It’s fair to say you would struggle to find the word ‘love’ in a Stranglers song title.
Tuesday, 15th February 2022,
But on Valentine’s night at the Portsmouth Guildhall there was certainly a lot of love in the house for the band’s farewell tour.
It’s a truly poignant night as there is a colossus from the band no longer behind the keyboards – Dave Greenfield sadly succumbed to Covid in 2020.
Indeed the haunting opening keys from Waltz In Black certainly had the hairs on the back of my head up, recalling the original tour in the early ’80s when this cub reporter witnessed one of his live first gigs.
Despite edging towards his 70s (unbelievable, I know bass player supremo JJ Burnel still looks 20 years younger, but just as menacing from all those years ago.
Drummer Jim Macaulay and new keyboardist Toby Hounsham provide a seamless transition that a few years years ago threatened to derail the band.
Not ones for standing on ceremony the band launch into a two hour greatest hits set that hits all the right buttons with the crowd.
Toiler on The Sea and Something Better Change are the opening salvos from a hit-laden cannon.
Lead singer Baz Warne has long since shaken off the shackles of original frontman Hugh Cornwell and has a commanding presence on stage. During Peacheshe spits: ‘I could think of a worse place to be, like 10 Downing Street.’
Other highlights were a warm and luxurious Golden Brown, with the hall bathed in glittering mirror ball reflections and a stupendous Walk on By, dedicated to original singer ‘Dionne Warwick, god bless her soul.’
After a beautiful tribute to Dave Greenfield, recent single, And if You Should See Dave, the band return for a final encore of Go Buddy Go and a rousing No More Heroes.
Despite saying this is a farewell tour I suspect from the near sell out crowd tonight this is not the last we shall see from this legendary band.