Crisis, the national charity for single homeless people, put on a bash to be remembered at the Hammersmith Apollo on Wednesday 19 December.
Though the rain fell and made lakes of the tarmac beneath the Hammersmith flyover, the followers appeared from out of the darkness. Yes, Miles Kane was there as support, as was Emili Sandé, but the milling crowds were Weller's people. With uniforms donned, they mustered like troops.
The Kane and Sandé sets had propped up the evening until 21.30pm. It was then that Ben Elton, the evening's compere, found himself pacing the stage with a mic in hand, searching his tired mind for a joke that refused to be found. The crowd could only amuse itself by booing him (politely) each time he uttered a sentence in that little-loved and well-rehearsed mockney of his.
But the main event did eventually arrive, and Weller took to the stage (which was neatly covered in three large Persian rugs), understated as ever and ready for action, his pinstripe slacks and navy jersey pragmatic sartorial choices. Backed by his five loyal musical brothers, the guitars came and went as he raced through a 19-song set, kicking off with From The Floorboards Up which had the crowd braying their assent.
Natt Weller, his eldest son, joined him on guitar for Come On/Let's Go, but it wasn't until he hit his stride with the old and much-loved songs that were Start!, Carnation, My Ever Changing Moods and The Cost of Loving, that the crowd got to their feet. When the opening chords of Strange Town began, every man in the auditorium rose up as their wives and girlfriends smiled on indulgently.
A duet with Emili Sandé on a cover of The Impressions People Get Ready and a furious jam with Miles Kane on Echoes Round The Sun rounded things off until the encore, which saw a sheepish Bradley Wiggins appear, a cherry red Gibson slung around his shoulders. "He's a bit shy," said Weller, before the band and the cyclist tore into a somewhat chaotic, but hugely enjoyable rendition of That's Entertainment.
Before the band departed, their fists raised, Weller barked "Thanks for coming for such a great cause on such a piss poor night! Give yourselves a round of applause!"
So we did.
© Jason Holmes 2012 / email@example.com / @JasonAHolmes
Visit www.crisis.org.uk for further information.
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