The Faces Finally Reunite After Decades of Trying

by Steve Spohn
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TheFacesReunite SongMango.comOn Saturday, September 5th, The Faces finally reunited for the first time in decades at Hurtwood Park Polo Club in Ewhurst, Surrey, to play a seven-song set in front of 5,000 lucky attendees. The band's three surviving members Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood and Kenney Jones had not performed together onstage since 1993 at the Brit Awards, when Stewart was honored with a Lifetime Achievement award.

The Faces, formed in London in 1969, boasted the powerhouse lineup of Ian McLagan (keyboards), Ronnie Wood (guitar), Rod Stewart (lead vocals), Ronnie Lane (bass) and Kenney Jones (drums). The band officially broke up in 1975.

Here's some footage to refresh your memory as to just how good The Faces were back in the day. This is "Sweet Little Rock And Roller" from London's Kilburn State Theatre in 1974 at what ended up being the final Faces concert – and yes, that's Keith Richards sitting in:

TheFacesIanMcLagan SongMango.comKeyboardist Ian McLagan (at right, with Ronnie and Rod) had tried for years to get Rod Stewart to commit to a reunion – often coming close – but it was never to be. Unfortunately, his long-sought reunion came a year too late as McLagan passed away in December of 2014.

The 1993 Brit Awards aside, the only other time Stewart did commit to getting the band back together was for the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, but he pulled out due to sudden illness (though there's been much speculation surrounding the veracity of that claim).

So for whatever reason, Steward waited until now to join Ronnie Wood and Kenney Jones to play a short set of their classic hits, a benefit concert supporting Prostate Cancer UK. Jones, who had prostate cancer in 2013, prompted the reunion. Founding member and bass player Ronnie Lane died in June 1997 after battling MS for 20 long years.

TheFacesThree SongMango.com.jpgThe reunion in Surrey was more of a Faces Review than what The Faces were in the '70s, back when Rod was definitely Mod. Complete with backup singers, horns and additional players, the band cooked through their hits (see full setlist below).

The hour-long set was informal and fun. Stewart announced early on: “We’ve only had a few hours rehearsal so there’s bound to be a few cock ups.” (Whatever that means.)

Wood played brilliantly, and one of the reasons (we can only assume) is that he is now sober. Music critic for the Wall Street Journal, Bruce Orwall, made this observation: "Wood’s sobriety has a big upside, though: he is playing better these days than he has in years. And that eventually coaxed out some old magic."

Rod's voice was in fine shape to lead the band through some real rock-n-roll – something he hasn't done in years. Trading off leads, the band was able to capture the intensity and brilliance of these songs after all these years. Let's hope they will do some shows in North America. The reunion felt like entirely too much fun for just a one-time gig.

Here's the full setlist:

I Feel So Good
You Can Make Me Dance, Sing Or Anything
Ooh La La
I'd Rather Go Blind
(I Know) I'm Losing You
Stay With Me
Sweet Little Rock And Roller

Here are some of the highlights from the 2015 Faces reunion.

"Stay With Me":

"(I Know) I'm Losing You":

"You Can Make Me Dance, Sing Or Anything":

"I Feel So Good":

"Sweet Little Rock And Roller":

Steve Spohn is a former Saturday Night Live and Nickelodeon Television executive. Growing up near Princeton, NJ, led to a musical addiction, with WMMR in Philly and WNEW in NYC providing the daily dose. When not attending or planning to attend Bruce Springsteen concerts, he's plugging away as a screenwriter in Beverly Hills. Reach Steve at SSpohn@SongMango.com.

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