Thursday, 26 July 2007

Christmas in July

34 years since I first saw Slade (in Newcastle) and 26 years since I last saw them (in Cardiff), tonight it was a pleasure and a privilege to see them again as Slade strode onto the stage at the Cannizaro Park Festival in Wimbledon. Only Dave and Don are still there from the original line-up, with Mal McNulty on vocals and guitar and John Berry on bass and violin. Nobody could replace Nod and Jim but Mal and John give it good go and were a pleasure to see.

Opening with 'We'll Bring The House Down', the pace only slowed for 'Everyday', the mandatory 'slow song' in the set with a massive crescendo with 'Get Down And Get With It' to close. They played my favourites from the glory years, 'Take Me Bak 'Ome' and 'Mama Weer All Crazee Now' both got me singing along, and clapping as instructed by Dave. I was surprised by 'Coz I Luv You' (my first Slade single from 1971) with John on violin and a rousing version of 'Far Far Away'. From the '80s were 'My Oh My' and 'Run Run Away' but I was more thrilled by the earlier songs.

Don was a dynamo on drums, the man never stopped! Head down, he just pounded away on his drums like a thing possessed, almost as if once he slowed down he wouldn't get back up to speed. Now there's a role model for modern drummers! And Dave strutted round the stage just like in olden days, one arm aloft encouraging the crowd while he played with one hand, guitar riffs right, left and centre. He changed guitar at one point and came on with a new SuperYob guitar with little blue lights in the frett! Wow! He's the original SuperYob!

The encore was a great version of 'Cum On Feel The Noize' and, naturally, 'Merry Xmas Everybody' with Dave in Santa Claus hat! The crowd wildly singing along to 'Merry Xmas' in July in Wimbledon, a wierd but wonderful thought, and Dave wished us a merry Christmas and peace.

Highlights for me were stonking versions of 'Gudbuy T'Jane' and 'Take Me Bak 'Ome', great songs, powerfully played by a powerful - and loud - band. I had a big smile plastered across my face for most of the gig and I was close enough to the stage to catch Dave's eye a few times. He won't remember me at all but I remember him. They were great fun and a good-time band which is what they always were, giving the audience a great night out.

After all these years, at last I've been Slayed again!

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