GUDBUY TO PAIN
SLADE / HAMMERSMITH ODEON, LONDON 15/4/1978
BACK in the days when I was but a wee teenybopper, Slade were my idols. never mind The Osmonds; Slade, Bowie, Bolan, they were my heritage at a time when I thought New York Dolls were Tiny Tears' colnial cousins. If six years ago I had been offered a couple of tickets to a Slade gig I would have thought myself the bees knees.
When the situation arose a few days ago, I was less ecstatic. Skeletons were dragged from the cupboard and my credibility blown sky high. Tastes change, people change, but Slade don't.
Well, Dave Hill has swapped the silver glitter for leather trews and a Kojak cut, and Noddy sports similar lower garments, a frilly shirt and impressive paunch; but still the proverbial working class heroes.
The audience was 95 per cent male teenagers who clapped, cheered, sang and swayed to all the old favourites. "Gudbuy T' Jane", 'Take Me Bak 'Ome', 'Far Far Away,' ' Mama Weer All Crazee Now,'. . . the list continues as Noddy introduces almost every song with 'Now an oldie, remember....'
Those numbers not culled from the singles catalogue each had a trick or treat to ensure a firm imprint upon the memory. Dry Ice and rainbow lighting for 'Burning In A Sea Of Love,' or drum, bass (and ) lengthy violin solos from Don Powell and Jimmy Lea. They haven't forgotten the tricks of the trade.
They first start a rousing chorus of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' before launching into their new single , 'Give Us A Goal'; amidst the cascading toilet rolls, the atmosphere is closer to a football match than a major concert.
Holder's voice is stronger than ever, with a quality of coarse grit, but the strength of an ox.
Musically, other than Lea, the band are little more than competent. Their main strength is their rhythms, which form a simple, but effective melodies. Even on the only ballad of the evening, 'Everyday', the swaying of the crowd was spontaneous as the foot stomping to 'Get Down And Get With It', the encore.
The surprise, for me, of the evening was that the showman proved to be the seemingly quiet Lea, who continually leapt from the speakers, ran along the catwalks and invaded Hill's less active region of the stage. He even set out to deafen himself by first placing his head in the bass bin, and then the drum, yet still escaped with his head soldered to his shoulders.
I'm not sure I was glad to be taken back, but although Slade are no longer rising stars, they can still pack a punch with their greatest hits - Live.
KELLY PIKE , RECORD MIRROR, APRIL 1978
From the archive of Slade In England
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