Paul Weller — Modernist with a capital M

The modfather's visit to Observatory North Park reviewed

Weller acknowledges that he isn't a tribute act to his past...
  • Weller acknowledges that he isn't a tribute act to his past...

Don’t you just love places that charge $18 for two cans of PBR? Me neither.

North Park’s Observatory played host to a visit from the modstar, Paul Weller. It’s been a long time since he played San Diego, and tonight, touring to promote his latest record, Saturns Pattern, he looks lean and keen, elegant, not wasted, someone enjoying a musical, critical, and commercial rejuvenation.

"City Streets"

Paul Weller live from the Observatory North Park

Paul Weller live from the Observatory North Park

As a treat for his U.S. fans, Weller delivered some of his well-known classics, very few featured on the European leg of his tour — “Ever Had It Blue?,” rarely played since his days in the Style Council; “In the Crowd”; “Ever Changing Moods,” including Weller fluffing his lines, albeit with a smile on his face; and “Start!”

The highlights were an elongated version of “Into Tomorrow,” where guitarist Steve Craddock shone like a crazy diamond and “Man in the Cornershop,” with Weller and Craddock sharing lead vocals. His band were as tight as a politician’s wallet.

The hang-ups were that some of the audience only seemed interested in his back catalogue, with some of the newer material falling on deaf ears. A shame, as “White Sky” and “Pick It Up,” among others, were superb. Weller acknowledges that he isn’t a tribute act to his past; he’s a Modernist with a capital “M.”

I don’t think it’s insignificant that the encore was shorter than the setlist onstage stated. Still, he rounded off the night with a rousing “Town Called Malice.”

A good night, but I doubt the band and many in the audience left fully satisfied — for totally different reasons. Weller gets a nine out of ten from this reviewer; audience, five out of ten.

  • Concert: Paul Weller
  • Venue: Observatory North Park
  • Date: October 6
  • Seat: General
  • Photographs and video: Laura Duffy

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