Weller Delights Wild Wood Chase Crowd
Lets get the basics out of the way first. This is Paul Weller; sincerity, sweat and songwriting come as standard.
So, for that matter, do sell-out crowds rain or shine. And amid the wild wood setting of Cannock Chase the Modfather delighted the hordes with a stunning run of hits from the last 30 years.
Opening with Peacock Suit, the Brit award winner showed off his latest album 22 Dreams and the title track was soon rapturously received as the clouds parted, probably out of respect.
As ever, it was a rare pick from his Jam days which really lit the blue touchpaper as class struggle rabble rouser Eton Rifles had the 40-something crowd churning up the venue faster than a farmer’s plough. (Note to Sugababes fans: Forget the stillettos tonight. Seriously.)
But Weller was in playful mood, joking about backstage jacuzzis, the weather and handing out tambourines to roadies. Truly, the angry young man is long gone.
In his place is a 50-something acknowledged as one of Britain’s greatest living songwriters, now free of the insecurity which restricted his set lists in years gone by.
His solo catalogue has almost – almost – achieved the impossible by surpassing his output with The Jam. Changing Man, From the Floorboards Up and You Do Something To Me were as rapturously received as his early work.
Weller now has the confidence to let them stand alongside his Jam tracks, where they hold their own to ecstatic cheers and word-perfect singalongs.
In the past, he has frustrated with his choice but last night only the cloying Porcelain Gods dragged the set down and the near two-hour celebration peaked perfectly with an encore of the brilliant Broken Stones, an electric That’s Entertainment and bittersweet battler Town Called Malice.
Even the weather held off; right up to the point in Wild Wood where the Modfather sang ‘golden rain will bring you justice’ and – bang on cue – a few drops feathered down on the mass of misty-eyed fathers and their setting sons.
It seems even Mother Nature’s a Weller fan these days.