MUSIC / Never Jam today: Paul Weller - Royal Albert Hall
Thursday 15 October 1992
Ironically, the man's idea of moving on involves a large amount of looking back. This showed not just in the opening number, an up-tempo cover of Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On', but in the material from the well-received new album, Paul Weller (Go] Discs), which he and his well-practised band played in full. 'Took a trip down Boundary Lane / To try an' find myself again . . .' he sang, moving straight into the recent hit 'Uh- Huh-Oh-Yeah]' and bringing a roar of approval from the crowd, which, rather showing its age, had walked swiftly down the aisles to make a crush at the front. Weller's new direction, following on from the disappointments of being dropped by Polydor, selling his studio and wondering if it was all over, consists of looking inward, moving from the political to the personal. He's always been capable of writing a good love song or a three-minute slice of self-scrutiny, but now he has heaps of such stuff to perform, all of it fresh.
Lyrically, in songs like 'Remember How We Started', he was looking backwards to the start of a love, and in 'Into Tomorrow', 'Above the Clouds', 'Kosmos' and 'Time and Space', he was looking all over the place for some kind of metaphysical comfort. Now this is not the Paul Weller one has come to expect.
Musically, his current band held the whole show together with a steady groove, decorated with flutes and bongos and shot through with trippy organ. Call him a mod, call him a hippy, but don't call for 'Down in the Tube Station at Midnight'.
The only Jam song of the night, 'Man in the Cornershop', showed what roughness had been left behind. But the Weller voice, exposed in all its raw tunelessness on the recent Jam Extras CD of demos and unproduced sessions, can sometimes lock into a song, such as 'Bull-Rush' or the instant Weller anthem 'Bitterness Rising', making powerful soul music not through sweet vocals but through sheer force of personality.
Having given up chasing markets, the band now makes the music it wants, and that includes many nods to Traffic, Curtis Mayfield and Sly Stone. Weller's guitar playing was superb, whether acoustic, jazzy, or just breaking strings (four in all) with his passionate new-wave thrashing. Always one to keep the fans on their toes, the band jammed its way into 'Magic Bus', tossed in a vibesy B- side called 'Arrival Time', and did 'Long Hot Summer' with a new melody and a rock ending. Like the man from Go] Discs says, 'Paul zigs when everyone else zags.'
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
The Jump 2015 line-up: Joey Essex, Mike Tindall, Jodie Kidd and co take to the slopes
Game of Thrones: Grey Worm actor Jacob Anderson is all for more male nudity – as long as he can keep his clothes on
Martin Scorsese 'in shock and sorrow' after death on set of new film Silence
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures