REVIEW: Paul Weller, Guildhall, Portsmouth
Published Date: 09 December 2009
Weller was at his powerful best with a sizzling two-hour set on a rainy night in Portsmouth.
Always refusing to be captive to his past, the Modfather focused heavily on his most recent album, with nine numbers from 22 Dreams. They’re terrific songs, soon to be live classics, but it did mean some great albums (Wild Wood, Illumination etc) were left out or barely touched.
But given the great man’s vast back catalogue, it would be difficult to please everyone 100 per cent. The gorgeous You Do Something To Me was there, as was the brilliant Broken Stones, plus a blast from the Style Council days with Shout From The Top, all superbly done. Also thrown in were three or four teasers from a new album out next spring – tracks which suggest that the hot vein of form he hit with 22 Dreams continues unchecked.
Porcelain Gods was given epic treatment, and All I Wanna Do and One Bright Star were the pick of the 22 Dreams tracks – all delivered with characteristic Weller style and swagger.
But predictably, as ever, it was the Jam that was the icing on the cake. It was a great shame that Weller didn’t finish off, as he so often does, with Town Called Malice, but maybe that’s being greedy. Pretty Green brought back those heady Jam days, and Strange Town and Start were crackers, just as they always have been.
Put it altogether (even without the tracks personal choice might have demanded – Sunflower, Hung Up, The Changingman etc), and it all underlined what a towering figure Weller has been for the past 30 and more years. He’s been the soundtrack to our lives – and boy, has he enriched them.
From The Midhurst And Petworth Observer
09 December 2009
By Graeme Patfield
What a legend Paul Weller is, eh? A Town Called Malice, Going Underground, That’s Entertainment, Wild Wood, The Changingman… All stone cold classics, some of which defined a generation for many. And all songs which you won’t hear if you go to see Paul Weller live.
It was a real coup for the Guildhall to get Weller, a huge influence on British rock and basking in the critical praise lavished on his latest album, 22 Dreams. And in the audience were two types of fan – those who had followed every step of his solo career and those hoping to celebrate the Modfather’s glorious past. The former would have been satisfied, the latter fairly bored.
Peacock Suit was a great opener, proving that at 51 Weller still has the attitude and swagger that made him a Britpop talisman. He was in fine voice, the distinctive growl as powerful as ever, and a force to be reckoned with when at the front of the stage showing off.
But a decision to spend a good portion of the gig behind a piano with only the top of his head visible was an odd one, even if it did produce You Do Something To Me, a highlight of the night.
Hopes of a nostalgic encore were dashed when Weller appeared for an interminable acoustic section.
The big hits never came and although that didn’t seem to matter to those who stood for an ovation, it did to many bemused-looking fans and to those who left before the end.
Weller’s a legend, no doubt. It’s just a shame that he can’t embrace his past.