Odds and sods about the British rock band Slade

Saturday, May 28, 2005

An original Slade concert

On July 21, 1978 I took the train from my hometown, Odense, around 6 p.m. to go to the town of Svendborg 50 kilometres away. From here there were 2 kilometres to Tved, the village, where Slade was to give a concert in a sports centre. I walked those 2 kilometres, the weather was mild, the birds were chirping, not a car on the road. It was totally peaceful, and then…
I don't remember much from the Slade concert, as I was in a daze. Somebody had wrecked the ladies' room at the venue so a security guy let me use the toilets backstage. Suddenly I found myself chatting to Don Powell and I even ended up getting autographs from the whole band! Man, was I grateful to that security guy! On the other hand I was so starstruck that I hardly remember anything from the concert. Yes, I remember there was a warm up band called Lola. Totally crap. And I remember Slade on stage. They delivered an awesome stage show.
I remember Dave Hill, who used to have long hair and wear the most spectacular outfits, having been shaved bald and wearing black leather. He shook hands with me from stage. I remember Noddy Holder, longhaired and with no top hat, belting out the songs with that cement mixer of his. He flirted with the few girls in the audience, me included. I remember Don Powell, dark and lean, going through drumsticks like they were made of cardboard, literally smashing them to pieces with his hard impact on the drums. And I remember Jim Lea, looking pretty as a picture, making backbends and being the most outgoing on stage. At one point he came so close that his sweat actually dripped onto my face and into my mouth. I can still recall the taste of it.
I can't recall the exact set list. I know for sure, that they played "My Baby Left Me." They played "Gudbuy T'Jane", "Everyday" and "Mama Weer All Crazee Now." They probably played "Cum On Feel the Noize", "Take Me Bak 'Ome" and "Burning in the Heat of Love" as well, but I'm not sure. I was 16 years old and had been close to my gods whom I had adored since I was 9. It was an experience beyond words.
I do remember, however, that most of the other audience were guys. Bikers with insignias on their backs and there were hardly any girls. Sometimes I think that if I hadn't accidentally run into 2 of my mates who were on friendly terms with the bikers, I would have had a hard time among those guys in front of the stage. But it was all worth it. Slade were good humoured, superb playing as ever, willing to give everyone a great night. It's not without reason that they were called the hardest working band ever to come out of Britain. They could really get a crowd going. In the good way.
After the concert I remember standing alone in the parking lot at the venue. Everyone else had gone home on their bikes or in their cars. I had a 2 kilometres walk on a dark country road ahead of me and I wasn't keen on going. I'm not afraid of the dark, but I'm not stupid, either. A 16 years old girl alone on a dark road in the middle of the night. Not good. If it wasn't for you 4 guys in the rental car who picked me up and drove me to the station in Svendborg, I don't know what I had done. You may not have saved my life, but you confirmed my love for Slade. Thanks guys, you know who you are, so share the roses!
As I sat in the train back to Odense at 6 a.m. Slade's music was still ringing in my ears. It had been my best night out ever and I was still thankful to that security guy. And my small bladder!


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