REVIEW: Doncaster Weller fans still mod for it!
The Modfather came, saw and conquered South Yorkshire with a storming set, showing no signs of the evergreen artist and activist losing his live performance skills or passion.
Weller, Weller, Weller, uh, tell me more, tell me more. I will, since you ask! The 58 year-old veteran wowed The Dome crowd (sampled here) with a show almost as energetic as when the aspiring singer-songwriter first took to the stage some 45 years past.
Only now the concerts are more eclectic, referencing Paul's enviable back catalogue spanning formative The Jam sounds, through The Style Council experimental era, to today's solo self-penned anthemic standards.
Not that this musical magpie remains adverse to covering the odd quality classic, revisiting favourite "I Walk on Guilded Splinters," originally by Dr John, as well as including, in acoustic encore, late lamented Lennon's "Love".
From power chord pounding White Sky - gig as well as last album Saturns Pattern opener - to career-defining The Changing Man, the 150-minute 31-track celebration of his disparately diverse discography was well received by an appreciative audience of followers, new and old alike.
We life-long fans, who collectively have always considered him articulate spokesman for our generation during decades of change, welcomed back The Jam staples such as revisited, reworked "Ghosts" and "Man In The Corner Shop," encoring with stripped-down "Monday" as well as, conversely being penultimate track, "Start!"
The Style Council was also well represented with "Have You Ever Had It Blue" and "My Ever Changing Moods," latter emotionally dedicated to Syrian kids, lyrics "Teardrops turn to children, who've never had the time, to commit the sins they pay for, through another's evil mind" never more poignant that in recent air attack atrocity aftermath.
But solo songs now define the man who showcased new material "Woo Se Mama" "She Moves With The Fayre" "Long, Long Road" "The Cranes Are Back" and "The Impossible Idea" from coming "humanitarian" album A Kind Revolution, whose May 12 release comes almost exactly 40 summers since his ground-breaking band's "In The City" debut LP.
Six-piece band, led by long-time associate, Ocean Colour Scene axeman Steve Cradock, offered tightly-orchestrated support to ensure the set, featuring another new song in shape of "What Would He Say?" pounded like a prize fighter.
Speaking of which, seamlessly, "The Ballad of Jimmy McCabe" received welcome airing as vehicle for seven-strong soundtrack for film Jawbone, semi-autobiographical story of former youth boxing champ's battles within and outside the ring.
Days after declaring "no political party can lead us out of the darkness," Weller remained a beacon for tub-thumping yet caring, sharing progress, his fervour for a fairer society undimmed by time, his pen and plectrum still mightier than most swords.
Full set list:
I'm Where I Should Be
My Ever Changing Moods
Going My Way
Woo Sé Mama
Man in the Corner Shop
Up in Suze's Room
Have You Ever Had It Blue
She Moves With The Fayre
Above the Clouds
Long Long Road
The Cranes Are Back
I Walk on Guilded Splinters
Come On/Let's Go
The Ballad Of Jimmy McCabe
What Would He Say?
Out of the Sinking
The Impossible Idea
These City Streets