Rod Stewart and Faces this weekend, recorded in concert at The Forum in Inglewood (Los Angeles) on March 5, 1975, Not sure if this one was broadcast, or if it was broadcast by KLOS or KMET here in L.A., but it captures perfectly the perennial party spirit the band brought at just about every concert they played during the early-to-mid 70s. L.A. seemed to be special host to the band. Maybe it was fabled Sunset Strip and the infamous RiotHouse or the seemingly endless lavish and wildly unpredictable parties the record company, management and PR firm put on each time the band paid a visit. Maybe it was just Southern California in general, but Faces concerts had that extra snap of celebration going on, and it’s clearly evident on this tape.
Having seen Rod Stewart in his previous incarnation as lead singer for The Jeff Beck Group, and being a huge fan of The Small Faces (as they were then known), I always felt the teaming up of these two forces seemed to be a natural – and it was. It was also the combination that truly put Faces over the top. Not that they were wallowing in obscurity from the mid-60s on; they didn’t tour the U.S. much and, aside from Itchykoo Park (which became an anthem for 60s Psychedelia), they really hadn’t charted, even though they turned in some stellar work (Ogden’s Nutgone Flake being one example), but it was getting more airplay via the fledgling FM underground than the acknowledged bastion of Top-40, AM radio and that wasn’t translating into Top-10 singles. Rod Stewart, on the other hand, was a household name. His work with Jeff Beck was memorable, but his solo work was landmark. You can hear some examples of it during this concert. Gasoline Alley and Maggie May are practically standards of the early 1970s lexicon and they are synonymous with Rod Stewart and always will be.
This is Rod Stewart and Faces at their peak. It was also one of their last concerts together as a band. Because under the seeming carefree nonchalance of their performance, there were deep inner-conflicts within the band. Founding member Ronnie Lane left the band in 1973 and was replaced by Tetsu Yamauchi who joined the band after Free, his previous band, dissolved. Further complicating matters was the departure of Ron Wood for The Rolling Stones which was the final stroke and the band called it quits. But that wasn’t until the end of the year and the final U.S. tour that Fall – this one takes place in March while conflicts were still bubbling under the surface.
Nobody in the audience knew any of that at the time – for them, it was classic Rod Stewart And Faces as you’ll quickly notice when you hit the play button – and play loud.