Review: Faces Reunion Gets Lively Start in London

Full report: Mick Hucknall proves worthy stand-in for Rod Stewart

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Ronnie Wood sauntered onto a small stage at London's British Music Experience last night and asked the 400-odd guests, "Are you ready to hear some experimentations in rock and roll?" Faces then launched immediately into "Miss Judy's Farm," officially kicking off one of rock's most anticipated reunion tours — albeit with Simply Red's Mick Hucknall standing in for Rod Stewart.

While there wasn't much in the way of "experimentations," the band and its new singer managed a fine feat anyway: Bringing the Faces back to life. "We do miss Rod," Wood said in a Q&A with fans prior the show, "but having Mick here is just unbelievable — it's one of those situations that you probably think wouldn't work, but it's magic." Hucknall quickly won over the crowd with his vocals on "Had Me a Real Good Time" and the rollicking "Too Bad." Despite the revamped lineup — Hucknall and Wood were joined by the Sex Pistols' Glen Matlock on bass, and Wood's son Jessie on rhythm guitar — and only a handful of gigs over the last 35 years, the group brought the raucous energy that defined their early days, slowing down only when Hucknall and Wood grabbed acoustic guitars early in the gig for a superb version of "Ooh La La" and a cover of The Temptations, "I Wish It Would Rain."

Other highlights: Kenney Jones's thunderous drum solo during "Cindy Incidentally," great interplay between Woods and keyboardist Ian McLagen, and searing solos from Wood on Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed," a track the Faces covered on 1971's Long Player. The band wrapped up the 10-song set with a cover of Etta James's classic "I'd Rather Go Blind." They took the stage again moments later for their encore, dedicating "Pool Hall Richard" to original faces bassist Ronnie Lane and closing out with their biggest hit, "Stay With Me."

Asked if we should expect new Faces material, Wood was coy: "It would be tough with our busy schedules — it's all up in the air — but we could throw something together easily and quickly like we always did."

Setlist:
Miss Judy's Farm
Had Me A Real Good Time
Too Bad
Ooh La La
I Wish It Would Rain
Maybe I'm Amazed
Flying
Cindy Incidentally
I'm Losing You
I'd Rather Go Blind

Encore:
Pool Hall Richard
Stay With Me