Paul Weller, Dalby Forest
By Ray Simpson
The Northern Echo
DALBY on Saturday night was more wet wood than wild wood, but that did not dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd. Who needs, or wants, Bruce at Glasto when you can have Paul in the forest?
The modernist maxim of clean living under difficult circumstances was severely tested in the muddy field, where the usually dapper Weller audience swapped Ben Sherman for Berghaus. There were some exceptions – my cousin turned up in sharp grey cords and black suede Hush Puppies – he always was a dedicated follower of fashion.
And so to the music. You know what you are going to get from Weller, two hours of top-notch entertainment. Some people may question his relevance in 2009, because he could easily play a fan-friendly set of nostalgic hits. The lead singer of best North-East tribute band, the New Age Jam, spotted in the crowd, will tell you that one hour of early Jam material is hard work for the over-40s, never mind a 51- year-old, but Weller sticks to his artistic guns. The majority of songs were taken from his solo work, with 22 Dreams and As Is Now well represented. He started with Peacock Suit and Out of the Sinking, every song polished and tight.
The first look back was the pairing of Shout To The Top and Eton Rifles. Quite how David Cameron can relate to that song is a mystery, but it certainly got the crowd going.
The rain long stopped and the atmosphere warming up, Weller took a break from centre-stage and moved to the piano. You Do Something To Me was great, steam rising from his head, followed by my favourites from 22 Dreams, Have You Made up your Mind and Push it Along, and the time flew by.
The setting sun signalled the final part of the gig, From The Floorboards Up had the crowd jumping and we were into the encores. A singalong to That’s Entertainment, apparently dashed off in ten minutes after a few drinks, and then A Town Called Malice transported everyone back to their fifth form disco.
You either have it or you don’t and whatever it is, Paul Weller has it, and long may it continue.