“THIS is Poole Arts Centre, right?” the great man asked rhetorically before complimenting the venue and audience for its great Thursday night atmosphere and adding “It’s a long set, I hope you’re all strapped in.”

He wasn’t joking, and we were. The final chords of The Changingman rang out some two hours later after a near 30-song, greatest hits style package. After some decades away from Poole, Paul Weller was back with a bang – and it turned out to be, perhaps surprisingly, a joyous occasion.

This was quite the event for Lighthouse, with excitement not seen since, ooh, last month when Noel Gallagher rocked up. The arrival of Paul Weller, a packed out venue, tight security, wristbands, extra beer and the bouncing floor of yesteryear brought back strong memories.

But this is the present and here we were on the first night of a 14-date spring tour (discounting Tuesday’s warm-up in Shepherd’s Bush) ostensibly in support of forthcoming record simply called 66 (yes, the erstwhile Modfather is 66 in late May), but throwing in a kitchen sink’s worth of stuff besides.

Beginning with the rocky Rip The Pages Up, from the 22 Dreams elpee, and following quickly with Nova, from a Kind Revolution and Fat Pop’s Cosmic Fringes, Weller warmed up the enthusiastic crowd for the first foray into 66, the solid but unspectacular Soul Wandering.

From then we were perhaps surprisingly treated only sparingly to tracks from 66 (the Noel Gallagher co-written Jumble Queen and Nothing) as this generational star romped through his solo back catalogue, delving heavily into Stanley Road, On Sunset, the aforementioned Fat Pop Volume One, Covers and Heavy Soul.

Given that Weller’s post-Jam and Style Council career is already 34 years and counting (nearly three times his combined service in those two bands), he has a vast array of material from which to select to shoehorn into a two-hour set.

Highlights included the sublime and acoustic-tinged All The Pictures On The Wall, the relentless driving quality of Stanley Road and the somewhat understated Glad Times and Village, along with the underappreciated Fat Pop itself, Friday Street and Rockets.

Weller’s voice (shoot me now) has never been his leading asset, but since his angry young man days of In The City he’s used it to his best ability and it’s now like a pair of old slippers; familiar, comforting but not always particularly comfortable, yet utterly suited to his material.

We (that is fans of a certain age) may dream of a full set of Jam material, but that ain’t ever happening and Weller would be the least likely man in the business to be seen on a hits package.

Thus, we should just revel in what we have and be glad that Weller is still relevant, still touring and still up for marathon gigs. It was maybe slightly too long for some ears but was certainly rapturously received.

There was still time for old favourites That’s Entertainment, You Do Something To Me, Start, Wild Wood, Start, Peacock Suit and Shout To The Top, along with the perhaps lesser known tunes Broken Stones, Mayfly and Above The Clouds.

Weller was mostly on guitar, occasionally moving to the piano, and was ably backed by his six-piece band featuring loyal lieutenant Steve Cradock on guitar and the talented Steve Pilgrim on drums and a lot more. Add in flute, sax, keys, bass, percussion, harmonica and slide and you have a pretty comprehensive sound.

But the night belonged to the mainman.

Support came from the somewhat misnamed Barbara, aka the Hove songwriting brothers Henry and John Tydeman five-piece band, whose short set showcased their quirky English take on jangly pop and whose presence here – their biggest gig so far – will no doubt open up their music to a whole new audience.

With a flamboyantly maned and seemingly eccentric singer along with a quieter, bespectacled brother on keyboards, both wearing tank tops, one could be forgiven for thinking Sparks lite were among us. Their cheerleading mum was certainly enjoying it.