Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Slade in Koege, Denmark
On Saturday the 30th of August Slade gave a concert as part of the Koege Festival Week. The whole town had been celebrating for a week and Saturday was turned into a music festival with loads of names playing, most of them noted Danish acts, but also some foreign, among them Lutricia McNeal and Slade.
It was a wonderful, sunshiny day, very different from what we’d been used to, as it had been pouring down with rain most of the week. I made my way from Odense to Koege – a three hours trip by various trains – and met up with Don and Hanne at the town square of Koege at 5 p.m. They had brought Rocky, their dog, and as some of you know Rocky has had an accident so he was still wearing a cast. Five weeks earlier Rocky had been hit by both a car and a trailer and had come out off it very badly. He’d lost his tail and hurt both hind legs, one of them so badly that part of the bone had actually been scraped away. A main artery had burst and it was nothing short of a miracle that he survived, but he did, and after two operations and new ligaments in the one leg, he should be as good as new as soon as the wounds heal.
Anyway, Rocky limped about the backstage area minded by one of Hanne and Don’s friends. I bumped into Heine, a Slade-fan I have known for a couple of years, and we set out to enjoy the day. The rest of the guys turned up shortly after, all in a good mood, kissing and hugging and joking. We had dinner, the guys were signing autographs, doing interviews, greeting the fans etc. etc.
Slade went on stage a little past 8 p.m., this way being the first band to use the lights. Sounds familiar, eh? The town square was packed, this being a free concert, mind you, and as soon as Don entered stage, the crowd was up and going. I was pretty pleased that I was able to watch the concert from an enclosed area for people with backstage passes, otherwise I’m sure I would have been squashed!
The set list seemed familiar:
We’ll Bring The House Down
Take Me Bak ’Ome
Lock Up Your Daughters
Squeeze Me Pleeze Me
Far Far Away
’Coz I Luv You
My Oh My
Mama Weer All Crazee Now
Get Down And Get With It
and the encores:
Cum On Feel The Noize
Merry Xmas Everybody
There wasn’t much banter from stage, but instead the guys seemed to have taken to slapstick, fooling around more than usual. The crowed spurred them along, which made them they get more silly then usual, which again made the crowd spur them along even further. It all spiralled up to the climax of MXE and made it one of the best Slade-concerts that I have attended.
The sound was deafening, though, so everybody had to wear earplugs. Very early on in the concert, Don broke a snaredrum, but nobody seemed to notice preoccupied as the audience was in singing along and having a good time.
During Red Hot Dave started doing his usual jumps and leaps and behind him Mal started imitating him. Dave realising that, made up even more jumps for Mal to imitate. Mal was, by the way, sporting a cap that brought back memories of a very early Noddy Holder.
Dave did a new batch of jumps during CILY but this time he accidentally bumped into John. Tim Ravage, who was back roadie-ing for Slade, immediately ran on stage and kicked Dave in his behind.
The concert sported a superb light show and when My Oh My started, the backdrop behind Don lit up in psychedelic swirling patterns. Very impressive from where I was standing. Mal introduced Gudbuy To Jane as one of his favourite Slade-songs, John mincing along the stage to the intro and Mal had the entire crowd convincing Dave that “he’s so young”. Afterwards Mal said, “You’re a crazy crowd and you really spur us along.”
Mama saw another wild psychedelic pattern take off behind Don and the expression on John’s face when Dave did his usual thing, sticking his hand between John’s legs, made Mal laugh so hard that he could hardly sing.
Get Down included the usual audience participation and when Mal shouted, “Everybody get out of their seats,” Don loudly protested, “No!!” He was the only person at the concert to actually have a seat. When people raised their hands in the air, Mal chuckled a loud, “Halleluja”, and for the boots in the air, John did his crane-thing. It’s really amazing how long he can uphold that position, so if ever he’s out of a job, I’m sure they can use him in Karate Kid.
When Slade went off stage a Danish MC entered, trying to spur the audience into demanding an encore. No need, everybody was screaming for more. The MC took a hell of a time and in the end Don just walked on stage behind him while he was still talking. The cheering from the crowd made the MC aware of Don’s presence and he quickly removed himself. Dave walked on stage in his Christmas Hat, but now Tim emerged again with a hat for Don and one for Mal as well. Don put his on without resistance, but Mal ran for it. He had Tim chasing him all over stage until Tim finally cornered him behind the drums and stuck the hat on his head. The tassel was dangling in front of Mal’s nose and he kept it there for a long while, puffing it away during the song.
It was a truly magic concert and I’m sure the audience would have liked it to continue, but there were two more names on the bill, so the guys cleared out. Heine headed back home but I spent a couple of hours backstage with Hanne, the band, Tim and Robin and the usual gang. Main subjects of the evening were Rocky of course, a stubborn draught beer machine and worries about Don’s mental health (sorry, Don, but you just looked so funny, when René was worrying about you!)
The party broke up around eleven, Hanne and Don driving back home, the rest of the guys heading for the hotel and me on my way to Copenhagen. I made it to Copenhagen all right, but I hadn’t been aware that George Michael had given a farewell concert there the same night. The result was a packed train back to Odense, we even had to wait at the station for half an hour because some of the staff hadn’t returned from the concert yet. All the way had problems closing the doors at stations, because of the amount of people on the train and not until 4 o’clock was I bak ‘ome. But it had been a great show, a great night out and it’s a shame that the guys probably won’t be back in Denmark until next year.
P.S. Today is Don’s birthday. Happy birthday, Don! I just spoke to him on the phone and he said they had a great show in Moscow last weekend as well. It was very hot over there, 27° C, and the first time Don had seen the city in sunshine.