Paul Weller, ECHO Arena
Nov 18 2008 by Jane Haase, Liverpool Echo
“WHAT’S your favourite Paul Weller song?” I recently asked a hard core fan.
“Impossible to name just one,” he spluttered.
“Okay, your top 10 then?” He still looked stumped.
After all there are 20 albums to choose from in a career spanning over 30 years taking in The Jam, Style Council and work as a solo artist.
That impressive back catalogue was in evidence at a packed ECHO arena last night.
He might have turned 50 this year but Paul Weller has marked this landmark birthday with 22 Dreams, arguably his best album for 10 years. Drawing on his diverse musical influences over the decades, the catchy guitar driven rock of Have You Made Up Your Mind yields to the folksier tones of Light Nights, before psychedelia floods the stage in the shape of Weller on keyboards for One Bright Star.
And while a large part of the night was devoted to showcasing his latest work, Weller’s set was interspersed with numerous standouts from his extensive solo repertoire – and unexpectedly there was a real treat in store for Jam fans as he played not one but four hits from his time with the legendary band.
Peacock Suit kicked off the night while Changing Man upped the tempo still higher – but it was the unexpected drum intro into Eton Rifles which had all the hardcore fortysomethings reliving their youth and leading the crowd into a bouncing frenzy.
Slowing the tempo, favourites like You Do Something To Me, Wishing on a Star, and an acoustic treatment of The Butterfly Collector preceded a trippy but not entirely successful version of solo career high point Wild Wood.
Flicking plectrums into the audience and with his trademark feathered haircut now a glossy grey, Weller looked in great shape and two hours in, and milking yet more adoration after a scintillating singalong version of That’s Entertainment, he simply said “I ****ing love it” – and you could tell a few thousand others were thinking the same thing.
A nod to The Beatles with a version of All You Need is Love and Weller told the crowd: “Liverpool, not only city of culture of England but city of culture of the world”, before an encore which had the aforementioned Jam devotees pinching themselves as Town Called Malice raised the roof to cap a momentous night.
9/10 That’s entertainment