Apologies to those Paul Weller mega fans out there. This isn’t a reunion exclusive for The Jam.
Paul Weller tonight played a set that had the relaxed-cool of a jam session, whilst possessing all the gleam of a top pro with decades of experience behind him.
Walking out to The Beatles’ ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, it was easy to recognise Weller’s influences as it was clear the level of company this iconic British artist can keep.
With tonight’s venue being the beautifully imposing surroundings of the Old Royal Naval College as part of the Greenwich Music Time series, it was perfectly poised for a night of nostalgia and looking forward.
The Jam’s ‘Man In The Corner Shop’ kicked things off, with the crowd rising to the bait of an old classic. Hundreds of Weller-ites stood nodding, sporting the same Modfather haircut, Harrington jacket and Fred Perry polo now feeling the strain of a midlife beer belly.
The reworked rendition of ‘That’s Entertainment’ maintained all of the raw poignancy of the original whilst raising the tempo to a punchier level. That slight change alone came as a testament to Weller’s Mod roots, to keep reinventing and to keep looking forward.
That carried through to the powerful ‘You Do Something To Me’, where Weller once again shook things up by inviting his daughter Leah onstage, giving an added emotive dimension to the modern classic.
Elsewhere, hits from The Style Council era, ‘Shout To The Top’ and ‘My Ever Changing Moods’ put the soul-jazz wrapping on this perfect summer’s evening.
This performance was one with Weller fired up and showing a real zest for his craft. Flicking between guitar and keys, he darted on and off stage to grab cigarettes before shouting “C’mon! You lot are f******g quiet!”
Perhaps it was the Sunday night that damaged the energy amongst the crowd. However, the love from fans was clear to see, as Weller continued to meander his way through five decades of material, as each song flowed into one another – ‘Broken Stones’, an extended ‘Woo Se Mama’ and the forever timeless ‘Town Called Malice’ ended the night.
Tonight, Paul Weller cut the figure of an artist who is at the peak of his career. Years of writing, years of songs and years of shows. His relaxed demeanour is now far from the angst-ridden adolescent that drove The Jam. His affection for music transcends most others in British music right now, and his creative force shows no sign of slowing.
He’s a gem, and we should all be thrilled to have him.