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Paul Weller

Paul Weller – Lighthouse, Poole

A nice little trip down to the Southern Riveria was in order tonight to see Paul Weller play at the Lighthouse in Poole. I think it was the first time that I have been to one venue where there were two separate shows going on at the same time with the second being the comedian Paul Foot, who ordinarily I would have also liked to have seen!

What more is there to say about The Modfather that hasn’t been said before, Paul Weller continues to be ‘The Changingman’ across the decades reinventing his sound time and time again. The new album ‘66’ is due to be released a day before his 66th solar return on 24th May. This will be Weller’s 17th solo album and his 28th in total since his career began in 1977. Paul has always remained true to his roots whilst pushing the boundaries with his sound, continuing to incorporate his political views into his lyrics.  

Paul oozes coolness as he walks on stage tonight along with his right hand man Steve Craddock and the rest of the band. The first three numbers fly by, as per usual, when I’m photographing but one thing that sticks with me throughout is how much of a privilege it is to be once again photographing the man that has soundtracked the vast majority of my life.

As Weller and the band sweep through the numbers you can really sense there is a buzz about their performance tonight – Paul mentions to the crowd ‘I love that sweep of excitement on a Thursday night – you better be ready as we’re gonna be playing all night’ – much to the delight of the sold out crowd. A particular early highlight of mine was the trio of ‘All the Pictures on the Wall’, ‘Above the Clouds’ and ‘Stanley Road’ with all of them sounding as good now as they did when I first heard them, especially ‘Stanley Road’.

Steve Craddock introduces ‘Hung Up’ followed by Paul declaring ‘We’re gonna play you an old one now, is that ok’, as the first notes of ‘Shout to the Top’ ring out which the crowd absolutely go crazy for, with people around me in the seats getting up and dancing away. Paul’s gig in Shepherd’s Bush a few days before saw his Style Council collaborator Mick Talbot come out to play on this number, there was a little bit of me that had the hope he would be here tonight as well but that ended up being wishful thinking.  

About two thirds into the set we are treated to back to back numbers for the impending new album ‘66’ – ‘Jumble Queen’ and ‘Nothing’ with the former being written with Paul’s long term friend Noel Gallagher. Both tracks are very different in nature with ‘Jumble Queen’ packing a lot of depth and ‘Nothing’ a more soulful, slower number with some dreamy Style Council-esque vibes.

Paul Weller
Photo Credit – Russ Leggatt (above and main)

‘I’m in a romantic mood tonight down here tonight on the English Riveria so I’m gonna play you this number, why not’ as the opening keys of ‘You Do Something to Me’ ring out. Jumping straight off the piano, Paul picks up his acoustic guitar, ‘If you know this one please sing with us’ – how could we not when it’s the absolute belter ‘That’s Entertainment’. As we continued to speed towards the end of the set Paul treated us to further classics including ‘Wild Wood’, ‘Start’ and ‘Peacock Suit’.

As Paul left the stage for the first time tonight there was a huge crescendo of noise that followed for his return – it felt like it took an absolute age for him to reappear. One my absolute favourites was next, The Style Council number ‘Headstart for Happiness’ followed by ‘Broken Stones’ and the first encore ending with ‘Rockets’ from 2020’s ‘On Sunset’ album. Many in attendance believed this to be the end of the gig with a fair few leaving and making their way to the exit. Weller & Co return once more, for what is becoming a customary second encore, finishing with ‘The Changingman’.  

Looking at the stage setlist it looks as though Paul had to cut ‘Porcelain Gods’ and ‘Town Called Malice’ from the second encore which is a shame but then you realise that we had been treated to over two hours and 29 tracks worth of material from the great man and his band.

I’m really looking forward to the new album ‘66’ when its released next month and if you have a ticket to see Paul on this tour then you are, as ever, in for a treat. If you missed out this time around then Paul is touring again towards the end of the year which I’m sure will see more the tracks from ’66’ get an airing.  

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