SLADE / CALIFORNIA BALLROOM, DUNSTABLE 24/6/1972
Even at its height, Beatlemania would have been hard pressed to produce scenes such as prevailed at the California, Dunstable, on Saturday night.
Guys screamed for air and girls fainted as Slade rocked and socked it to a capacity audience behind locked doors.
The dance floor was packed long before Slade took the stage. Still more people stood ten deep at the bars. As the bars cleared with Slade's arrival the inevitable happened. Hundreds of steaming bodies pushed and shoved -- not to see, just to breathe.
Girlfriends were hoisted high on boyfriends' shoulders clear of the crush. Exit doors were burst open by the weight of people seeking air. Dee-Jay Bruce Benson appealed for people to move back to alleviate the very real danger of massive amps toppling onto the crowd under pressure.
The band had to do the best they could under the circumstances. Searching hands from hysterical girls thrust forward at their every move. The crowd was at such a fever pitch that Slade could have played the spoons and they would have clapped and stomped along.
Just for the record they went through all their hits -- "Get Down And Get With It," "Coz I Luv You," "Look Wot You Dun," and "Take Me Bak 'Ome." Material from their two albums -- "Play It Loud" and "Slade Alive" filled in the gaps. Not forgetting, of course, Noddy Holder's mock version of "Beg Steal Or Borrow."
There it was -- a rockin', rousing performance that proved -- as lead guitarist Dave Hill said later -- that people still like to hear and enjoy music without having to analyse it.
A Full hour after Slade's last thundering note, scores of girls were sitting on the floor of the ballroom waiting for autographs.
Even dave Hill had to say: " I feel sorry for the kids -- they were like sardines out there tonight."
GRAHAM PUNTER - NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS 1/7/72