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slade 1972IT WAS just one year ago when Slade invaded these shores for the first time. They were visibly very jittery, having just conquered England, becoming the country's sweethearts after a barrage of hit singles which cracked the charts in repid succession. What was more impressive, they toppled T. Rex off their throne and had Marc Bolan reassessing himself and his music.

Slade knew that a trip to the States would be the next big test of their abilities, and they did it the hard way; starting at the bottom of the bill at venues like the Academy Of Music, under the J.Geils band and Frampton's Camel.

A press conference held here before their first show caught the band off guard, as some of the city's wiseguys threw questions at them like " What is your favourite brand of beer?", "Why do you look so funny?", "What do you use for Hemorrhoids?", and "Do you still live with your parents, you sissys".

At the concert, where they were finally given a chance to prove themselves and show what all the fuss was about, the J. Geils fans refused to give them quarter. Nobody wanted to clap along or participate in any way because they were saving their energy for the Geils band. As Slade's whole act is based on audience participation they left the stage that night without exactly taking the city by storm. Reviewers called them musically impotent after the show, and stressed the fact that flash is not enough to win the loyalty of American audiences.

Now a year later, and headlining in their own right over Blue Oyster Cult, a local band with many diehard fans , Slade had the audience on their feet for almost every song. There were still some sceptics around who had come to see the Cult and hope that Dave Hill would fall off his platforms, but the audience was practically 100 per cent partisan Slade fans, many with T shirts which boasted their allegiance.

As they came onstage, Dave Hill is as always the focal point -- dressed in a glittering silver and black Roman toga and playing his 'spaceship' guitar. Without much ado, they launch right into "Take Me Bak 'Ome."

Now, with a good number of singles under their belt, Slade wisely paces themselves through the evening, building to tremendous climaxes as Noddy's voice thrusts the group through Move Over, Gudbuy T' Jane and Just A Little Bit before they clear the air with Darling Be Home Soon. Nothing much has changed since Slade Alive was released two years ago -- if anything, they've gotten wilder.

It didn't take much coaxing to get the audience up on their feet again and admitting that they were all "crazee" before The Whole World's Goin' Crazee, and it didn't even take the threatened "boot up the arse" to keep everybody stomping along to Cum On Feel The Noize.

the electricity in the air kept making things more frantic, and the volume was steadily increasing as they played Mama Weer All Crazee Now, the closest they've ever come to a hit single in this country. By the time they were into Let The Good Times Roll, Jimmy Lea was standing on top of the amplifiers, Don Powell was cracking the skins with his sticks like a whip, and Noddy and Dave were duckwalking down the runways which lead from the stage to the seats over the orchestra pit.

Instead of lighting the customary matches while demanding an encore, the audience held out their thumbs in the "Slade sign" and the group eagerly responded with Get Down And Get With It. It was a strong climax, but they were called back for more, and managed to top that with a rousing Keep On Rocking, which fittingly capped the show.

Yes, New York City is now a Slade town.







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