slade 75IT WOULD seem that escape from the taxman was not the only reason for Slade's decision to quit Britain this summer.

For the time has come - as it must with all pop groups sooner or later - when the magic begins to fade and the fans begin to slip away.

Slade have had a good run. They have sold millions of records, and they have filled a few hundred concert halls since their humble beginnings in the West Midlands five years ago.

But tickets for last nights concert were still being advertised only a few hours before - unthinkable 12 months or two years ago when they would have been sold out weeks in advance.

And the audience stayed rooted to their seats until urged to get up by lead singer Noddy Holder halfway through the concert.

On previous tours, security staff in theatres have been taken by surprise by fans leaping up as soon as the group bounded on stage.

On stage, Slade were as brash and exuberant as ever. Noddy resplendent in giant polka dots and Dave Hil sporting a natty tail - suit spangled with mirrors.

They played a considerable number of new songs, instead of relying on their tried and trusted formula of singing their sizeable collection of hit singles - though there were enough of those to keep everyone happy.

But as their songwriting becomes more sophisticated - no matter how slightly - their popularity seems to wane.

They are losing their hard core of young fans of the past yet failing to pick up new, more mature followers.

It's a problem faced over and over again in the rapidly changing pop world.

Success in America - for which they have laboured long and hard, and which they will fight for even more after June - could be essential if they are to survive at all.



Photo Slade In England