Gallery & Review: Paul Weller, Forest Live, Cannock Chase

His last Cannock Chase gig was in torrential rain.

But the skies cleared in time for Paul Weller’s return when he played to another 5,000 fans in the forest. 

Parka-clad revellers filled the clearing in the trees as the Modfather returned to the Staffordshire beauty spot on Saturday.

Umbrellas were not needed, however, as the rain stayed away while 56-year-old Weller strutted through his 90-minute set.

The sell-out show was part of a two-date festival held by the Forestry Commission with Jessie J going down a storm with fans on Friday night. Weller surprised his fans by turning up 10 minutes early for his performance instead of keeping the crowds waiting. Many fans were still tucking into their picnics as he took to the stage.

See also: Interview: Paul Weller

The era-defining artist rattled through almost 25 years of solo material.

Songs like Fast Car, Slow Traffic, which nodded to his days with The Jam, were particular crowd pleasers. Then there was the more soulful sounding That Dangerous Age from the more recent Sonik Kicks album, and Going Places, which gave the performance a mellow and end-of-summer feel to the gig, particularly with the forest surroundings.

But despite his body of solo work stretching more than two decades it was still music from his early years with The Jam and The Style Council that fans were thirsty for.

And they had to wait more than an hour for the first hit from The Jam days with Start! 

This soon had palms and drinks held aloft from the crowd – largely made up of 40-somethings.

But that was to be all from The Jam, despite two encores from Weller, including The Changingman. 

See also: Interview: Jessie J

Meanwhile, on Friday night, Jessie J played to thousands at the first of the weekend's gigs.

With infectious enthusiasm and touching honesty, the 26-year-old treated the crowd to all of her hits linked by some straight-talking and friendly chat. She even admitted that the catsuit she was due to wear broke minutes before she came on stage and her hotpants and crop top were plan B. 

And when she saw a punch-up in the crowd, the pop princess stopped the show until security escorted them out. 

Scantily-clad Jessie J, who quit The Voice after two seasons last year, admitted to the crowd that she was freezing. The sassy singer/songwriter even requested a hot drink from her stage crew to warm her vocal chords.

The award-winning star has released two multi-million pound selling albums and treated the crowds to favourites from both. She often explained the background to the songs in many chats between tracks.

And as he announced ‘It’s My Party - and you’re all invited” there could have been few people last night who didn’t feel like VIP guests at the ultimate party.

By Adam Thompson and Laura Blyth

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