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Concert Wed Sep 17 2008

Review: Paul Weller @ House of Blues 9/16

[Thanks to Drive Thru editor Robyn Nisi for this review of Paul Weller's recent show in Chicago]


While many music acts from the '80s are living off the fame grid, save for the occasional reunion tour or award show appearance, Paul Weller is still working hard. The former frontman of The Jam and The Style Council has built a very respectable and varied solo career. While his music is popular in Europe, Weller is virtually unknown in the States, despite his unique brand of soul-tinged rock.

The crowd at the House of Blues last night was sizeable (although not sold out) and for the most part looked like a crowd of middle-aged, well-dressed parents at a football game. Touring for his most recent album 22 Dreams (Yep Roc), Weller is incredible shape, jumping around onstage nursing drinks, and smoking (gasp! Are Brits exempt from the smoking ban?) throughout the evening. His energy matched his set, which covered his career reaching as far back as his days leading The Jam and lasted almost two-and-a-half hours. From the set's opener "Peacock Suit" to the third encore, a cello-tinged cover of "All You Need is Love," Weller's vocals remained strong. The most delightful part of seeing him live is hearing extended, jam-length versions of his songs. "Wild Wood" had an intense, dub-heavy revision, and "Shadow of the Sun" took a trip into Thin Lizzy territory with guitarmonies between him and guitarist Steve Cradock (of Ocean Colour Scene).

Despite how entertaining and rich his entire set was, the crowd was quiet the entire evening but briefly rallied for Weller's best-known hits from the Jam's era, "Town Called Malice" and "That's Entertainment." Many in the crowd, who were likely fans of Weller's music when it debuted thirty years ago, were now in sport jackets and Dockers jumping up and down screaming in delight alongside Weller's younger fans. As I stood next to a dead ringer for imprisoned former 'N SYNC manager Lou Pearlman who was clapping his hands and dancing on the floor, I thought about a somewhat crass line that comedian Chris Rock has said: "You are always going to love the music you were listening to when you first got laid." It seemed like "Malice" loosened up the self-consciousness of the audience, and despite however awkward it looked, people of all ages finally felt free to boogie, albeit for a few minutes. Weller smiled and danced around himself as the floor went wild for his famous chords. Maybe he had the same nostalgia on his mind, too.
-Robyn Nisi

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Joe / September 18, 2008 1:21 PM

Any set lists for this show??

Robyn / September 19, 2008 2:38 PM

I can tell you a few songs off the top of my head: Butterfly Collector, Peacock Suit, Broken Stones, All on a Misty Morning, Shadow of the Sun, Wild Wood, Come on/Let's Go, Wild Blue Yonder, Porcelain Gods, Picking Up Sticks, lots of tracks from 22 Dreams...

MK / September 20, 2008 1:03 PM

Not all in correct order:

Peacock Suit, Shadow of the Sun, All I Wanna Do, Changingman, Have You Made up Your Mind, Shout to the Top, Empty Ring, Let it Be Me, From the Floorboards Up, Butterfly Collector, All in a Misty Morning, Come On/Lets Go, Thats Entertainment, Porcelain Gods, Echoes Round the Sun,Wildwood ,Whirlpools End, Wishing on a Star, Picking Up Sticks

Encore: Wild Blue Yonder, Broken Stones/Oh Happy Day
Encore 2: Eton Rifles, Town Called Malice, Hung Up, more???
Encore3: All You Need is love

TK / September 21, 2008 8:43 PM

Thanks for the set list! I met someone who got the actual handwritten list from the sound techs -- if I can get in touch with him, I will let you know the exact order of things. I know That's Entertainment was closer to the top of the show . . . and didn't he do the actual song 22 Dreams, too? And I think Eton Rifles was in the main set, not an encore. And didn't encore 2 end with Malice? Like it was the big kiss goodbye?

Crazy that I can't remember it all more exactly. It was one of the best shows I've ever seen. My first PW show. It was certainly not my last.

I have to disagree with the reviewer somewhat. The crowd may have been rowdier for Malice and some of the old hits, but I don't think they/we were "quiet". I thought the crowd was blissed out and very appreciative, and it seemed to me like Weller and the band felt it.

Oh, btw, the set list also had the drink orders for the band written out on it . . . 1. Mojitos 2. Margaritas 3. Zombies. I thought that was hilarious.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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