May 23, 2008
I left for Norway from Copenhagen, Denmark, in a small Fokker 50 and landed at the airport on Karmoy where Lars Ove was waiting for me with Jostein Hustveit, drummer with Matpackers and other Norwegian bands. The two guys were responsible for a screening of Flame before the Saturday gig and they helped out Helge Berthelsen at Byscenen as well.
From the airport on Karmoy we drove directly to the festival in Sandnes close to Stavanger. We had to both sail with a ferry and drive in tunnels underneath a fjord and I thought that Jules Verne would have liked it. I mean, within a couple of hours I had flown 10 kilometres up in the air and driven 260 metres under the sea in order to go see some middle aged men in spandex, singing that they were all crazy. How sci-fi is that?
Anyway, the Norwegian landscape was wonderful and around 5 p.m. we reached the Classic Rock Festival. Security was very tight, so it took some time before they located the guest list so we could get in. Slade were already getting changed, so we didn’t get to say hello to them before they went on stage at six. But Don picked me out in the crowd and pointed his drum stick at me in recognition of our presence.
The concert was fantastic, one of the best I have ever seen them do. There were so much “on” all the time, giving the audience their all and being so much more lively and energetic than usual. They later ascribed it to the huge size of the stage, saying that it called for them to goof around more than usual. The set list was the one that we all know:
We’ll Bring The House Down
Take Me Bak ‘Ome
Squeeze Me Pleeze Me
Far Far Away
‘Coz I Luv You
My Oh My
Mama Weer All Crazy Now
Get Down And Get With It
and for the encores:
Cum On Feel The Noize
Merry Xmas Everybody
The boyz were wonderfully silly during the show. Get Down saw Mal licking Dave’s guitar, both Don and Dave wore Christmas hats for MXE and John was spinning around the scene and edging the audience on. In the past John has often been blamed for being too stiff on stage, but during this concert you couldn’t accuse him of that and I got the pictures to prove it! I was told that there were about 7,000 in the audience and it was a really great crowd.
After the show Slade were whisked away to dinner and I went with Lars Ove and Jostein to have a pizza until they returned. We were back at the festival a bit after ten o’clock. As security was really very, very tight it took me some time to get the necessary stamps on my hand to enter the so-called “Super VIP lounge” where I finally met up with the band. I hung out with Don and talked a bit to Dave, too. He’d brought his son Sam along, Sam working with the crew. Robin was there too, of course, as well as Slade’s manager Abbie Carter and John’s wife Anna. They were all in a very good mood, looking forward to seeing Rod Stewart who was on the same bill at the festival, but unfortunately his concert was a bit of a disappointment. His show was very cabaret, like seeing an old Elvis doing a Las Vegas show. Half an hour into the show I left, so that Lars Ove could drive me to Haugesund and the band left as well before Rod Stewart finished. They stayed the night at a hotel by Stavanger Airport whereas I was in the hotel in Haugesund where the guys were to check in the next day.
Lars Ove and I were in Haugesund around 2 a.m. and I got a beautiful room at the hotel down by the harbour. All the hotel rooms were named after famous films, and I was in “The Big Sleep”. A bit of an irony as the room was situated above the hotel office, so whenever their fax went on I woke up. Oh well, at least I had Humphrey Bogart all over my walls!