Faces 2015 Reunion Gave Fans a ‘Glorious’ 7 Songs

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Faces - Rod & WoodyThe Faces
Hurtwood Park Polo Club, Cranleigh, England
September 5, 2015

Surrey in England is often referred to as the Stockbroker Belt, but there’s another breed who favors this affluent county: the aging rock star. So it was fitting that one of the best and most cherished English bands of the ’70s, the Faces, finally got back together in this part of the world. And what a gig it was too. Hurtwood Park Polo Club was the setting and the charity Prostate Cancer UK the motivation for the lads to tread the boards once again. After waiting 40 years we got seven numbers, but what a glorious seven songs they were.

“We’ve only had a few hours rehearsal so there’s bound to be a few cock-ups,” lead singer Rod Stewart assured us.

“Just like the old days,” shot back guitar player Ronnie Wood.  After this exchange any fears were allayed – it was exactly this shambolic bonhomie that we had come to see.

Standouts included the final single “You Can Make Me Dance, Sing or Anything” and the Temptations cover “(I Know) I’m Losing You” – surely the Faces were one of the best covers bands of all time?

And the Lane/Wood classic “Ooh La La,” which proved irresistible for the crowd to sing along to. This tune was all the more poignant after Rod introduced it as one of Ronnie Lane’s finest songs.

No doubt many in the crowd were thinking of Lane and Ian McLagan – they may not be with us anymore, but their spirits were definitely felt. (Stewart, Wood and Jones were backed by members of Rod Stewart’s band, a horn section and three female back-up singers.)

For too long Ronnie Wood has played second fiddle to the Mick ‘n’ Keef show and it was great to see him back in his element, bantering with his old mucker Rod and playing songs that he wrote or had a big hand in arranging; he may officially be a Rolling Stone but for some of us his real band will always be The Faces.

As for Rod, his voice sounded as good as ever and he was clearly enjoying himself, no doubt reveling in being part of a group again and not having to carry the entire show. In fact, it was pretty obvious the whole band was having a real good time (to use an obvious reference) and it was this good-natured chemistry that always endeared The Faces to their fans; without a doubt that trademark Faces feel-good quality was utterly undimmed after so long, perhaps even stronger. As one of my companions remarked on the way out, “The lesser-spotted life-affirming gig.”

Kenney Jones was a little sketchy during the drum solo in “Losing You,” but we can forgive him that. No doubt after a few more gigs – surely the boys were just testing the waters? – he’ll be right back in the groove. Let’s not forget he’s also the last Small Face standing, too.

A triumphant “Stay With Me” followed by a blistering “Sweet Little Rock ‘n’ Roller,” complete with a messed up start which Rod aborted after a couple of lines to be met by a bemused Woody who proclaimed, “I ain’t gonna play it any different Rod.”

And after seven songs it was all over. The 5,000 happy fans were left gasping for more – let’s keep our fingers crossed.

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