THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF THE WEEKEND
SLADE / CURTIS HIXON HALL, TAMPA, FLORIDA 12/10/1973
The air in Curtis Hixon Hall was dense and steamy Friday night, but, the atmosphere was made even stuffier by the sounds that permeated the haze through most of the evening's program.
Well over 8,000 energetic fans had packed themselves in to hear REO Speedwagon, Slade and Joe Walsh. Only the last of these acts showed anything more than listless mediocrity to its audience, and the concert as a whole was a perfect example of the sort of din that turns uninitiated music lovers into vehement despisers of rock 'n' roll.
The first band, REO Speedwagon, was uninspired and conventional. they set the tone for the evening's musical level with a tuneless boogie that was far inferior to the set they put out when they were in town last summer. the Speedwagon should go back to playing old rockers until they come up with some listenable original material.
Next up was Slade, an English group thet crossed the Atlantic accompanied by a hype campaign that touted them as the greatest band of the decade. that claim was proven to be a very poor joke. Any pretence of competence by Slade "self destructed" in a prolonged blast of discordant hot air.
After the build up they received, one would expect the group to be just a little bit exciting, even if they were loud and nasty. But the essence of today's so called "punk-rock" - a style that began and should have ended with Alice Cooper - is a dadastic dare to the listener to accept the decibel as the standard unit of musical quality, with minor-league perversity the only distinguishing feature among bands.
Even the young crowd in Tampa, anxious to "get into" something, didn't buy it. the members of Slade looked like a caricature of Mom and Dad's concept of a rock band - one player wore a mirrored top hat that he self consciously wiggled into the lights, and another was wearing a comical spaceman outfit complete with a convoluted guitar and glitter on his face.
All this foolishness is perfectly excusable when accompanied by a shred of musical integrity, but the stifling redundancies of Slade made it clear that they only had pretensions. Imagine standing next to a 747 with the engines running. Now imagine the sound produced by clapping one's palm over the ears in slovenly three-quarter time. That's what Slade sounds like.
Joe Walsh, erstwhile leader of the James Gang, introduced his solo act to the arena as the shows headliner. the James gang had been successful as a high powered trio that catered mainly to the 13-16 age group. Walsh has made an admirable decision to pursue new horizons, and to a large extent his fans have followed him into a calmer, more melodic musical vein.
In contrast to Slade, Joe Walsh is unassuming. he attempts to communicate with lyrics and tunes, leaving the bludgeon-of-sound technique to the lesss articulate stars. Although Walsh has improved measurably along these lines, his ability to write, sing and play is till in transition. His set was interesting but not moving. If Walsh keeps going the way he has been, he could become as popular as, say, Leslie West.
BOB ROSS - St Petersburg Times, Tampa, Florida Oct 15th 1973
Concert: Joe walsh, Slade, REO Speedwagon. Friday Oct 12, 7.30pm at Curtis Hixon Hall, Tampa, Admission $7.00 top, parking extra.