Paul Weller rolled into Belfast on Monday night as he kicked off his Winter 2015 Tour at Waterfront Hall. This was my first time seeing him, despite him being a relatively regular visitor to Belfast.
Last year, I had toyed with the idea of making his concert at Kilmainham Hospital in Dublin my first Weller gig, especially as the support was Tom Odell, but it being a midweek gig and needing to save my Annual Leave, I decided against it.
More tours followed, including a tour in early 2015 of lesser toured towns in the UK, before a full UK tour for Winter, with no Belfast. I was tempted by Manchester (Saturday 27th November) but the football fixtures didn’t go in my favour.
Eventually, I was rewarded when he announced a gig at Waterfront Hall. This year marks 40 years since Weller’s first gig, as a member of The Jam.
I first became a fan of Weller in 1995, when he released The Changingman, discovering his solo work, and then his back catalogue with The Jam and Style Council.
Weller was supported by Blossoms, from Stockport, who are supporting The Charlatans on tour next month, and have had their February gig in Belfast upgraded from Voodoo to The Limelight.
I was already in love with their single Charlemagne, but the rest of their set wasn’t bad.
Weller is a man of few words, not muttering much between songs, apart from the usual rock star pleasantries. In fact, it was Steve Cradock, taking time out from his day job with Ocean Colour Scene, to tour with Weller (he has played on all of Weller’s solo albums, and usually fits Weller duties around OCS duties), who said more between songs, introducing a section of Style Council hits.
The best of those, was Long Hot Summer. Already a brilliant song, the drums and bass get enhanced live at make it sound better.
A new album out this year, Weller performed the two lead singles from Saturn’s Pattern, the title track and Going My Way, both excellent and warmly received.
There were also some of his earlier solo hits such as Into Tomorrow, Friday Street and Peacock Suit, before he finished, rather confusingly, with Start, one of his biggest hits with The Jam.
It takes a strange sense of humour to play a song called Start at the end of a gig.
Technical problems meant there was a delay in his encore, before he did come out. Fans had expected to be hearing the likes of The Changingman, Out Of The Sinking, Mermaids, Sunflower, Wild Wood or You Do Something To Me.
They didn’t get to hear any of them. They didn’t even get A Town Called Malice.
Weller left the crowd wanting more, but not in a good way.