“I HOPE you’re having a nice time,” growled the “Modfather” Paul Weller towards the end of his turn on the Esplanade of Edinburgh Castle, and stands of admirers wearing Fred Perry shirts, feather-cut hair and smart bespoke suit jackets yelled their warm response back to him.
Edinburgh Castle Esplanade
Star rating: * * * *
“That’s the important thing, innit?” he continued with a sly nod. “Or it’s meant to be.”
The feeling is that Weller’s gone past the point where he cares what’s written about him, and he’s certainly earned the right. A man who’s ridden the critical tides as they’ve come in and gone out, his last two albums have reached yet another point where his critics’ opinion of him is in tune with the long-term devoted fanbase which packed this famous old venue to the brim. It lent the show a vibrant sense not only of a resurgence, but of an artist who is once more aligned with the highs of his career.
When he crooned his way through Above the Clouds from his 1992 debut solo album, for example, or burst into Britpop-era quasi-mod favourites Peacock Suit and The Changing Man, or took to the piano for a tender version of Rose Royce’s Wishing On a Star, and showcased the beautiful Be Happy Children from last year’s Sonik Kicks as the penultimate and one of the very finest tracks here, there was no dip in quality. Yet perhaps it was understandable that the biggest roars and loudest singalong choruses were reserved for Jam classics including That’s Entertainment and A Town Called Malice.