Paul Weller In Victoria Park

8th August 1998

This review was originally sent to the Splinters mailing list. 

To see the NME review, press HERE (To go straight to their picture, press HERE)

Having got to the park at around midday, it was a case of resting under a tree, in the last shade that we would see for ten hours, until the gates opened. Once opened, there was the inevitable rush to the front, past the rows of food, drink and merchandise stands. Having walked up the park, more dignified, I sat behind a couple of other people, in line with where PW would be, in another eight hours time. Promoter Harvey Goldsmith kindly told us that this was going to be the hottest day of the year. After another half an hour or so, the entertainment began.

Weaver - It has all been said before really. Not bad, but Weller junior wants to get a style and haircut of his own. Also there was the usual Weaver question, when they start - who is singing - oh it's the drummer. Behind me was a group of screaming girls with VIP passes. If this is how pop stars girlfriends behave, I will stick to my current job.

Toploader - don't remember too much of this band, except that three of them had ginger hair - is this a record ?

The Hybirds - a handy three piece, who reminded me of another band, but I can't think who. By now the crowd was filling up, and having got myself a space on the barrier, just where I wanted it, I decided to stay there. No food, no beer, just cups of water, pulled from wheelie bins, by those nice security people. By now the weather was hot - well for us in the UK this is hot.

Rialto - now we were into the better known bands, but I had not heard anything from them before. A lead singer who fancied himself and a Rickenbacker Bass, which was a nice sound after all of these years. The highlight of the set was when PW's chair appeared in the wings, ready for later on.

Carleen Anderson - now we are grooving. Carleen in fine voice. Yolanda, looking fetching in tight black shirt, cycle shorts and bleached hair seemed to be enjoying herself. Then the crowd started to realise that her keyboard player was a certain Michael Talbot. So did the photographers, who were ushered away by security, because they had had the three songs they were allowed, to get their photos.

Ian Dury & The Blockheads - oi, oi, it gets better. I last saw them at the Charlie Charles benefits, around eight years ago, and they are still great fun. One of those bands that seem to be having so much fun on stage, and it comes out in the music. All the old classics and one or two of his new ones. Ian was on good form, for someone that is reportedly so ill. Still furtively pulling props from a carrier bag that he has brought on. By now the security people were starting to haul out the fainting and crushed. I managed to get Ian's set list at the end, but couldn't get a PW one later.

Finley Quaye - oh dear, the wrong man at the wrong gig. He seems quite proficient at what he does, and in the right setting I might listen to it myself, but with the previous bands having built up the excitement, he let it down. I had heard of him, but not heard his stuff. He mumbled into a microphone and went through three suspicious looking cigarettes and a couple of large brandies, and that was just whilst he was on stage. I dread to think what he had gone through during the afternoon. His band kept staring at him, wondering if he was going to fall over or not. As time wore on, the crowd got restless and started chanting "Wellah". Finley was obviously getting upset, and at one point they seemed to look at each other as if to say "shall we get off". Sadly they stayed on.

Guess Who - before he came on we saw the band congregating in the wings, with Noel and Liam Gallagher. Then Noel came on and said "For what we are about to receive, may Mod make us truly grateful" and exited stage right. On came the band, just as the sun set, and we started to cool down. Paul in mid blue cotton shirt, with top two buttons open, and greeny brown trousers. I didn't see his shoes (the stage was eight feet high and he was only twenty feet away). I know how important his shoes are to some people, but you will have to ask others, sorry. Matt was in classic '70's style tennis shirt and jeans. The chunky Bass player, whose name eludes me, was in blue T-shirt and jeans. Steve was in a white (sic) shirt, but I didn't see much more than his head all night.

They opened with "Into Tomorrow" and "Peacock Suit" after which my memory fails. But the crowd was having fun. Paul seemed to be in a good mood, and having fun. His shirt was soon dark blue through sweat. The set was the usual one of late with no surprises, but neither of the new songs either. The acoustic bit was "As You Lean Into The Light", "Wild Wood" and "Up In Suze's Room". During this bit Paul was clearly getting upset. It seems that he felt that his guitar was not loud enough and was getting miffed with someone off stage. Sounded OK to me though. The electric set continued. A couple of times we saw stage crew scurrying around, fixing some problem with Paul's guitar.

The encore saw Noel join the band for "Gilded Splinters", now there was a photo, as they shared a microphone. Noel's drummer, Alan "Whitey Junior" White, appeared behind his big brother and added some percussion. Then it was "Broken Stones", a bow from the band and they were off. After ten minutes of calling for him to come back, we realised that he wasn't coming back and that everyone else had left the park. After one final attempt to get myself a set list, I headed for the queues at the tube station.

The photo that accompanied the NME's review of the gig