TVD Live: Paul Weller at the Lincoln Theatre, 10/7

Paul Weller has no time for nostalgia and he doesn’t dwell on the past (even though his is epic). Forty years into a stellar recording career that has seen him place number one albums in the UK charts in four different decades, he is all about the present and all about promoting his current work.

So, as his tour pulled into Washington, DC on Saturday night in support of his thirteenth solo record, A Kind Revolution, a heavy dose of new material was to be expected. True to form Weller played six of A Kind Revolution’s ten songs, while airing two-thirds of 2015’s Saturns Pattern album. Fortunately for everyone in attendance at the elegant Lincoln Theatre, Weller’s latest records are quite good and his five-piece accompanying band excellent.

Taking the stage a little after 9pm, following a well-received set from opener Lucy Stone, Paul Weller and band delivered a high energy, two-hour plus show. Highlights from the new material included “Nova,” “Long Long Road,” and “Woo Se Mama” (A Kind Revolution) and “Going My Way” and “White Sky” (Saturns Pattern). Rousing versions of “From the Floorboards Up” and “Friday Street” off of earlier solo albums kept the crowd on its feet in this seated venue, while versions of The Style Council’s “My Ever Changing Moods,” “Have You Ever Had it Blue,” and “Shout to the Top” were met with especially appreciative applause. The band went into full psychedelic blues jam mode on “Into Tomorrow” and “Peacock Suit” featured exquisite guitar playing by Steve Cradock and Paul Weller. The set closed with a raucous and raw “Porcelain Gods.”

Weller returned and most of the band, including drummer Steve Pilgrim now on guitar, took seats on stools at the front of the stage for an acoustic mini-set encore. “Wildwood,” “Monday” (Weller’s first nod of the evening to his first band), “Hopper,” and “Out of the Sinking” provided a welcome respite from the intensity of the electric set and showcased smooth harmonies and intricate musicianship from a band that has clearly been playing together for some time now (with the exception of newcomer Tom Van Heel on keyboards).

The second encore began with Weller on keyboards for “These City Streets” and “Broken Stones” before he grabbed a guitar for “Start!,” which sent the crowd into a frenzy. “Whirlpools’ End” followed; reminding everyone that this was indeed a rock show put on by a legend still possessed of that famous fire and skill. After a few minutes the band came back out for one final tune, the fittingly titled “The Changingman.”

Paul Weller’s solo career dwarfs The Jam and The Style Council in terms of quantity and longevity. Indicative of this fact is that while this show was the furthest thing from a greatest hits concert, so many of the 29 songs he played are now classics. That he could emphasize the new material, yet deliver a show that also satisfied the desires of long-standing fans for some of their favorite songs is a serious accomplishment. And at 59 years old, Paul Weller shows no signs of letting up or slowing down. He is said to already be working on songs for his next record. Here’s hoping for a return to Washington, DC in 2019 to promote that album!

The North American tour continues throughout October with stops in Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, Vancouver, Seattle, Sacramento, Berkeley, San Francisco, Anaheim, San Diego, and Los Angeles.

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