LET THERE BE ROCK
Carol Clerk braves rain and traffic jams to bring back news
of Castle Donington's Monsters Of Rock festival.
SLADE / DONINGTON PARK 22/8/1981
ANOTHER break,. Another beer, another burger and another band. The first layer of rain had chilled the bones, the second was spirit sapping, but the festival spirit was surfacing; feelings of anticipation, restlessness, excitement............and Slade!
The perfect band for this point In the proceedings, Slade came. saw and conquered the whole almighty throng. They chased the challenge of the elements right Out of sight the cold, the wet, the discomfort, nothing mattered.
Great swells of movement swept through the masses. Clouds of steam rose from the throngs at the front, White plastic bottles danced happily in the air like a million balloons. Dave Hill, dressed as ridiculously as ever, pouted and pranced and danced while leather clad Jim Lea gave a thrilling display of gymnastics Stage left of Noddy. Noddy the lion hair. Teasing and taunting with the easy banter of a bloke in the pub with his mates, he only had to open that mouth once and he had 'em. "Looks like It's gonna piss down" and then with a sly grin........"later on."
The set was naturally studded with spirited versions of the songs they'll never be allowed to stop playing: 'Take Me bak 'Ome', 'Gudbuy T'Jane', 'Get Down And Get with it, Born to be wild, 'Mama Weer All Crazee Now', which prompted squeals of delight from two of the men standing behind me There was 'Every Day'. 'We'll Bring The House Down' and a run through the new single, an unrepentant stomper called 'Lock Up Your Daughters'.
Slade are a timeless sort of band; they're also a pretty lethal rocking machine when they want to be. (You should have heard them tearing into 'Something Else' ) Best of all, though, they'll have a go at the unexpected just to keep you on your toes .. throwing out strains of Hendrix, changing them into Canned Heat and than giving the stage over to Jim Lea and Don Powell for a bass/drums and violin/drums work out. And all with a sense of humour. The response, by the end, was almost beyond belief. The sight of 65,000 pairs of hands clapping In the air, the sound of 65,000 voices singing together would literally have taken your breath away.
Blue Oyster Cult couldn't. They had a hard enough job to begin with after Slade, but they didn't help themselves at all with what was a decidedly listless presentation. Little humour, little visual interest, little verbal communication....just a little too little of everything that's important at a gathering this size.......
CAROL CLERK / MELODY MAKER / 29th AUGUST 1981