I saw Paul Weller last night... and he was staggering. No, not in the drunken stumble sense, in the completely amazing sense - an instant entry into the list of top five gigs I've ever been to! Sure, the venue (Brixton Academy) helped and, without doubt, the company I was with enhanced the evening immeasurably. But Mr Weller, the Modfather, was on crackling form. I'd seen him twice before, way back in the very early 90s, yet incredibly Weller showed more energy, and was simply more up for it, now he's in his fifties than he was back then. With encores, he gave us just over two hours of quality music, impassioned playing and energy, energy, energy. God, he seemed to be enjoying himself too (Zutons take note).
In his second encore, Weller even managed to deliver a poignant and hard-hitting peace message on the screen behind the stage as he played "Whirlpool's End", the video montage showing clips of the attacks on the World Trade Centre, newsreel footage of the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam, archive clips of JFK, RFK and Martin Luther King, and quotes from Gandhi, King, Lennon and more. Gandhi's "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind" will stick with me for a long time.
Thanks, Paul, for a great night. The highlight for me, even above and beyond the old Jam songs (which included such classics as "Eton Rifles", "The Butterfly Collector", "That's Entertainment" and "Town Called Malice") was "You Do Something To Me", a stripped down, live-in-the-studio version of which can be found here. Finally, Weller has just released a 4CD boxset "At the BBC" - this is a pretty good way to spend your hard-earned, I would say.