Paul Weller has been in the music business for over four decades now, and shows no sign in his ever-growing catalog of work. The singer and guitarist started his career as a member of seminal mod/punk rockers The Jam, who released their first album In the City five days before his nineteenth birthday in 1977. Since then, his output has been steady – six albums with The Jam, six albums with his follow-up band The Style Council, and a solo catalog that extended this year to his thirteenth studio record, A Kind Revolution. On Saturday Weller came to the Lincoln Theatre, where he and his band played a lengthy, 29-song set to a roomful of devoted fans.
The hardest thing about touring with such an extensive catalog must be picking out which songs to play each night. There’s a new album to feature, the fans have the songs that they want to hear, and the setlist has to flow. In this, Weller both exceeds and defies expectations. There are almost certainly some in the audience that would prefer a night of nostalgia, hearing all of their favorites from years gone by. Those fans might have been disappointed to hear so much newer material – Weller played six songs from A Kind Revolution, and six songs from his previous release, 2015’s Saturns Pattern – but the strength of the material surely won them over. When he did look back in his solo material he did play many of fan favorites, including “From the Floorboards Up” from 2005’s As Is Now, “Peacock Suit” and “Friday Street” from 1997’s Heavy Soul, and “Above the Clouds” and “Into Tomorrow” from his 1992 self-titled solo debut. He also took a few turns back to his Style Council catalog with “My Ever Changing Moods,” “Have You Ever Had It Blue,” and “Shout to the Top!,” and to his time with The Jam with two tracks from 1980’s Sound Affects – “Start!” and a deep-album cut, “Monday.” Weller is definitely one to choose his own course, though, and when shouts for other songs came during the first, acoustic encore, he paused and said “go ahead, I’ll wait until you’re finished” before continuing on with his planned set. Still, by the time the third encore ended (of “The Changingman” from 1995’s Stanley Road), it’s doubtful that anyone left disappointed.
Weller’s band – consisiting of guitarist Steve Cradock (also of Ocean Colour Scene), bassist Andy Crofts, and drummer Steve Pilgrim, and drummer and percussionist Ben Gordelier – have all been playing with him for a relatively long time now, and it was apparent by the way they knew the material inside and out despite the sheer breadth of the set. Rounding out the band on his first tour with Weller was keyboardist Tom Heel.
The show was opened by English singer-songwriter Lucy Rose, who released her fourth album Something’s Changing in July.