USHER HALL ENDINGURGH 13th April 2022
Words Hugh Connell – Photos Steve Gunn
After a very long wait, fans of Paul Weller eventually got to experience their idol live following tour cancellations in October 2020 and July 2021. The night was to be a treat for everyone who had dug out their old tickets, possibly hidden away at the bottom of their ‘sock’ drawer, etc.
first on stage were The Stroppies, a 4-peace indie/pop band from Melbourne Australia. Fronted with vocals and energetic keyboard and guitar playing of Angus Lord and the gentler vocals and bass work of Claudia Serfaty. The set of 7 songs was an insight into a band growing in popularity and featured a number of songs from their soon-to-be-released second album ‘Levity’.
A background rendition of an old Beatles song ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ heralded the arrival of Paul Weller and his band on stage, kicking off with a ferocious attack, with two songs from the Saturns Pattern Album ‘White Sky’ and ‘Long Time’. What a start, as Paul expressed his excitement to play live again and with no apology, announced that tonight he would be playing a long set!!.
A long set means 29 songs (2 hours+), covering the full spectrum of Paul’s 40 years plus in the music business including his time with ‘The Jam’ and ‘Style Council’.
The first ‘Style Council’ song was ‘Headstart for Happiness’ to be followed later by 3 more songs of that period ‘Have You Ever Had It Blue’, ‘It’s A Very Deep Sea’, and ’Shout to the Top’.
The Jam tracks were slightly more limited and were reserved back as big hitters during Encore 1 and 2.
The passion for Paul’s music and diverse songwriting is undisputed and his voice is unchanged. Classic songs came thick and fast. ‘Stanley Road’ was epic and saw Paul move to piano and in a quieter vain ‘Going My Way’ and ‘Saturns Pattern’ followed. Back to the front stage, the stage crew was kept busy supporting Paul with numerous guitar changes to ensure that the sound was just right. Adding to the spectacle and sound was the twin drumming of Steve Pilgrim and Ben Gordelier, with both drum set skins supporting the yellow and blue of the Ukrainian flag.
Through outstanding tracks like ‘Above the Clouds’, ‘Into Tomorrow’, ‘Brushed’, and ‘Peacock Suit’, Paul was well supported by his long-time pal and collaborator Steve Cradock of Ocean Colour Scene on guitar, Tom Heel on keyboards and Andy Crofts on bass.
Before the encores, other tracks to mention were ‘Fat Pop’ and ‘Woo Se Mama’ which went down particularly well. The encores gave Paul and the band time to excite the audience one more time. No disappointment here, as we were treated to ‘Broken Stones’, ‘You Do Something To Me’, ‘Wild Wood’ and the unforgettable ‘That’s Entertainment’, and finally,Paul came back to send everyone home happy with ‘Come On/ Lets Go’, ‘The Changingman’ and ‘Town Called Malice’.