of a journey - turns, braking, accelerating - into a seamless whole of interpretive action.

We were involved in a round of individual dances - four on the U-shaped sofa holding our hands aloft, while the fifth person hogged the floor - when we heard a banging on the window outside. A maniac lodged to the outside of a moving tour bus? We lifted the blind to find we were right on one count - Paul was on Spider's shoulders doing a very passable imitation of us, but we hadn't noticed that the bus had stopped.

So to the last gig of the US tour, at the Beacon Theatre where annoyingly Aimee was billed as support. The stage went dark at 6pm sharp, due, as always, to a very heavy union presence. We didn't get enough time to soundcheck properly and had to trust to luck for the show. Fortunately, we had a fantastic time. To be followed by what? A bit of a party, of course, thrown for us by George and Barbara (not that George and Barbara), where a new A&M signing Keith Montgomery, Aimee, her producer Jon Brion and myself went with a fine toothcomb through the Gilbert O'Sullivan catalogue.

That brings us, rather neatly, minus Aimee, to our next destination - Jersey. Home, as an awful lot of taxi drivers will tell you, to . . . Gilbert O'Sullivan.

We had been booked to play for two nights at the Inn on the Park, but this had been scaled down to one. Which was handy in a way, as new boy Andy Newmark was playing drums but hadn't actually rehearsed with us. The first show was the one that was pulled, which gave us an opportunity to rest before we started Andy's two-day crash course in all things Squeeze. Happily, we were able to wing our way through the show with enough aplomb to have a woman say to me as I left the gig, 'I really love 'Bottled with Love'.' The title conjured up an as-yet- unrealised Mike Leigh play. She was referring to the Squeeze song 'Labelled with Love'.