Slade in Holstebro, August 12, 2006
With my daughter Tea I set out for the Slade-gig in Holstebro from Odense at 10.30 a.m. That is, the train didn't go anywhere until half an hour later because a passenger was ill and we had to wait for the ambulance. The train was further delayed on the way so we didn't reach the hotel until 2.30 p.m., 1½ hours late. A quick call to Hanne and an hour later we met up with her and some Danish friends at Slade's hotel.
The boyz were still making their way from Frankfurt in Germany to Holstebro in Denmark and somewhere along the line their luggage had disappeared! When the guys finally arrived, only Mal and crewmember Tim had their suitcases. The rest had nothing. Luckily Hanne had been told before leaving home, so she brought stage clothes and the old white gum shield for Don as well as T-shirts and other necessities (pink underwear with frills, Don?) for the rest of the guys. But still, what a bummer! No stage clothes, Don's drum pedal was missing, no tools, nothing! The guys had hardly had any sleep either, as they had had to get up at four to reach Holstebro in time. As Don told me he was almost asleep when showering that morning. He couldn't even bother to check if the water was hot or cold!
We sat in the lobby and I chatted with Don and sound technician Robin when Tea suddenly said, "Look!" We looked out of the window and it was raining cats and dogs! Oh, sh*t! And Slade were to play an open-air festival!
Well, John went out shopping for some clothes and the rest of the guys headed for their rooms to freshen up and change into the T-shirts. The rest of us stayed in the lobby with Slade's manager Len Tuckey who had come along for the ride. He entertained us with anecdotes from Russia and with commenting on everything and anybody.
At six o'clock we left the hotel and Tea and I drove to the festival with Hanne and Don in the pouring rain. The festival grounds were extremely muddy and wet, but nevertheless the festival was sold out and all 4,000 had a great time, rain or not. I met up with hard-core Slade-fans Per and Kirsten, who'd been there for a couple of hours. They said that the rain was actually Smokie's fault. Smokie had been playing "Have You Ever Seen The Rain" and just then the rain had started! Smokie had even apologised for the choice of song!
I then said hello to festival president Kristian Andersen and after that I was stopped by a very inquisitive guy who demanded to know who I was, what was I doing backstage etc. etc. I thought, what's this, is he going to kick me out or what? Then he suddenly said, "Now I need your picture. I'll just go get Don." It turned out that this guy was the festival photographer, John Andresen from a-star-is-born.dk, so he had Don lined up with Tea and me to take our pic for the festival website gallery! He later let me use some of his photos. Thanks for that, John!
Tea and I had a bit to eat and then Tea was off. I had brought along flyers promoting the remastered CDs and Tea was handing them out among the audience. Slade's merchandise booth got some as well and so did Per and Kirsten and theatre director Mikael Helmuth who had showed up for the concert. Then it was time for the guys to change and Tea was dumbfounded when she saw Don's gum shield. She had never seen the old white one before so she just gaped at him! Especially when he sent her a big BRIGHT smile!
Tea's special friend Dave then came and said hello to her. He had been on the outlook for hats to wear on stage. Per and Kirsten always bring along a couple of Christmas hats for Slade concerts so Dave could borrow Kirsten's for MXE. Another Danish friend then provided him with another hat that he could use for the rest of the show. That hat looked like something out of "Crocodile Dundee"!
Slade were supposed to be on at 8.45 p.m., but of course it ran a bit late. It always does. Don went to do the sound check and then things were more or less ready. The stage was situated in such a way that Don couldn't get on stage from behind the drums, so when he had finished his sound check he just crouched down behind his kit, so the audience couldn't see him. From the stage side it looked funny, having him hide there behind the drums!
Well, finally the guys were on. The set list was:
We'll Bring The House Down
Take Me Bak 'Ome
Lock Up Your Daughters
Far Far Away
Look Wot You Dun
'Coz I Luv You
My Oh My
Hear Ya Callin'
Mama Weer All Crazee Now
Get Down And Get With It
and the encores:
Cum On Feel The Noize
Merry Xmas Everybody
It was one heck of a concert! Next to the Nordborg-gig in June this was probably the best I've seen them do in the present line-up. There seems to be an extra energy when the guys haven't slept properly the night before and are running purely on adrenaline!
The rain was hard, though, so already during Take Me Bak 'Ome John had Tim move the mike-stands a couple of feet back to avoid the rain. But Dave didn't seem to mind the water. He even danced around on stage with an umbrella during Everyday! Everyday also saw Don lose his crash cymbal. It simply fell off!
John's violin playing on CILY and Run Runaway had improved further although there's still a bit to go before he reaches the virtuosity of Jim. Mal on the other hand displayed some fancy footwork on Run Runaway. Eat your heart out, river dancers! Dave brought a girl on stage for a quick dance during My Oh My and when it was time to do Hear Ya Callin', Dave - tongue in cheek - played a few bars of Hear Me Calling. And then Dave's hat came into the limelight during Hear Ya Callin'. Tim had been holding up a sign with the words "Crocodile Dave", so Mal introduced Dave as "Crocodile Hill on guitar"!
What really had us rolling with laughter was another idea of Tim's. No one in the audience had noticed that John and Dave didn't wear their usual stage clothes, but when it came to Mama Weer All Crazee Now where they usually change into something else, there was nothing else to change into! Tim then stopped a security guy and a young girl from the festival crew and ripped them for some garments. So John went on stage in the security guy's bright yellow waistcoat with the word KONTROL (control) printed on it, and Dave came on in the girl's red waistcoat, that said CREW. When Don saw them he laughed so hard behind the drums! He just couldn't stop. It really DID look hilarious!
After the concert the guys were handed red roses on stage. John later gave his to Tea and Kirsten got Don's along with Dave's autograph in her Christmas hat as a thank you for helping out.
When the guys had changed we drove back to the hotel with Don and Hanne. Don really needed some sleep, so we didn't stay long. The guys had to leave already at 6.30 a.m. the next morning in order to catch their flight to Poland. Hopefully they reunited with their luggage during transit in Copenhagen!
When it was time to say goodbye Don not only kissed Tea's hand but also gave her a small peck on the mouth. Usually he only kisses her hand, which always makes her so proud, so that peck almost made her faint!
Tea and I went back to our hotel and a good nights sleep. The next morning we met up with Per and Kirsten for a small chat before their train left. Thanks, Per, for letting me use some of your pics, by the way!
Our train left an hour later, this time with no delays. When we reached Odense it was pouring down with rain again, so I arrived home with muddy clothes, soaked shoes and cystitis! Well, despite everything it had once again been a great Slade-experience and I hope to see the band in concert again soon!