Slade Newcastle City Hall 30th April 1975
In April 1975 I finally relented, saw sense, put “cool” aside, and went along to see Slade again. This was my one and only experience of Slade and their audience full-on during their glamrock megapop teen sensation period. Support came from Bunny (not sure what happened to them). The City Hall was packed full of teenage girls. When sold-out, as it was for Slade that night, the City Hall holds 2,400 people; I swear there were 2,200 screaming girls there, me, and 199 other guys. The guys that were present were either with their girlfriends, feeling very out of place (like me) and looking around sheepishly (also like me), skinheads who had followed the band from the start, or full-on Slade fans (you could tell which ones they were; they were the guys dressed as Nod or Dave). I swear every single girl was wearing a Slade scarf, tartan trousers or top (or both), Slade badges, or even better a Slade rosette (the rosettes were often home-made with pictures of Noddy cut out of Jackie or Fab208). And of the 2,200 girls, I reckon 1,500 of them were wearing top hats (or bowlers) with mirrors stuck around them. Well maybe all of that’s a little bit of an exaggeration, but you get the general picture. I was seated upstairs on a side balcony, looking down on the stage. Not the best position in the house, and it only added to me not feeling fully part of the event. I felt sooooo…. out of place, and self conscious; but what the hell; I was at a Slade concert again, and I knew how hard these guys could rock on a good night 🙂
“We Want Slade…Slade…SLADE…SLADE ….SLADE..”. Slade arrived on stage and the place went crazy. Mad. Totally.
The truth was that Slade’s popularity was starting to decline and their last single “How Does It Feel” (which was also the theme for “Slade in Flame”) had only made (shock horror) No 15 in the UK charts. But as a live act, and in Newcastle City Hall that night, Slade remained massive.
Noddy was on top form. No-one could work a crowd like him. And some of his banter with the crowd was pretty filthy in those days; “Hands up all those girls with red knickers on….Hands up all those girls with blue knickers on..Hands up all those girls with NO knickers on!” The girls lapped it up and they screamed and screamed and screamed. They waved their scarves in the air, and everyone sang “Everyday”. I stood watching, taking it all in. Sometimes I felt I was part of it, but mostly it was as if I was outside looking in. I couldn’t quite relate to the madness and craziness of it all. The set had changed completely from the early days, which surprised me, but I guess it shouldn’t have. Slade no longer started with “Hear Me Callin'” or finished with “Born to be Wild”. However, elements of the old Slade did come through now and then; those old rockers were hidden behind the glam pop teen swagger. After all, deep down I knew that Nod was still the cheeky raucous rock singer, Dave was still the big kid who wanted to show off, Jim had always been a real musician, and Don just remained unphased by it all, the solid rock rhythm holding it all together at the back. But I left with a strange feeling; it was as if I’d been to a kid’s party where I didn’t know anyone, no-one spoke to me, and the party went on in full swing, completely ignoring me.
Setlist: Them Kinda Monkeys Can’t Swing; The Bangin’ Man; Gudbuy T’Jane; Far Far Away; Thanks for the Memory (Wham Bam Thank You Mam); How Does It Feel?; Just a Little Bit; Everyday; O.K. Yesterday Was Yesterday; Raining in My Champagne; Let the Good Times Roll; Mama Weer All Crazee Now
But my Slade experiences didn’t end in the City Hall that night; amid the scarves, the glitter and the teenage girls. The old Slade, the rock’n’roll band I loved from the day I first saw them in 1971, returned a few years later. Slade then got lost in a cabaret wilderness, but were to return again; this time as heavy metal heroes. And once again, it was a festival appearance that transformed their career, just as their appearance at the Lincoln festival did in 1972. But this time it was in a field at Reading in 1980, when they appeared at short notice as a replacement for Ozzy. But more of that later..I experienced all of those ups and downs of Slade’s crazy career, and was lucky enough to live through a few more LOUD crazy Slade rock nights.
I’m on a roll with Slade memories now; things are starting to come back to me quite clearly. I’ll work my way the rest of those happy memories during the remainder of this week.
Archive for the ‘Bunny’ Category
Slade Newcastle City Hall 30th April 1975