REVIEW: Paul Weller at King George’s Hall

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During an interview a few years back, Paul Weller – seemingly forever opposed to the notion of a Jam reunion – was asked if he would ever consider doing a ‘classic album’ tour.

The reply was as sharp as one of his suits: “I’m going to go out and play a classic album next year, but it’ll be my new one. Not one from 20 years ago.”

It would be so easy, at this stage of a career spanning four decades, for Weller to engage the autopilot, throw out a Greatest Hits tour every once in a while and basically spend the rest of his days, looking cool, designing clobber for his Real Stars Are Rare range.

Not a chance. He played King George’s Hall on Monday with the kind of vigorous enthusiasm that gives even those watching a stitch.

Flanked by ever present guitar lieutenant Steve Craddock, Weller was in uncompromising form racing through an energetic two-hour set stopping only briefly to say it was nice to be back in Blackburn – a place he said held good memories for him.

Far from an evening of nostalgia though it was a journey through a solo career that shows no sign of slowing down.

The set borrowed heavily from forthcoming album “Saturns Pattern”, the piano-led title track, “Long Time” and recent single “White Sky” all demonstrating the 56-year-old’s unwavering desire to move forward instead of sideways.

I’ve read reviews in the past slating an artist, not just Weller, for ignoring the ‘old hits’ when out on tour. I was close to giving out directions to Malice given the amount of times I heard people asking where it was on the way out.

It is fair enough but I wonder if fans watching early Paul Weller shows were disappointed when he played “The Changingman” for the first time. Did droves of people head for the toilets when “Peacock Suit” was debuted?

Weller has surely earned the right to showcase his newer material, even more so given the critical acclaim of his more recent albums.

It certainly wasn’t a night devoid of classics either. “Above The Clouds”, “You Do Something To Me” and “Broken Stones” remain beyond beautiful while “Come On Let’s Go”, “From The Floorboards Up” and “Peacock Suit” had the sold out arena’s foundations shaking.

“The Changingman” brought a second encore and indeed the night to a rapturous close.

For those wanting the likes of “Town Called Malice” and “Going Underground”, From The Jam will be playing The Grand in Clitheroe on November 28th.

- And to the woman who threw her bra in the direction of Mr Weller. I sincerely hope you got home OK because it was mighty cold out on those streets afterwards.