SANTANA PERFORMS AT SPORTS ARENA
SLADE / SPORTS ARENA, TOLEDO,OHIO 18/5/1976
Slade is a rock group that has been together 10 years and now is expanding in new directions, while the group Santana has gone through numerous personnel changes to wind up returning, fortunately, to their earlier sound.
The hard rock sound of Slade and the Latin style rhythms of santana were much in evidence Tuesday night before an enthusiastic crowd at the Sports Arena.
Santana relies heavily on percussion and the scintillating guitar work of its leader, Carlos Santana. He has been credited with the popularisation of the Latin rock sound, which has been copied by many other groups.
But after such early successes as "Black magic Woman" and "Evil Ways" they had slipped away from their formula. With their latest album, " Amigos", and their preformance Tuesday night, it's obvious they've rediscovered the sound of success.
Best Moments In Softer Songs
Santana's best moments came in the softer, slower songs that featured the guitar playing of their leader. the soft melodic strains coming from his guitar made a crowd of 5,000 in a large arena seem like a crowd of 50 in an intimate nightclub.
Then, just as quickly, the group would break into an upbeat number, featuring the excellent keyboard work of Tom Costner and Armando Peraza on the congas and bongos. The instrumentation and percussion sometimes dominated at the expense of the vocals, but that part was never one of this group's strengths anyway.
Mellow Santana, Thunderous Slade
Some of the group's standards were more jazz flavoured than when first released on record, but they still were easily recognisable. the best song from the latest album was a compelling number entitled, "Dance, Sister, Dance." The focus of their act throughout - even when he slipped out of his guitar to play percussion - was Carlos Santana, whether playing acoustic guitar as he did while seated to begin the set, or sliding forward on the stage while playing the electric guitar.
It was hard to believe that the crowd could settle into the mellow Santana riffs after being hammered by the thunderous rock beat of Slade and their lead singer, Noddy Holder. This veteran British band has now settled in New York City in an attempt to achieve the popularity in the U.S. that they've had in England.
In an interview backstage, Holder said the band is branching out into new areas, and the varied style, he believes may account for its greater airplay than previous albums. The title of the album is " Nobody's Fool." and it has great significance for the four members of the band - Holder, bass player Jimmy Lea, lead guitarist Dave Hill, and drummer Don Powell - because April 1 was the tenth anniversary of their first performance together.
Hard Times In Early Days
Holder believes the band has made it together this long because they had to go through hard times in their early days together - and that makes it easier to stay together through the good times. And most of the 10 years has been spent on the road because Slade is a touring band rather than a recording band. The longest they have spent on any one of their albums was eight weeks Holder said.
Lea and Holder do all of the composing, when asked how many songs that totals up to, the bearded Holder threw back his head, winced, and groaned, "150."
Limit Theatrics Onstage
Their show on Tuesday night was typical of the hard rock 'n' roll that is Slade's speciality. they limit the theatrics on stage, but the timing between the guitarists is excellent, and Holder is all over the stage screaming his vocals. For a while, it was hard to tell which would give out first - Holder's voice, the instruments, or the eardrums of the persons in the crowd. There was almost an answer when a fine guitar solo by Dave Hill was broken slightly by an overtaxed sound system.
TOM DAVIES, BLADE STAFF WRITER, TOLEDO BLADE, OHIO 19/5/1976