Kenney Jones - drums; Ian McLagan - piano, organ; Rod Stewart - vocals; Ron Wood - guitar, vocals; Tetsu Yamauchi - bass
Poor Ronnie Lane... We hardly knew ye! Such a gentle soul couldn't compete with the swaggering machismo and blonde poodle-shag of Britain's third-most-famous failed footballer.
Had Rod Stewart been more egalitarian, the Faces may have stuck together and been remembered as the best rock 'n' roll band of the 1970s, certainly more consistent than the Stones of this period and featuring not just two but five outstanding musical personalities, all contributing to the creative process. It's no mistake that the Stones would later absorb two Faces into their ranks.
But there was a question nagging at Rod that could never be answered while he had to share the stage with the tiny titans of barroom balladry and boogie, and that question was this: "Do ya think I'm sexy?"
So our hero rode the cresting wave of his own fame, the momentum begun by his early solo albums on which all members of the Faces featured so prominently that you could say the band actually released six or seven classic albums instead of just four. Yes, Rod sailed right past his bandmates, but washed up somewhere in the latter half of the decade when he dared to set his burning inquiry to a disco beat and left his integrity dashed upon the rocky shores.
Now returning to 1973, the boys had just released their swansong, Ooh La La, and our beloved Lane had opted out of the ensuing road circus. Adding to the tensions on the tour bus, Rod had openly slated the new album in the press and was undoubtedly already planning his escape. What is immediately apparent when listening to this show, however, is that the band is so damn good they can't help but rock and rollover even when they're a man down and being subverted from within. There is definitely a feeling of the party winding down; the up-tempo numbers dominate the set, for sure, but the magic truly unfolds with their exquisitely bloodshot and blurry renditions of The Temptations classic "I Wish it Would Rain" and Lennon's "Jealous Guy."
They're a bit beyond their zenith here, though with a group that traveled so briefly they didn't have time to experience a decline. Indeed, it's in their favor that we can remember them for their greatness rather than the shadowy mediocrity that invariably creeps in as a band reaches the decade mark. Celebrate the Faces, one and all. And we'll even take it easy on Rod; no matter what he's done since, he did this first.