Reading Festival 1972 (Wardour-025)
The 11th National Jazz, Blues & Rock Festival, Reading, England – August 12th, 1972
Memphis, Miss Judy’s Farm, Angel, Stay With Me, True Blue, I’d Rather Go Blind, Too Bad, That’s All You Need, (I Know) I’m Losing You -encore- Twistin’ The Night Away/Every Picture Tells A Story, Maggie May
The Faces headlined the second of three nights of the 11th National Jazz, Blues & Rock Festival on August 12th, 1972. They, along with Genesis the previous day, were the highlights of an otherwise lackluster festival that was marred by rain and constant police harassment of the attendees. An eyewitness claims: “The Faces were often noted for their slackness in those days, but this time they delivered. They performed a fairly tight set with a minimum of stuffing up and no overt drunkenness on their part.” They were also the highest paid act of the event, receiving £4000 for their efforts. Reading Festival 1972 on Wardour is the very first time this, or any source, has surfaced for this show.
It comes from the master cassette made by a staff member of the band’s Japanese record company in the photographer’s pit in front of the stage. It is very good to excellent being very clear and up front with no intrusive audience noise. The lower end is emphasized with the upper ranges sounding a bit thin. Ron Wood’s lead guitar becomes lost on occasion and Rod Stewart’s vocals sometimes are buried. The between song banter is difficult to hear and there is slight tape hiss. The music is complete with the only cut being a tape flip before “Too Bad” and a tape pause before the encores.
Given the rarity of the tape and the amazing performance by The Faces, none of that really matters in the slightest. Somebody throws a shoe on stage during “Miss Judy’s Farm” and Stewart complains about it before introducing the new song “Angel”. “I can’t do any more,” he says at the conclusion. “Here’s a brand new number which is brand new,” he says before a great version of “True Blue”. “Here’s a number that will break your heart enough to make you go home” is the intro for “I’d Rather Go Blind”. Ron Wood is introduced before “That’s All You Need” (“he went to a local Indian restaurant for a curry”) and contains his solo spot.
The set ends with a very dramatic version of “(I Know) I’m Losing You” with an intense Kenny Jones drum solo. “Twisting The Night Away” builds a massive groove and is segued with the ending of “Every Picture Tells A Story”. “Everybody expects the sun to shine out of your ass” Stewart says in response to break-up rumors circulating at the time before a raucous, Stones-like version of “Maggie May” to end The Faces’ triumphant set. The artwork for this release is very tasteful with photos from the era, handbills, and a review of the event (which is unfortunately too small to read). Wardour always produces quality titles but this one stands above the others and might be their best release yet.