Yours truly feels both elated and saddened, but which emotion should take precedence is another matter… This concert at the Royal Albert Hall was held in memory of Ronnie Lane, founding member of the Small Faces and the Faces. Lane tragically died in 1997, aged only 51 of pneumonia, in the final stages of his multiple sclerosis.

Thanks to Angel Air Records, the Memorial Concert, held at the Royal Albert Hall on 5th April 2004, is now available on DVD, offering a whopping three-and-a-half hours of superb entertainment delivered by artists such as Slim Chance (Lane’s band after The Faces split), Jones Gang, Steve Ellis, Mick Jones, Glen Matlock, Sam Brown (daughter of rock ‘n’ roller Joe Brown), Ronnie Wood, Paul Weller, Pete Townshend, Ocean Colour Scene, Steve Ellis, Steve Diggle, Midge Ure, Dennis Greaves, Deborah Bonham Band, Joe Marriott and Chris Farlowe.
Compere of the night was John Hellier, original Mod around town, and ‘Whapping Wharf Launderette Darling’, who greeted the many fans who had come from all over to assemble in the RAH. Hellier read out written tributes and apologies from Sir Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton, who were unable to participate due to conflicting schedules.

The evening covered the three main phases of Ronnie Lane’s career (Small Faces, Faces, and his solo work with Slim Chance and other artists), and each ‘phase’ was represented by various artists and bands who performed songs specific to each phase.

The DVD captures this and the general atmosphere brilliantly, while the sound quality is equally superb. Highlights – and there are many – include ‘Stone’, a Lane song about the evolution of conscience, performed by Pete Townshend and Slim Chance, and scorching guitar solos by Ronnie Wood. Sam Brown, a captivating singer by the way, missed her cue at one point as she “needed a wee” (obviously she thought of it as groovy), and ‘You’re So Rude’ cheekily delivered by Mick Jones and Glen Matlock. Midge Ure and Paul Weller also threw bona fide performances.

The concert/DVD, featuring countless renditions of favourites such as ‘Itchycoo Park’, ‘Lazy Sunday’, ‘Cats Melody’, ‘Kuschty Rye’, ‘Maggie May’ and many more, also coughs up some surprises. Ronnie Lane’s brother Stan Lane was guest of honour at the concert, another guest was John Unwin, son of Professor Stanley Unwin, whose gobbledygook language had struck a big chord with Lane.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was an appearance by soulful blues-rocker Chris Farlowe, who belted out ‘All Or Nothing’ together with the Jones Gang as the final number of the night.

A memorial concert worthy of Ronnie Lane for sure, and expertly captured on this DVD.