The Jam, The Smiths, The Who, on stage together…and I was there ! Ok, ok, I am slightly embellishing the gig I went to recently as these bands did not actually played but a few of their original members were there.
Held for the 15th edition once again in the gorgeous Royal Albert Hall, the Teenage Cancer Trust charity association has been supported for a long time by Roger Daltrey of the Who and every year at the early stages of spring the creme de la creme of British artists are present to help this good cause.
Johnny Marr was the opening act of the night I had chosen to attend and the former guitarist of the Smiths was on top form. Although I found his latest LP so-so, I must admit that the 10-song set he played was excellent with a very good balance of songs from his two solo albums, one cover, three The Smiths songs and the marvellous “Getting Away With It” from Electronic, the band he formed in the late 80’s/early 90’s with Bernard Sumner (New Order) and Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys).
After a break when Roger Daltrey appeared on stage with teenagers and young adults to promote the Trust and their actions (and a very moving movie shown on-screen), Paul Weller arrived on stage, fit and young as ever at 56. With no major change in his band compared to the recent shows of his I went to in Paris, he played a great focused set taking here and there in all his albums…apart from probably his best one “Wild Wood“. It meant not one song from his days with The Jam or The Style Council (the man is stubborn…) but many new songs from his next-to-come LP but as well a bunch of old ones from his first fantastic “Paul Weller” LP. I must say that listening live to songs such as “Kosmos” or “Uh Huh Oh Yeh” was a great personal experience.
On top of it, the event everybody was hoping for occurred when Johnny Marr came back on stage to play an old Motown cover song with the rest of the band. A first-time in the UK as I read it already happened in the past in the US…and probably not a one-off as both men are talking about collaborating in the future.