On the occasion of Sir Rod Stewart’s 74th birthday last week, I must also commemorate the first concert I ever attended: Faces at the Civic Arena. October 9, 1975, the internet says, as I’ve long since lost the ticket.
Faces were Rod, guitarist Ronnie Wood, keyboardist Ian McLagan, bassist Ronnie Lane (replaced by Tetsu Yamauchi by ’75) and drummer Kenney Jones. (I just finished Kenney’s autobiography, “Let the Good Times Roll.” Excellent read.)
Faces were drunk and debauched, and never pretended otherwise. (They often had a bar onstage, server included.) But unmistakable musicianship and charm seeped through the boozy veneer, accompanied by a great song catalog. (Faces not only had their own oeuvre, but also performed Rod’s solo work.)
Faces were a people’s band. (If those people were also drunk, that helped.)
For a kid like me, it was an ideal first concert. Faces had every element of quintessential rock and roll. (No, I wasn’t drunk. I was 14, FFS.)
Rod’s solo career is still chugging along, and he still sounds great. Woody has been a Rolling Stone since ’75. (He double-dipped that year.) Mac and Plonk have left us. Kenney played with The Who after Keith Moon’s death in 1978.
Faces were brilliant. Here’s a reminder: