The Oz' show reviews.

Paul in Japan before the australian tour.

Still enjoying the fruits of the Jam
Paul Weller
Enmore Theatre, August 19
Reviewed by George Palathingal

Lately, Paul Weller has been ruthless in his appraisal of Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler, his erstwhile bandmates in his first great musical incarnation, The Jam, for cashing in on the past. (Foxton and Buckler recently toured Australia as the oafishly titled From The Jam).

Weller may not think he's doing the same thing - why would he when his current solo album, 22 Dreams, is his best in years? - but the inescapable truth is most patrons at this, his first of three Enmore Theatre shows, have not come to hear selections from that.

The main problem, if that's not too harsh a word, is that much of the classic material - from The Jam and Style Council and Weller's early solo work- is so iconic, it shows up the good new stuff. He doesn't play that much of 22 Dreams but you can't miss the relief and elation when its songs give way to, say, the Style Council's still breezy Shout to the Top! or the chiming acoustic guitars of The Jam's That's Entertainment.

A more pressing issue is Weller's tendency to musically ramble. An early The Changingman, as the song puts it, "lights the fuse" but it soon fizzles as the first of several, err, jam-heavy tracks arrive, yawnsome guitar solos and all. Of course, the fans indulge him, safe in the knowledge he'll repay them with an Eton Rifles or a Wild Wood.

On the whole, Weller at 50 still carries off being a rock star. He's equally comfortable alternating between his impassioned bark and smoky croon while attacking a guitar or caressing a keyboard. Lean and chic in black, with conspicuously more hair than his audience, his enormous charisma plays a part too.

He might prefer his new music to do more of the talking but after a final, exuberant romp through The Jam's Town Called Malice, Weller's smile is as unmistakably wide as everyone else's.

(Thanx a lot to Christine Heaton)

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