The Upshot: Exceptional DVD concert/documentary that inspires absolute admiration for the trio’s efforts, as well as the inevitable remorse that they didn’t last longer than their six years of potent activity.
BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Paul Weller’s efforts inspired by his predecessors – that of the Small Faces, the Kinks, Traffic and other members of the original English establishment — sparked the creation of his original outfit, the Jam, and imbued the band with an authority and authenticity that was every bit as striking as those iconic artists that moved him. Little wonder then that throughout their brief reign, the Jam continually reinforced that notion, and even though Weller went on to a successful solo career — one that pursued the same purposes — it that was the Jam that put his efforts in motion.
Weller clearly fancied himself a combination of a young Pete Townshend and an emerging Ray Davies (note the Jam’s classic cover of the Kinks’ “David Watts” that’s included in this collection), and his tenure at the helm of the Jam eventually transitioned him into the role of an elder statesman whose muse dictated a clear allegiance to British rock tradition. Consequently viewing the Jam in hindsight, courtesy of this exceptional DVD concert/documentary, inspires absolute admiration for the trio’s efforts, as well as the inevitable remorse that they didn’t last longer than their six years of potent activity. As nostalgia, it works especially well, and watching the concert included here, a 1980 live telecast at Rockpalast, underscores the fact that they were one of the most potent bands to emerge from the post punk era. Archival footage, interviews with the three principals and other performance extras testifies to that assessment, making #About The Young Idea# absolutely essential for anyone obsessed with British rock, early on or otherwise.
Ultimately, About The Young Idea asserts its emphasis on “the young” portion of the title, given that the Jam were, and remain, the quintessential young British band, flush with energy, excitement and a feeling that there are no limits when it came to both attitude and aptitude. Let’s hope those attributes never go out of fashion.