Sometimes it might not be all too helpful to be backwards looking, but that is of course difficult with a retrospective, and under such circumstances you just cant avoid the torrent of contradictions that spew forth from Britpop-adopted statesman/grandad Paul Weller. There was, for example, the flood of vitriol against his fellow Brit Award nominees before he blithely accepted the outstanding contribution thing anyway. There is then the fact that he was in both The Jam and The Style Council. And also that despite his ideological rallying against it in his early days he now pretty much lives off nostalgias interest alone, this album being case in point, despite knocking out a decent little solo album not long ago.
This collection was recorded live at Alexandra Palace in North London at the end of 2005 and whatever you could say about his live band, you cant call them anything other than tight, seasoned and unfalteringly professional. They strut between choice cuts from his solo career ("Peacock Suit", "Porcelain Gods", "You Do Something To Me", the recent "Come On Lets Go") with consummate ease, and aside from a couple of wandering solos make this experience as effortless for the listener as it seems it was for them. Weller stands at the heart of all this like a deep-rooted oak. And if there are dips at any point, and there are a couple, the extensive set is justified by how fabulously redeeming "A Town Called Malice" still sounds at its climax.--James Berry
LIMITED EDITION : 2CD set, in a CARD DIGIPAK. Ace 23-track live album, recorded in London in December 2005!