Rod Stewart – Red Light District (Fire Power FP-024)

Red Light District (Fire Power FP-024)

Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – May 12th, 1981

(71:45):  Gi’ Me Wings, Sweet Little Rock n’ Roller, Tonight’s The Night, Hot Legs, Maggie May, I Just Want To Make Love To You, (If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want To Be Right, (I Know) I’m Losing You, Oh God I Wish I Was Home Tonight, Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?, Sailing, I Was Only Joking

Foolish Behaviour was released late in 1980, Rod Stewart’s follow up to the mega-successful Blondes Have More Fun.  Although the final three months saw them successfully touring Europe and England, much drama ensued on January 30th, 1981 when Stewart fired band members Gary Grainger, Phil Chen and Kevin Savigar after they refuse to fly from London to L.A. to appear on the American Music Awards with him.

Several months later he formed a new band featuring Robin Le Mesurier, Danny Johnson, Jimmy Zavala and Jay Davis. Jim Cregan and Carmine Appice are kept from the old line up and Kevin Savigar rejoins after patching things up with Rod.  In April and May they tour Hong Kong, Bangkok in Thailand, and eleven shows in Japan.  

Red Light District is an excerpt from a video soundtrack of the May 12th, 1981 show at the Budokan, the final night of the tour.  The sound quality is excellent, but offers only an abridged edition of the show.  Missing are “Passion” played after (“Hot Legs”), “She Won’t Dance With Me / Little Queenie,” “You’re In My Heart (The Final Acclaim),” “Blondes Have More Fun,” “Stay With Me,” and “Maggie May” is placed earlier in the set than it actually was.

Some of the edits defy explanation.  “Passion,” for example, was a hit from the latest album and should have been included.

Despite that, the contents are very entertaining.  They start off with the first couple of numbers from the show including the new song “Gi’ Me Wings” and “Sweet Little Rock And Roller,” a Chuck Berry cover which has been in Stewart’s setlist since his early days.

“Do whatever you want as long as you don’t expose yourself” Stewart says before “Tonight’s The Night” and reminds the audience later on that they are filming the evening’s show. 

“Maggie May” shows Rod in a very snarly mood.  He sings “you stole my fucking heart / but I love you anyway” in the middle and interject in the coda section “you’re the ugliest woman I’ve ever seen / you’re so damn ugly / I want to kick your face in.”  The band play a strange reggae / disco hybrid rhythm by the song’s end.  

The Willie Dixon cover “I Just Want To Make Love To You” is a nice surprise.  It was included only on the German release of Foolish Behaviour and is a true rarity for this era.

“I’m Losing You” is an epic piece in the middle of the show.  Stewart quotes “It’s All Over Now,” the Rolling Stones song the Faces used to cover in the early seventies, singing “I used to love her / but it’s all over now.” The are long bass and drum solos in the song before concluding with the final verse.  

“Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” is also extended past the studio recording with an interesting little funk workout in the middle.  The tape ends with a gentle “Sailing” and the confessional “I Was Only Joking.”  

Red Light District is packaged in a standard jewel case with a generic tour picture on the front cover.  Fire Power misprint the date as “May 12, 1982.”  A definitive release of this show would be the complete show from this source, but that hasn’t surfaced.

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