PAUL WELLER, Eventim Apollo – Evening Standard, 7 Dec 2015

I’m Where I Should Be, a less energetic example of Paul Weller’s recent purple patch, could have been an underwhelming opening to his latest run of concerts, but its message was spot on. At 57, an age when he could easily be coasting or semi-retired, this father of seven is working harder than ever. A set dominated by new songs can be a disappointment from a veteran artist, but not here.

 

There’s no time for correct grammar on his latest album, Saturns Pattern. Three albums in five years is close to a One Direction work rate. He was in a rush on stage too, allowing guitarist Steve Cradock and bassist Andy Lewis to introduce some songs, and playing relatively recent favourites such as From the Floorboards Up, with its brutally abrupt ending.

 

He took to the keyboard for the new album’s title track, a steady, retro soul groove, and the lovely, soft piano of Going My Way. These were rare gentler moments in an incendiary set dominated by a light show that looked like they’d nicked the Large Hadron Collider.

 

Long Time and White Sky were typically hard-edged new ones, the latter barrelling onwards on a heavy, bluesy riff. A handful of Style Council songs including the tropical Have You Ever Had It Blue lightened the mood, while ancient Jam compositions Boy About Town and Town Called Malice still moved the faithful crowd the most.

 

The more psychedelic Into Tomorrow was more indulgent, drifting off into long solos all round. Otherwise the two hours flew by, propelled by youthful energy and no shortage of worthwhile new songs. If eveybody was this inspired after umpteen albums, nostalgia would be a thing of the past.

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