Phalanxes of geezers at the LG Arena – either crop-haired or mop-topped (tending towards the former, actually), and whose girths suggest a lifetime’s devotion to Watneys Red Barrel – roar in adulation of their idol.
Weller, the lank-haired modfather, swaggers and struts across the stage with more energy and attitude that the Gallagher brothers could summon even 10 years ago.
His wiry frame and solo pogo-dancing give solace and hope to an army of fans that not so much wants to resist the onset of middle age, but head-butt it to the floor of a bus shelter and spit in its face as it lies squirming on the floor.
But the aggression and football chants of the crowd belie a peculiar sensitivity and complexity that has always been central to the Weller story.
His songs – as far back as early Jam – paint a picture of a modern England in a style that owes more to Blake than the empty posturing of some of his contemporaries.
And 22 Dreams, his 2008 album, brings a new maturity, with an energy and versatility unseen since Wild Wood. At the LG Arena on Friday, a clearly delighted Weller showed off his new creations to a crowd that welcomed him as if to a homecoming, with sidekick and Brummie Steve Cradock sharing much of the warmth.
Oozing confidence in his whole catalogue, new work alternated with old, with the crowd-pleasing Eton Rifles presented unencumbered by any latter-day ‘re-interpretation’.
Sea Spray showed that brand new songs could be every bit as popular as live show singalongs, and the pace never slackened through The Changingman, You Do Something To Me, From the Floorboards Up, and the obligatory set closer, A Town Called Malice.
With 22 Dreams and this tour, Weller has put behind him the songwriting block that becalmed his output five years ago. Now 50, he may be in the best form of his solo career so far.