SLADE / HAMMERSMITH ODEON, LONDON 20/12/1981
YOU COULDN'T have found a wilder reception if you'd been at Wembley on Cup Final day, with more toilet rolls being lobbed and cascading than a Christmas perty at Andrex.
How they managed to achieve such charisma on stage is one secret of success that they've somehow managed to attain from their years (and what countless years) of playing 'fun rock and roll.
What they lack in technicality or musicianship, they make up for in professionalism and sheer entertainment. Audience participation wasn't the word - the whole set was a football style singalong, but with style!
Support band Spider boogied their best to warm up an impatient crowd, coping well with a somewhat limited sound and lighting quota. But what a hard support slot to fill, as Slade's mere presence sparked enough adrenalin to keep everybody "drugged" for the night.
'Diddy' Dave Hill was (as always) zany to watch, and what weird and wonderful contents his wardrobe must contain! This time we were stunned by his snakeskin strides and an equally eccentric topper (surely one character extraordinaire).
Whilst Noddy Holder still possesses that characteristic ability to coax the crowd into an excited but controllable frenzy.
With energy abounding, the best numbers were, of course the old faves; 'Gudbuy t' Jane' and the slower 'Everyday'. But the more recent contributions held a different type of success with 'Lock Up Your Daughters' and 'We'll Bring The House Down' proving that as long as Slade exist the hit songs will keep coming.
And with the atmosphere as it was the band could have played or done anything with the crowd's approval. Even Jimmy Lea's flamboyant stint on the fiddle - varying in positions (is there no end to this man's talent?) caused quite a few interpretations of the Highland Fling in the aisles.
But of course, nothing could conclude the festivity and madness than the seasonal classic 'Merry Christmas', with Noddy now clad as Santa and a rainfall of balloons amongst the by now accurate verying colours of two ply.
Slade are back, but who clears up after them?
KAREN HARVEY, SOUNDS 24/12/1981
Slade In England