Live: Paul Weller

paulweller1REGENCY BALLROOM (SAN FRANCISCO) — 4/17/2009: For a musician that’s been making music since the mid-’70s, that fact that Paul Weller has never fully caught on in America is a shame. The singer’s distinguished and varied career is full of political punk anthems and soulful pop gems that continue to influence new crops of British musicians. This night’s concert (moved from The Warfield to the more intimate Regency Grand Ballroom) shows why the nearly 51-year-old is still able to maintain a dedicated following and also attract new fans.

Weller plowed through a two-hour set — which started around 8:30pm, presumably so Weller and crew could make it down to Coachella in time for opening night after-parties — that relied heavily on 2008’s 22 Dreams, along with a couple of classics from The Jam and The Style Council‘s “Shout To The Top.” The singer’s newer material, most notably “Sea Spray” and “Invisible,” was well-received, and Weller maintained his energy and kept the crowd’s attention throughout the show.

paulweller2Mid-’90s standards “Out of the Sinking” and “The Changingman” melded seamlessly with the newer “All I Wanna Do (Is Be With You)” and “Push It Along.” A shaky version of the recent “Echoes Round The Sun,” during which Weller seemed to struggle with sound issues, was thankfully countered by the souped-up, electronic-tinged “Wild Wood” and an acoustic-in-the-round set that included a haunting version of show highlight “The Butterfly Collector,” 2005’s “All On A Misty Morning,” and a short medley of covers (Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and The Who’s “Magic Bus”).

Despite obvious omissions such as “Peacock Suit” and “You Do Something To Me,” Weller ended the night with The Jam’s “That’s Entertainment,” which left few in the crowd unconvinced that Weller is a legendary songwriter regardless of his music’s level of Stateside popularity. END

(Photos by David A. Cobb.)

Live review by . Live review posted Thursday, April 30th, 2009. Filed under Live Reviews.

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