Oh, how the mighty have fallen. There was once a time when Rod Stewart was one of the most revered voices in all of rock music, before he sold every last drop of piss and vinegar in his sad British bones for dreams of disco songs, AM radio, and most recently, jazz standards. There was a time when Rod Stewart was a respected fixture of rock ’n’ roll royalty, and his gravelly and soulful shouts were the voice of some of the best music to come out of ’70s British rock. A time when the notion of a Rod Stewart residency at a Las Vegas casino would have been met with laughter, possibly by the man himself.
However, those days are gone. While former partners in crime Jeff Beck and Ronnie Wood still earn their meals playing rock ’n’ roll, Stewart can be found touring behind a steady diet of Sinatra songs, American jazz standards, and a smattering of his easy listening hits from the ’80s. (Do you know what Frank Sinatra had to say on the subject of rock ’n’ roll music? That it was “the most brutal, ugly, desperate, vicious form of expression it has been my misfortune to hear.”)
With a performance featuring a set of some of his most disappointing song selections ever looming over South Florida’s Saturday night show at Hard Rock, it grows increasingly difficult for fans of Stewart’s early work to maintain composure, especially after he called in sick the night before a scheduled performance with the remaining living members of the Faces at their recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Instead, fans of the Faces were treated to a pair of songs performed by Ronnie Wood, Kenny Jones, Ian McLagen, and Mick Hucknall. They got the guy from Simply Red to scab for Stewart. Ronnie Lane is rolling over in his tiny little grave.
Stewart has hopped on stage with Jeff Beck a number of times in the last few years, and Beck himself has even hinted at the possibility of a reunion of the original (criminally underrated) Jeff Beck Group lineup. Alas, it has all been a tease, with those rumors quickly running cold and the video evidence of the cameos serving only to afflict fans with an endless case of the “what ifs.”
So, as soccer moms and dads and Stevie Nicks fans prepare for what is undoubtedly going to be a spectacular evening of Stewart’s renditions of moldy jazz numbers, I’ll be here, eating my feelings and drowning my sorrows in Youtube’s selection of Faces and Jeff Beck Group videos.
1. The Faces – “Stay With Me”
2. The Jeff Beck Group – “You Shook Me”
3. The Faces – “Sweet Little Rock ‘n’ Roller” (Chuck Berry Cover)
4. The Faces – “Had Me a Real Good Time”
5. The Jeff Beck Group – “Let Me Love You”
–By David Von Bader