The Who Hyde Park London 26th June 2015
The Who. Hyde Park. London. 50 years. David, Shauna and I scrored some cheap tickets outside. It don’t get much better. We enter the park and catch the end of PUl Weller’s set. 65,000 people sing along to opener Can’t Explain and we are all off on our own Amazing Journey. The hits just keep coming: The Seeker, I Can See for Miles, The Kids are Alright, Pictures of Lily (for special guest Weller, Roger tells us). What happened to Substitute? Never mind; we can’t always get we we want. Pete is on top form, windmill arm twirling and swirling. Roger’s voice is strong; the songs still sound fresh even after all this time, particularly with the Hyde park choir helping them along. Roger and Pete seem genuinely pleased to be back home playing in London, just a few miles from where it all started. “We are the Mods” sing the old guys behind us. £22 for a bottle of Pino Grigio; are they having a laugh? Class visuals take us through Tommy and Quadrophenia, with lots of shots of Keith and the Ox. Won’t Get Fooled Again closes it, after which Pete and Roger spend quite a few minutes thanking everyone. We wait around but there is no encore (what happened to Magic Bus?). Musn’t be greedy. My 20th Who show, and if this really was the last time that I’ll see this great band, it was a pretty excellent show on which to finish my Who journey.
Setlist:I Can’t Explain; The Seeker; Who Are You; The Kids Are Alright; Pictures of Lily; I Can See for Miles; My Generation; Behind Blue Eyes; Bargain; Join Together; You Better You Bet; I’m One; Love, Reign O’er Me; Eminence Front; Amazing Journey; Sparks; Pinball Wizard; See Me, Feel Me; Baba O’Riley; Won’t Get Fooled Again
Archive for the ‘Paul Weller’ Category
The Who Hyde Park London 26th June 2015
The Style Council Newcastle City Hall 19th March 1984
Paul Weller formed the Style Council in 1983, along with his friend and keyboardist Mick Talbot, who was formerly of Dexys Midnight Runners and The Merton Parkas. I saw them perform three times; at this headline concert in Newcastle City Hall in 1984, as part of the Red Wedge tour at the same venue, and at Live Aid in Wembley Stadium in 1985. For me, the Style Council were musically the least successful of Paul Weller’s incarnations, sandwiched between the wonderful Jam, and his later, excellent solo work. By March 1984, and the time of this concert, the Style Council had been in the UK singles charts on four occasions with “Speak Like a Child”, “Money Go Round (Part 1)”, “Long Hot Summer” and “A Solid Bond in Your Heart”. Their single “My Ever Changing Moods” was in the chart at the time, giving them their fifth UK chart success.
The ethic of The Style Council was sound and honourable, aiming to produce perfect blue-eyed soul, tinged with right-on politics and sharp, (sometimes too, and embarrassingly) cool style. “They were socialists, vegetarian, didn’t drink, wore cool rain macs, colourful knitwear, expensive footwear and made some of the most brilliant modernist music ever. They also spoke out against the corrosive issues of the day, even if it meant the threat of commercial suicide” (from the Paul Weller website). For me, musically, well I felt it just didn’t quite work. That was perhaps because I’d enjoyed seeing the Jam so much on several crazy occasions. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this 1984 concert at the City Hall, but I also missed the power and passion of Weller’s previous mod combo. Support came from post punk new mod Scottish hipsters The Questions.
Red Wedge tour Newcastle City Hall 31st January 1986
The Red Wedge concert at Newcastle City Hall in January 1986 is one of the most memorable gigs I have been to. Red Wedge was a collective of musicians, fronted by Billy Bragg, who set out to engage young people with politics, and the Labour Party in particular, during the period leading up to the 1987 general election, in the hope of ousting the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher. Billy Bragg was joined in Red Wedge by Paul Weller and The Communards lead singer Jimmy Somerville. Red Wedge organised a number of major tours and concert. The first and most memorable, took place in January and February 1986, and featured Billy Bragg, Paul Weller’s band The Style Council, The Communards, Junior Giscombe, and Lorna Gee. The core touring acts were joined by other guest bands throughout the tour.
The City Hall concert featured Billy Bragg, Junior Giscombe, The Style Council, The Communards, with guests Prefab Sprout and, as a big and very welcome surprise, The Smiths. It is The Smiths who stole the show, and their performance that night sticks in my memory as one of the best I have ever seen, by any band.
All of the bands performed short sets; a few songs each. The Communards were impressive, Jimmy Somerville’s soaring vocals were amazing, and the Style Council were also good. I seem to recall D C Lee guested with them and sang “See The Day”. Local heroes Prefab Sprout also went down well. John Hardy recalls their two song set on his North East Music History Blog: “But topping the local talent was the accoustic Paddy McAloon. The quirky ‘Dublin’ – a nostalgic carol to lost Ireland – his carressing croon and lyrical magic came through on ‘Cruel’, aided by the sylph like Wendy”.
But it was The Smiths who stole the show. There were whispers around the hall that something special was going to happen. Without any real warning, The Smiths were announced and stormed straight into ‘Shakespeare’s Sister, followed by ‘I Want The one I Can’t Have’, ‘Boy With The Thorn In His Side’ and ‘Big Mouth Strikes Again’ (“our new single”). There is something about a short set; it allows a band to focus and to maintain a high level of energy and passion throughout. The Smiths were simply phenomenal that night; there was a buzz about them at the time, and everyone was delighted to see them perform. But it was more than that. It was as if they had decided to put everything into those four songs; the power, the intensity, and Morrissey and Marr’s performance were a step above anything I had seen them deliver before (or since) that night. It was as if they knew that they were simply the best band on the planet at the time, and they came out with the confidence and ability to deliver a word class, stunning performance. We sat there, feeling that we were witnessing something special. It was that good. It was the best time I saw The Smiths, and a performance that will stay with me for ever. Perfect rock ‘n’ roll in four songs and 20 or so short minutes.
Johnny Marr said afterwards: “The Red Wedge gig at Newcastle City Hall was one of the best things we ever did. Andy and I had done a couple of gigs already with Billy Bragg in Manchester and Birmingham the week before…I was telling Morrissey about it and he was fairly up for just doing an impromptu show. So we drove up to Newcastle, without telling anyone. I walked into the sound-check…the other bands were a little bit perplexed as to what we were doing there. We had no instruments, so we borrowed The Style Council’s equipment and just tore the roof off the place. In the middle of the set we just walked on to this announcement and the place went bananas.” Morrissey said (NME, 1986): “…that was why we made a very brief, but stormy appearance. When we took to the stage the audience reeled back in horror. They took their walkmans off and threw down their cardigans. Suddenly the place was alight, aflame with passion!”
Paul Weller Newcastle Metro Radio Arena November 15 2009
I bought myself a single standing ticket to see Paul Weller. I guess I decided it was about time I forgave him for the Style Council and went to see him again. I saw the Jam probably every time they came to the North East (around 12 times I think) and did the same for the Style Council, but sort of lost my faith in the mid-80s. So I hadn’t seen Weller for more than 20 years. Laura decided she would like to come, and a search on ebay got us a second standing ticket at less than face value.
Arrived in time to buy a programme; no extra small t-shirts for Laura for this one; her wardbrobe will have to survie without a Weller shirt for now. Support came from the Rifles; the arena was pretty empty at this point. They seemed OK; clearly influenced by the Jam. We found a couple of empty seats in the first block to the right of the stage. The place filled up ready for Weller to arrive.
Don’t know why I stayed away so long. As soon as he took the stage it was clear that Weller was well into it, strutting around ; his mannerisms sooo reminiscent of Steve Marriot (does he practice copying them from old Small Faces videos?). I didn’t know that many of the songs but they all sounded familiar; bits of Small Faces, Traffic and 60s Hammondish organ. Great! Great to see him play Butterfly Collector and Thats Entertainment. The encore included a version of the Beatles All You Need is Love and then Town Called Malice (the crowd is going nuts at this point) is the very last number. So Laura and I both enjoyed it; and I promise that I’ll return to the faith and start going to see Weller each time he comes from now on.
Set List: Peacock suit; Out of the sinking; 22 dreams; Changing man; Wild blue yonder; All I wanna do; From the floorboards up; Seaspray; Shout to the top; Eton rifles; Picking up sticks; Wishing on a star; Have you made up your mind; Push it along; You do something to me; One bright star; Empty ring; 111; Why walk; Butterfly collector; Brand new start; wild wood; Thats entertainment; Echoes round the sun; Come on lets go; first encore: Whirlpool, All you need is love: second encore: Town Called Malice.