Slade in Holstebro, Denmark, August 13th, 2005
Perfect! What can I say? This event was just perfect. Took the train to Holstebro (2½ hours train ride from my home) and went straight to my hotel. It was beautiful, situated in the same building as the world-famed Danish Schaufuss-ballet. I got the most wonderful hotel room with a 10 square meters double bed!
After a quick change and a bite to eat I headed for the park where Slade was to play at a rock festival. This time there were no problems getting backstage. I had a personal security-girl escorting me through the park and helping me cross a small brook to get to the backstage area. I said hello to Kristian Andersen from the festival and got my bracelet to get "authorised".
I found Don and Hanne close to the stage. Hanne gave me a hug and it was so nice seeing her again. Also Don came over for a hug. "You got in all right this time?" he asked, and yes, there had been no problems. We talked for a bit before he went on to get his drums ready.
Then there was a lot of hanging around as I had arrived at 4.30 p.m. and the rest of the band didn't show up until 5.45 p.m. I talked to Don, Hanne and some of Slade's hardcore fans and I asked Don to do some before & after shots: before he changed into stage clothes and after. It was hilarious. Then we had some of Hanne's homebrewed camomile tea, as the venue didn't sport any hot water.
The rest of the band finally arrived, and around 6.45 p.m. they went on stage. They delivered an awesome show and the audience was great. The set list this time was:
Cum On Feel The Noize
Take Me Bak 'Ome
Lock Up Your Daughters
Far Far Away
Look Wot You Dun
'Coz I Luv You
Mama Weer All Crazee Now
And for the encores:
My Oh My
Merry Xmas Everybody
Dave had a little trouble with his guitar, so he had to prematurely switch to the Superyob for a while, but besides that it all ran sooo smooth, no mishaps, nothing. Dave gave a freaky solo during Take Me Bak 'Ome with John looking at him as if he was crazy. John has really loosened up since I saw him the first time in February. Mal introduced Bangin' Man as; "This is a song all about Don," and for MXE he did the usual routine, "What will your Daddy do when he sees your Mama kissing Dave Hill." This time Dave wore a bright red Christmas hat.
I've heard Mal sing with Slade twice now, whereas I only got to hear Steve Whalley once, so my standard of reference is a bit feeble. To me Mal seems to be a gain for the band, though. Because of his voice the songs are now back to their original keys and this makes the sound so much closer to what it was in the old days with Nod and Jim. He needs to develop his "Slade stage-personality" a bit, but I'm sure that'll come when he has been with the band a little longer, and in the meantime Dave and John are out there, entertaining people. Even Don did a couple of stunts behind the drums; a few victory gestures and fits of laughter. This time he threw his used sticks behind the drums, so Dave avoided getting a headache!
Anyway, this was a great concert, the best I've seen them do so far and the crowds really appreciated it, several wearing Christmas hats themselves, dancing and singing along to all the songs. I was told that there were around 3,000 people at the festival.
After the concert Dave quickly disappeared but the rest of the band stayed for dinner at the outdoors backstage area. Thank god it wasn't raining! There were several bands playing at the festival, but Slade's entourage took up most of the place. It was also the jolliest entourage of them all. People laughing and chatting all the time. It was really a chatty evening and I talked to Thomas, one of the journalists at the paper MidtVest that had featured one of my articles on Don. I also talked to Per, a big Slade-fan who'd read another article that I've done on Don for a Danish drummers' magazine. I talked to Pia, Slade AND Sweet fan, but most of the time I talked with Don, as he was the one whom I knew the best of the backstage crowd.
I had a few words with John and Mal as well. John said, "Didn't I meet you last week?" and when I said yes and that he was to meet me again next weekend he quipped, "Don't make it a habit!" Nice guy, though, and Mal is ever so sweet. Get the pun? I also had a long talk to Anthony of the band Windows 66. We'd just bought violins from Scotland, the both of us, and it was great talking to him. It is too rare that you get to talk to somebody who knows about violins.
It was just a perfect evening and when Suzi Quatro went on stage around 10.30 p.m. we all went to see the opening of her show. Don saw to it that I got a good spot stage side. I've never known a rock star to be as considerate, nice and gentle as Don. He has a way of letting everybody feel that they are special, mainly because he is just being himself. Down to earth, really human/humane in the best sense of the word. I mean; if you look lost or thirsty or cold or anything for just one second he's there; "Lise, are you all right?" Yes, Don, I'm all right. Thanks for asking.
It was a wonderful evening and next morning at the train station I met Pia and her friend Marianne so we talked a bit about the concert. We had to stop when the train arrived, as we weren't in the same compartment, but when I got to my compartment I landed in a seat next to a guy who was on his way home from a 3-days stag party. He was called Thomas (too) and we ended up talking for 2 hours! He told me that his girlfriend was a wonder kid on the violin, so I really bumped into violin-people that weekend.
Anyway, look forward to the Slade-concert in the town of Ølstykke next Saturday. You're doing a great job, guys!