Wembley Empire Pool

Wembley March 25th, 1973

This was my first Slade gig. Despite Earls Court being considered the highest point of their career, this concert took place just a month after Cum On Feel The Noize had smashed it's way straight into the top of the charts. The song was still #1 the day of the gig.

I was a couple of months short of my 14th birthday and had to harass my parent into letting me attend the concert. I was too late for the evening gig but managed to get tickets for the afternoon show.

The NME Pollwinners Concert was really an awards ceremony. The voting was cast before they were totally consumed by the teeny-bopper frenzy, as was the performance. Strangely, (or not, to my mind?) six months earlier, the NME Poll never mentioned Slade.
"The Empire Pool was one of the country's biggest indoor venues. The New Musical Express had printed the results of its 1972 Readers Poll on January 27th and Slade had emerged as the British Top Band and British Top Live Band. In the World Section they had made it to number 3 Best Live Band.

As they did every year, NME put on a concert at Wembley with Slade topping the bill this year. The demand was so much that a second concert was held in the afternoon. Slade played that day to 20,000 fans.

During the evening performance with a huge video projected screen showing the bands every move. It was like the last days of Pompeii except the people were rushing in."
Chris Salewicz 1973
Although I can't remember much about the gig, I'm fairly sure they started with Hear Me Calling but I don't believe I heard Look Wot You Dun or Keep On Rockin' which had been in their set in January. Cum On Feel The Noize was now their big tune and everything was changing. Dave Kemp's memory of the evening gig seems to concur. The set probably consisted of:

  • Hear Me Calling
  • Take Me Bak 'Ome
  • Move Over
  • Gudbuy T'Jane
  • Darling Be Home Soon
  • Coz I Luv You
  • Let The Good Times Roll
  • Get Down & Get With It
  • Cum On Feel The Noize
  • Mama Weer All Crazee Now

I know the experience made me feel like an adult. I remember being ripped off outside the venue for a poster and a program, neither of which were official. I went with a couple of friends, my Dad drove us there, twenty five miles around the North Circular (no M25 back then) and I assume the poor bugger waited somewhere nearby.

When we got inside I felt like a child amongst many adults. There was a walkway full of concessions that seemed to go all around the venue. Of course, this was not the football stadium but it felt like a circuit under the terraces. The general air was very much a football match and the alcohol was awash although I didn't manage to get any.

This was the concert that epitomised Slade for me. I don't have to remember it to know how good it was. Pure Rock & Roll raunch that went straight for the wobbly bits and hung on like a Terrier. Oddly, I have yet to find another fan that attended this afternoon concert?

"I was just 13 years old, my Dad got me the the tickets the day they came on sale. Due to public demand, an extra afternoon performance was added but we had the original evening show. 
On the day, there were several support acts fighting to be heard over the chants of “We Want Slade. WE WANT SLADE!!” 
Rosko was the compere. The crowd noise and shouting was unbelievable. There was a black and white video screen behind the band – so even those at the back of the hall could see. 
Dave Hill wore a weird combo. Silver tight trousers and boots, black half-length cape with circular mirrors on – and a head-scarf thing, covering his hair. Nod made several very rude comments.  
The front seats were absolutely demolished as the crowd surged forward. People were hurt and girls got crushed at the front. The show was stopped 2 or 3 times and the band went offstage. Rosko came back on to calm things down and demand everyone move back so that people at the front could breathe. 
Bizarrely, I remember someone in the crowd threw a huge bag of opened glitter at Dave Hill. It was the size of a bag of sugar. It hit him on the head – and I remember him throwing it back, spraying glitter everywhere. This was a great gig, Slade were at the top of their game."
Dave Kemp: Slade Fans Reunited
Don't get too excited, I wished I had a bootleg of this gig but this is a mag that came out in 1973 with some damn good photos by David Ellis and David Redfern with text by Chris Salewicz. It makes for a fine read and if you can't read then the pics are a treat.

The Download Link is here: Download
Filename: Slade Alive Mag.pdf Filesize: 79.00 MB

Wembley 1973 NME Pollwinners Programme 

The full programme in PDF format is a available by clicking on the here: 
NME Poll Awards 1973.pdf   Filesize: 19.84 MB Download


My apologies to Dave Jewell for borrowing a quote from Slade Fans Reunited. By the way, if I remember correctly, Home were quite good in a kind of Folky, Prog Rock kind of way. They were definitely good at whatever it was they did? :-/ 


A. said...

I was there as well! My first ever gig. If I'm not mistaken wasn't Bob Harris MCing along with Emperor Rosko?

Anonymous said...

Don't remember Bob Hsrris - but definitely Rosko. Remember that he tried to calm the audience from stage when chairs were getting smashed and kids crushed at the front of the house. Dave Kemp.

Unknown said...

Was duster Bennett on first

Unknown said...

Was duster Bennett on first

Mike Oldfield said...

Duster Bennett was most certainly on first, next on was Home (from who Laurie Wisefield went on to join Wishbone Ash and Cliff Williams went to AC/DC) who were "most promising newcomer". I still listen to their albums today; was my first gig also, got tickets because my dad worked for CBS and Home were a CBS band, I was just short of thirteen and was with my big brother. Happy days!

Unknown said...

As I remember that gig, the Alex Harvey Band supported, and I think it was the afternoon gig I and a bunch of school friends went to. It was hard to find any mention of this gig from NME, I searched for a long time trying to find it.