Last Night On The Town (no label)
Newcastle City Hall, Newcastle, England – December 18th, 1976
Disc 1: Three Time Loser, You Wear It Well, Big Bayou, Tonight’s The Night (Gonna Be Alright), Wild Side Of Life, This Old Heart Of Mine, Sweet Little Rock ‘N’ Roller
Disc 2: I Don’t Want To Talk About It Now, Maggie May, Angel, Get Back, The Killing Of Georgie (Part I and II), Sailing, Stay With Me
In the years after the break up of The Faces Stewart, who already has several hits as a solo artist, became an international superstar with the 1975 Atlantic Crossing and even more with its follow up A Night On The Town. He toured Europe for the first time as an exclusive solo artist and played four nights in Newcastle with the final night on December 18th being recorded and broadcast on the King Biscuit Flower Hour. An hour long segment of this show was released on Rod Stewart In Concert 1976. Claiming this to be a London show, this was missing “Maggie May,” “Angel,” and “Stay With Me” in addition to “True Blue,” “Losing You,” and “Twisting The Night Away” which apparently were not recorded.
Last Night On The Town contains a longer version of the show with the three tracks missing from the prior release and with the corrected sequence in the set list. The sound quality is in line with other tapes from this source. What characterizes their tapes is the crystal clear sound with obvious compression and the emphasis on the high end making it sound very fragile and delicate.
Stewart is backed by Gary Grainger, Billy Peek and Jim Cregan on guitar, Phil Chen on bass, John Jarvis on keyboards and Carmine Appice on drums for what is a very solid concert by them all. They are able to preserve the warm quality of The Faces but are much tighter and professional that Stewart’s old outfit. Such is the warmth of the show that the audience join in, singing along with Rod in many of the numbers beginning with the opening track on Atlantic Crossing “Three Time Loser.” After “You Wear It Well” Stewart says, “It seems like a livelier audience than we had last night.” Another sing-along occurs in “Tonight’s The Night,” his ode to the art of deflower.“This Old Heart Of Mine” is eight minutes long and includes a lengthy bass solo by Chen which Stewart enthusiastically cheers.
“I Don’t Want To Talk About It” is a cover of the late Danny Whitten’s tune and is followed by a long version of “Maggie May,” Stewart’s signature tune. In addition to a long sing-along in the middle the band lock onto a reggae beat by the end. “There’s still a lot more left” he says afterwards, acknowledging that many probably came to hear that specific song. They continue with the Hendrix “Angel” in the same arrangement employed by The Faces in their stage show. Stewart follows with a cover of The Beatles’ “Get Back” which he recorded earlier that year for the soundtrack of the bizarre movie All This And World War II. “The Killing Of Georgie (Part I And II)” is one of his more serious tracks. Written about a homosexual friend who was killed in New Jersey the previous year, he delivers the narrative with much sincerity.
“Stay With Me” is the final song of the set. Lasting more than eight minutes, the guitarists take turns playing in unison and in solo (resembling Lynard Skynard at times) and the other musicians play little solos. Jarvis throws in a bit of “Nutrocker” for good measure. It is a shame that “Losing You” and “Twisting The Night Away” still have not surfaced. It would be absurd to think they were simply not recorded since they were normally the highlight of the show. Perhaps they are languishing in some vault somewhere ready to be released someday. “Losing You” especially is a loss since it normally included a raucous drum solo and it would have been great to hear Appice handle those duties.
Last Night On The Town is an excellent sonic document of a time when Stewart was on the ascendancy of superstardom and is good to remember when he was a viable artistic voice in classic rock and roll. Although he is still popular today, many don’t take him seriously with his oldies covers. This is packaged in a double slimline jewel case with various photos from the tour on the artwork and is limited to only two hundred copies. There are not many Rod Stewart silvers out there (the same manufacturers released British Blondes several months ago), so this is a good opportunity to hear some good rock and roll.