Wembley Empire Pool

Wembley March 25th, 1973
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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.
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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?

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"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.zip Filesize: 78.25 MB

Slade,1973,Wembley,NME
Wembley 1973 NME Pollwinners Programme 

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

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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? :-/ 

Show Souvenir

UK 1973

SHOW SOUVENIR

THIS BOOK IS DESIGNED FOR YOUR FURTHER ENJOYMENT
OF THE SHOW - IT IS NOT A PROGRAMME.

(Ed's comment: Roughly translated "This is unofficial shite cashing in on the bands popularity by taking money off of silly kids who don't know any better." Yes, I bought one at Wembley NME Pollwinners gig in March 1973)
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We all know, now, that SLADE have been together for five years.... and that they started off their musical careers playing Motown and Reggae (known as 'Blue Beat' in those days) in the clubs and pubs around their hometown of Wolverhampton.

We also know about the period in their existence when a publicity stunt slightly mis-fired and alienated a lot of the promoters and dance hall owners resulting in a battle for acceptance, which would have driven many groups to the break-up point.

The bookings poured in and SLADE gradually won acceptance by a wide spectrum of music fans, ranging from college 'heads' through to teenage audiences. Their raw brand of Rock 'n Roll music coupled with their ability to move even the most apathetic of audiences, gained them the reputation of being TH E liveliest group on the rounds. Comparisons were made but the only one that really does them any justice was made by a Northern provincial writer who likened the group to The Who in their early days.

Up to mid-1971, however, one essential ingredient was missing from the SLADE success recipe.... and that was the elusive chart record. At this time they'd just started to incorporate into their live act a home-built version of the Little Richard rocker, 'Get down with it'. With leader Noddy Holder screaming the vocals in true Little Richard style, this number, which closed their act at the time, was getting amazing reaction from audiences. Manager Chas Chandler decided to put it on record and it wasn't long before the group had their first hit record.

Ever since Chas started on the job of steering SLADE in the right direction he's been encouraging them to write their own material and, in fact, their first two (unsuccessful) singles and an album were mostly SLADE compositions. It followed, therefore, that the follow up to 'Get Down and Get with it' should be one of the group's own songs. 'Cos I Luv You' was chosen and, in December 1971 this hit the NO.1 spot in all British charts.
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DAVE HILL, lead Guitarist and high (Whoops Ducky!) harmony.
Dave's also quite keen to talk about the way things have happened: "during the initial publicity surge on us promoters were getting quite worried about the kind of people that we were going to draw and the general opinion was 'better pull them out in case something happens'. We've never actually had any bother at gigs. Places we've played have built up and up and up for us. They've now accepted us as a group and they don't care how we look. The thing is that our show isn't planned. We did a top of the pops recently and we were really rushing about like mad, worrying about a recording session that we had to do the same night. We thought it would be really bad, but it turned out so well that we were really surprised. You can hear the atmosphere on the tapes. There seems to be no typical Slade audience. We get a mixture of college kids, youngsters and even a few rockers .... in the places where they still exist, the Skinheads still come to see us as well. The live album that we've just finished will give people who havn't heard us, a better idea of where we're at, because we're essentially a live group and that's where we intend to remain. We've had a lot of pressure put on us to do concerts but we're going to stick to the clubs and ballrooms for the time being because that's where it's at as far as audiences enjoying themselves is all about".
FACTS
Real name: David Hill.
Birthdate: 4th Apri I 1952.
Birthplace: Fleet Castle, Devon.
Personal detail: 5'6", Brown Eyes, Brown Hair.
Lives in: Wolverhampton.
Plays: Guitar, Piano, Sax.
Musical Education: Nil
Started Career: at 14
Favourites:
Colour: Red.
Drink: Whisky and Coke.
Clothes: Colourful, own design.
Book:
Food: Anything Free.
Actor: -
Actress: Greta Garbo.
Singer: John Lennon
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JIMMY LEA, Bass Guitarist, Occasional Fiddle.
Jimmy comes from a long line of fiddlers. Grandad used to make the noises for the silent movies and led the Wolverhampton Orchestra when Gracie Fields and other notables came to town. Two of his Mother's Uncles were professional violinests and great Grandad played the Trombone. Mother also strikes a nice chord on the piano and sings with feeling. "I always had a tendency towards music", says our Jim, "I was thinking of learning piano when I was nine and then my mother told me about Grandad and suggested I give the violin a try. I went to private tuition and did quite well in the exams and was offered a place in the Orchestra. They were fantastic musicians. Blokes in groups think themselves great but the co-ordination these fellows had with bow and fingers was unbelievable".

Jimmy's old music master would have a few sharp words for his pupil. He rarely practices because of writing, playing and rehearsal pressures and, on stage, he stuffs his instrument full of cotton wool and screws to get a more 'heavy' sound.

His official duties with SLADE are bassist and songwriter. He co-wrote their NO.1 hit 'Cos I Luv You' with Noddy Holder and some help from the rest of the boys.
FACTS
Real Name: James Lea.
Birthdate: 14th June, 1952.
Birthplace: Wolverhampton.
Personal detail: 5'10", Blue Eyes, Brown Hair.
Lives in: Codsall, W'Hampton.
Plays: Bass Guitar, Piano, Organ, Violin.
Musical Education: Staffs Youth arch.
Started Career: at 15.
Favourites:
Colour: Red.
Drink: Vodka and Orange.
Clothes: Scruffy casuals.
Book: Animal Farm.
Food: Egg and Chips.
Actor: -
Actress: Brigitte Bardot

NODDY HOLDER, Guitarist, Vocalist Supreme and Crowd Rouser.

He believes that SLADE'S strength and sustaining power lies in its' 'stickability'. "I've never been a great admirer of the super guitarists like Clapton, Gallagher or Lee. The groups that have made the greatest contribution to Rock music are those like The Who, who have stuck it out and built up something which is bigger than anyone individual. I think we are beginning to do that .... it only really comes through sticking it out through the hard times".

Noddy still cherishes memories of the early days in Wolverhampton when he used to give Robert Plant and his group Listen a lift in his father's window cleaning van during the period when they had no transport, "I remember we played one gig supporting Cream at the City Hall and 'Plantey' was on the bill as well. Even in those days he liked to move about the stage a bit, but after Ginger Baker had set up his battery of drums he had no chance. He took his life in his hands and timidly asked Ginger if he would mind moving his drums so he had a bit of space!". Mr. Baker is reported to have requested Mr. Plant to leave the area immediately .... or words to that effect!
FACTS
Real Name: Neville Holder.
Birthdate: 15th June 1950.
Birthplace: Walsall. .
Personal detail: 5'8", Eyes blue, Hair blond.
Lives in: Walsall.
Plays: Guitar, Flute.
Musical Education: On the road.
Started career: at 14. 
Favourites:
Colour: Black.
Drink: Rum and Black/Guinness.
Clothes: Baggy Pyjamas.
Book: Catch 22.
Food: Pizza/Salad/Cheese.
Actor: Donald Sutherland.
Actress: Susannah York.
Singer: Cocker/Wonder.
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DON POWELL, Drummer, Wrigley's Champion (5 years running)

"Our stage act is what we're all about" says Don, "we've always found it to be a bit of a problem in the past, trying to put our stage sound down on record. We weren't quite happy with the way things were going. But for the album that we recorded in November 71, we did three days of 'live' studio gigs before an invited audience and it really came together.... it's just like we wanted it to be. The stage act is not actually worked out, we just try and get the crowds involved with us.... make them feel part of the act, and get them jumping and stomping around.... it sort of developes from there. People have been fed up with the introverted music scene that's been going on for the past two years. They want to bop a little and enjoy themselves .... we're merely trying to help them along".
FACTS
Real Name: Donald Powell.
Birthdate: 10th August, 1950.
Birthplace: B i Iston, Staffs.
Personal detail: 6'0", Green Eyes, Brown Hair.
Lives in: Wolverhampton.
Plays: Drums.
Musical Education: Bugle in Scouts.
Started Career: at 16.
1st Amateur App.: Youth Club Group.
1st Proff. Appearance: Bradley Youth Club.
Biggest Break: Meeting Chas Chandler.
Influences: Chas Chandler. -
Hobbies: None.
Most thrilling experience: Entering charts.
Favourites:
Colour: Blue.
Drink: Anything Free.
Clothes: Bright/Home made.
Book: Drive magazine.
Food: All-Bran with raisins.
Actor: Peter O'Toole.
Actress: Audrey Hepburn.
Singer: Johnny Kidd.
Player: Neil Young.
Composer: Bacharach, Beatles. G
roup: C, S, N & Y, Beatles.
Car: Mini.
Likes: Recording, playing live.
Dislikes: Not being heard.
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ITINERARY

MAY  31st
JUNE    1st
  2nd
  3rd
  5th
  6th
  8th
  9th
10th
11th
12th
13th
14th
15th

JULY     1st
GLASGOW, GREENS PLAYHOUSE
EDINBURGH, EMPIRE
NEWCASTLE, CITY HALL (2 shows)
WOLVERHAMPTON, CIVIC HALL
WOLVERHAMPTON, CIVIC HALL
BRIGHTON, DOME
BIRMINGHAM, TOWN HALL (2 shows)
BRISTOL, COLSTON HALL (2 shows)
CARDIFF, TOP RANK (2 shows)
SOUTHAMPTON, GUILDHALL
SHEFFIELD, CITY HALL
BLACKBURN, ST. GEORGES HALL
HANLEY, VICTORIA HALL
LEEDS, UNIVERSITY (2 shows)

LONDON, EARLS COURT

RECORDS AVAILABLE

Singles:

LP's
1. Play It Loud.
2. Slade Alive.
3. Slayed

SINGLES
1. Get Down & Get With It.
2. Cos I Luv You.
3. Look Wot U Dun.
Released on the Polydor Label.


The Download Link is here: Download Filename: Show Souvenir.pdf  Filesize: 12.17 MB

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My thanks to Stu 'one of the originals' Rutter for supplying the original artefact. 

Popgala 1973

Vara's 1973 Popgala at the Vliegermolen (Voorburg, The Hague) was a two day event during Friday and Saturday the 9th and 10th of March. The complete show was filmed and the best bits were broadcast on Vara the next Friday evening.

Slade performed Coz I Luv You, Take Me Bak 'Ome, Gudbuy T' Jane, Move Over, Cum On Feel The Noize and Get Down And Get With It. Vara broadcast the last 4 songs on the 16th of March, the other two unseen tracks lay forgotten in the Vara archives. Leo Blokhuis who hosts a Dutch TV show that specialises in finding lost and rare footage and they managed to unearth this footage. According to Blokhuis the tapes with the original broadcast were re-used and the original video lost forever. Fortunately, somebody recorded the audio which has been distributed amongst some fortunate Slade fans.

Slade's Cum On Feel The Noize had entered the British Charts at the #1 spot the week before (the 3rd of March) and that fact was used at the introduction of Slades performance by the host "Joost de Draaier". (a kind of nickname, Joost the DJ). Ringo Starr was originally meant to play the host but he wanted too much money?

Over to you "Joost de Draaier"



For the 32 minutes of audio, the link is here: Download Filename: Popgala 1973 audio.rar Filesize: 53.17 MB
 
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My thanks to Jaap Zandee for the video (and info) and Sam Stephenson for the audio. I know they didn't record it personally but they made it available to me, for which I am grateful.