Thursday, October 26, 2006
Liverpool Royal Court Theatre, 1983
Recently I had the opportunity to watch a DVD of a recording from Liverpool Royal Court Theatre, December 18, 1983, where Slade gave their final concert in England (without knowing). The DVD claims to be the one and only full concert record in existence of Slade, which is not entirely true, as there's the concert taped at the Winterland Arena in San Francisco, 1975, as well.
Anyway, this Liverpool concert runs a little over an hours. The quality of both sound and picture is rather lousy, but what the heck. It's Slade! As hot and energetic as ever. Playing in front of an experienced audience that knows all the lines, singing along and shouting “Yeah!” at all the right times.
The set list is:
When I'm Dancin' I Ain't Fightin'
Take Me Bak 'Ome
My Oh My
A Night To Remember
Lock Up Your Daughters
We'll Bring The House Down
Get Down And Get With It
and for the encores:
You'll Never Walk Alone
Mama Weer All Crazee Now
Merry Xmas Everybody
This is really a great concert with many highlights. A great rendition of Bak 'Ome with Jim sticking his bass to the stacks, Dave doing an "Egyptian" dance and Nod freaking out on vocals.
Nod's banter is as always witty, for instance when after My Oh My he talks about doing Top of The Pops: "I said to the cameraman, I said, can you make sure you get me best side. He said, we can't get a camera up your arse."
Don's doing one heck of a job during Jane followed by House Down. He sure is a hard-working lad! And it was great seeing the guys do T. Rex' Hot Love with Jim on lead while Nod was taking a break.
I also enjoyed the speedy version of Get Down and of course MXE with Nod in a Santa's costume. A Christmas tree is being lowered down on stage, but Nod doesn't realise until Dave points it out to him. Great. The whole thing ends with the then obligatory Singing In The Rain.
I think the whole concert is fantastic, but it probably comes as no surprise to anyone that I'm especially fond of the Jim/Don-solos during Night To Remember. Jim does a great Purple Haze on bass as fast as only Jim can do it, and Don has an intermezzo on drums before Jim is back on violin. His superbly diabolical Rhapsody In Blue has plenty of audience participation before he finishes off with doing the gallop infernal from Offenbach's Orpheus, playing the violin under his arm, through his legs, lying on his back on the floor. Fantastic!
Well, zap, back to the present. It's truly a wonderful concert and you're left with the thought, why, why, why did they stop touring! What a waste!
Anyway, thanks for the view, mate!
Sunday, October 22, 2006
MOJO has an 8-page feature on Slade in their November-issue, including a very good review of the Flame-film. As for the rest of the feature…oh, well. It has some nice pics and the story of Slade’s career is being told, but when that is said, it is as if MOJO’s main mission is to paint a wickedly distorted picture of the original band members and their mutual relationships.
The guys are all assigned one-sided, caricatured roles (very similar to those in Flame actually) in order for MOJO to give the misleading impression that they all hate each other; Dave thus being the sex-crazed egomaniac, Don the goofy drunk, Jim the over-ambitious basket case who caused the end of Slade, and Nod the almost god-like father figure, solely responsible for the success of the band. What a load of crap! MOJO conveniently forgets to tell minor details such as Dave being married to the same woman for more than 30 years, Don not having touched any liquor for decades, Jim being the musical brains behind Slade and Nod the one who handed in his notice, thereby ending the original band. Added to that MOJO gives the Slade box a shitty review, actually saying not to buy this.
All in all a feature of almost gutter press dimensions, but at least Mark Kermode’s Flame-review is spot-on.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Box set-interview with Don
Monday last week I went over to Don’s as we had different things to take care of. One of them was to do a short interview regarding the box set to tie in with the remaster-interview. Her you have a bit of the interview as well as some pics. You can read the full interview on my Don Powell-blog.
What do you think of the Slade Box?
I’m very impressed. When we visited Union Square a couple of weeks ago to do the comments for Flame, the guys there, Chas Chandler and Steve Fruin, told us about it being remastered by Tim Turan and he did a fantastic job! Especially when they said that a lot of the tracks, they hadn’t access to the original masters, so they remastered them from the singles of the time, like the B-sides and he did a great job, Tim Turan did. And when we went there, Dave got home before I did, and he called and mentioned to me, play them, because they sound REALLY good and they’ve done a great job. And he has. And I called Nod to say the same thing, because he hadn’t played the new box set. I said, when you play them you’ll be really impressed what a good job the guys did on them. It is really good. When you think some of these tracks go back over 30 years and they’ll obviously sound a little dated, but sometimes that’s quite nice because that’s like the appeal of the thing. But again, that’s different for me being in the business, but the way records sound nowadays, it’s incredible. The kids expect that when they buy records. They expect an A1 incredible sound and I think the guys did a great job.
What do you think of the pick of the tracks?
I think they also did a great job there, choosing the tracks. All the hits gotta be on them, but that’s quite good with some of the other tracks, they actually work well with the hits. Things from the late seventies and the eighties, “Knuckle Sandwich Nancy” and things like that. They are quite nice, the tracks they’ve chosen. It’s good. It’s a good collection of them.
I read some review that said it was strange that both CD 3 and CD 4 consisted of tracks from after the heydays.
I think that is quite nice. I think they HAVE to. A box set has to include those.
It also said it was strange that there were so few live tracks, but…I thought, the live-collection has just been released…
Exactly! It is there on the live-CD with Slade Alive 1 and 2 and the other live albums. Anyway, it must be a pretty difficult job, when they are doing that, releasing other albums like they were, and they have to sort of chose tracks for this particular project. Just take the first side or CD1 rather, which I was quite impressed with, there are some nice songs there. Some of my favourites like “She Did It To Me”, there are some wonderful songs there. I’m a bit disappointed that we didn’t do MORE of that. Because when we recorded it I was quite impressed, it’s a lovely song.
Different reviewers also complain that there is nothing new there, on the box.
Well, it’s not a new release. It’s a box set. The thing with a box set is to have the big ones. It is more like the history of the band, basically. Spanning Slade’s entire recording career. That’s what it is.
What do you think of the way that the box looks?
[Don bursts into laughter:] You know, at first I didn’t even noticed that at all! Nod’s hat! It’s so obvious! Not until Chas at Union Square said, noticed something? [still laughing] Of course! [laughs a bit more, before continuing:] But I think it is quite effective. Especially the black and white with the red Slade. And also what is nice as well is the photographs in the booklet. Photographs that haven’t really been seen before. Like when we made the Flame-movie and Andrew Birkin and Richard Loncraine came with us to America, and Andrew took a LOT of photographs obviously when he was on the road with us. And it is SO nice to see new photographs. It would be so easy to use the usual photographs that you see everywhere, so I think that is SO good.
It is nice seeing new photographs and it is nice seeing Chas as well. I like that Chas is there. He was always travelling with us. Mmm…it’s nice seeing the photographs of Chas…And the clothes, of course! [laughs] You waited for that one, didn’t you? [laughs again] And the clothes, of course! I think that is what I look for more than anything. What were we wearing? It’s like when you read the dialogs of the booklet about Dave changing in the toilet and we would give him a shout, what’s he gonna wear? It is SO true, that!
I like that it is Keith Altham who did the essay and not somebody hired without knowing the band.
Yeah. Yeah, that’s good. He got sort of like a closeness to the band, obviously, being our publicist in those days. And he did sort of know us. He’s not somebody from the outside. And he’s writing as he sort of saw things. But at least Keith DOES know us. And he can write. [laughs] That makes such a difference. I’m glad it is someone like Keith that got the job to do that. He is a writer and he DOES know the band. Plus the fact that he was responsible for us being skinheads! [laughs long]
Well, I don’t have much more, because we talked so much about the tracks the last time and I can just use that with the box as well.
Yes. And as I said, I’m very impressed with the box set. And I think it’s what the fans have been waiting for. The general sort of comments that I get is: About time! And it is quite nice
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
The November-issue of Record Collector sports a 9 pages feature on Slade. The feature consists of interviews with the guys, covering their career. The interviews were made separately a few months ago. I like the fact that it is only the ”voices” of the guys that you hear, that you only get the comments of the author in the intro, especially when you think of the research-errors in the attached ”20 Top Slade Fax” fact box.
It’s mostly Nod who gets quoted, but the others get some few good ones in there as well, Dave revealing his doubts about using the Slade II name, Jim talking about his new album and Don about his wishful thinking regarding Black Country virgins!
As such there is nothing new for hard-core fans, the stories are all common knowledge and the pics we’ve seen before, but it is really, really nice with such a prominent feature and the issue also sports a review of the box. Here Jim gets a special mention, so does Wonderin’ Y, but RC ends up giving the box only 3 out of 5 stars. I think it would have got at least an extra one had RC seen the actual box and not just based the review on advanced discs.