After six years away, the King of the Mods made a triumphant and, for him, a very smiley return to the capital, kicking off the three big name Castle concerts.
He still looks lean and healthy for a man of 61. The voice remains a distinctive instrument and he can rock a black t-shirt and jeans combo better than guys half his age. This was the last date on a fairly extensive tour and he promised that they “always go out with a bang.” Promise made and delivered.
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Unsurprisingly, he’s got a top notch band behind him and at points they’re augmented by the support act, Stone Foundation’s three piece brass trio, to fantastic effect.
The Jam’s founder member starts with a couple of tracks from 2015’s Saturn’s Pattern sandwiching a Style Council classic (yes, some were classics) My Ever Changing Moods and a
wee chat before winding back the decades to his first act’s Sound Affects album, battering through Man In The Corner Shop. A moderately obscure one and still a fan favourite, but
needless to say, the biggies from that album weren’t far away.
It’s quite a testament to his continued growth as an artist that he doesn’t feel the need to rely on the Jam’s back catalogue (no Going Underground tonight) and the mid-section of the set was dominated by solo stuff peaking with a stonking version of Wildwood, albeit with That’s Entertainment stuck in the middle for the oldies.
A few more of the Style Council in there and then the penultimate track before the encore was a belter, 1992’s Into Tomorrow. During this, the band indulged themselves in a wee percussion face-off, a bit of bass thumping in the mix before Weller and his guitarist joined back in to finish the song. I believe this used to be called a “Jam”. Sorry.
After the very short break (at which a lot of people left, he was only kidding when he said good night folks) a couple more recent-ish solo songs and then the brass came back on to
finish off with Start and Precious. The latter of which melded in to Curtis Mayfield’s Move On Up an then the band had the stage to the themselves to finish on Town Called Malice, 37
years young. The crowd finding their voice again.
It’s hard to think of another artist who’s been operating this long who still could count as valid in this day and age. Enjoy your break sir, you’ve earned it.
Paul Weller – 11 th July – Edinburgh Castle Esplanade
5 out of 7 stars