LAND OF THE RISING SLADE
From BOB HART in Tokyo
SLADE / SUN PLAZA HALL- 74'
THE gleaming new Sun Plaza Hall in Tokyo had been built to survive an earthquake. For a couple of hours, the big question was: Will it survive Slade ?
It was the last date of a successful four week tour which had whisked them through New Zealand, Australia and Japan.
As a full house of 4,000 Japanese youngsters were stomping out their enthusiasm for Slade, an official took me beneath the auditorium to show me what a pounding the hall's supporting girders were taking.
Lead singer Noddy Holder told me, as he ran off stage for the last time: "These kids are wild. " I don't suppose many of them speak English, but they know all the songs And they don't seem to care about themselves.
I looked out past the third row after a couple of numbers and all I could see was a mountain of kids about 15 feet high, Somebody must have been at the bottom."
It was Slade's first tour in the Land of the Rising Sun. But the kids treated the four superstars of British rock - Noddy, Dave Hill, Jimmy Lea and Don Powell, like old friends. They called the band " S r a d e," with that Japanese pronunciation which turns Ls into Rs, and Rs into Ls.
Noddy teased them about it by shouting:" Rets lock 'n' loll! " They loved it.
Every concert was sold out, and in Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo, the lobbies of the band's hotels were jammed with young girls who must surely be the world's most polite fans. They would wait quietly and patiently for autographs, and bow, in gratitude when they finally collected them. They were quiet and gentle, wanting nothing more than to give little gifts to their idols and then to weep softly when they were accepted.
Lead guitarist Dave Hill was, as usual, the centre of attention.
"They really are sweet kids." he said. "You can be trapped in a crowd of them without even being pushed or shoved. "They seem to save up their madness for concerts."
As they conquer vast record markets like Japan it becomes obvious that Slade are going to be one of the world's most successful POP outfits.
Their last British single - Merry Xmas Everybody broke all speed of sale records for a single in this country, and their 10 hit singles have sold six and a half million copies in Britain alone. Their four chartbusting albums have sold two million copies in Britain. Slade have earned their success. They still work harder than most bands --- on tours like this one, and on next month's massive tour of Britain.
But success has changed them very little.
Noddy Holder explained: "We don't let it go to our heads. When you live in Wolverhampton and drink at the local with people you have known al your life, it keeps you sane.
We chatted as we sat on adjacent stools in a Japanese bath house. Two sturdy little ladies were trying to remove the skin from our backs with what felt like wire wool.
"It's a great life," Noddy went on, "having your back scrubbed in Tokyo one day, and being threatened with a punch on the nose in Wolverhampton the next."
DAILY MIRROR 17/3/1974