The Auditorium opened in 1889 to immense critical acclaim and soon became something of a ‘white elephant’ until the 1965 when it quickly became Chicago's premier rock venue and regained its former status as 'a jewel in American history'.
Former Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William McKinley gave speeches where, years later, musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Aretha Franklin, and Elton John performed. From Frank Sinatra to Itzhak Perlman, The Beach Boys to Booker T. Washington, all have graced this stage, a landmark theatre in one of the world’s greatest cities.
In June 1974 Slade played The Auditorium and Matt Shaugnessy was there to witness the event.
"My friend Tom and I proudly displaying our tickets before heading off to the train station to see our first ever concert. And what a show it was!"
"We headed off from the front yard photo to the local trian station that would take us to downtown Chicago for the show. We were 15 years old at the time, just finished with our sophomore year in high school and quite innocent."
"It was the first concert for both of us and we were a bit anxious about heading into the big city on our own. The train ride was uneventful and after fiddling with a map for a bit we figured out a route we could walk. It was a bit over a half mile to venue and we made good time."
"The Auditorium is a grand old theatre with balconeys and boxes that holds about 3000 people and it was about 3/4 full. Upon arrival we scoped the lobby for Slade gear and or memorabilia but there was none to be had. Major disappointment as I wanted to upgrade the homemade t-shirt I had with a sewn on mini Slade fist patch to an official one. Oh well, them's the breaks."
"We headed to our seats: 7th row on JWL's side and settled in for a night to remember. But first we had to suffer through 45 minutes of 10cc. If I had been more sensitive I would have felt bad for them as they were barraged with cartcalls for Slade. Since I wasn't all that sensitive I joined right in! Once they finished the place started getting rowdy. I can't really remember how long it was until Slade began playing but whatever it was, it was too long!"
"Finally the moment came and the band was introduced:"
'Please, welcome from England, SLADE!'
Nod shouts "Take Me Bak 'ome" and they were off... and so were we. Out of our seats like a shot from a gun we were shouting along from the get go.
Nod was decked out in his plaid coat, vest, & trousers along with the iconic mirrored top hat, H was in his fish scale outfit with dollar sign boots and the SuperYob guitar, Jim was in some type of yellow get up, and Don was in his traditional striped pants & vest along with more gum than a playground full of kids.
From there the set list that followed:
Take Me Bak 'omeGood Time Gals
When The Lights Are Out
Darling Be Home Soon
We're Really Gonna Raise The Roof
Just A Little Bit
Let The Good Times Roll
Cum On Feel The Noize
Get Down With It
Mama Weer All Crazee Now
Keep On Rockin'
All in all it was a great show.
As I have said in the past I much prefer Slade originals to cover tunes and would like to have had them replaced with the likes of DWSDI, How'd You Ride etc but that's just quibbling. The band was in good form; Nod had the crowd going the entire evening, H did his schtick, and Jim & Don laid down the foundation."
"If there is one overall impression I took away from the show was that Slade were f**king LOUD!! My ears rang for 3 days afterwards and Tom and I literally had to shout at each other to be heard as we headed back to the train station."
"Although I haven't seen a whole lot of concerts I have been fortunate to see Kiss, Sabbath (both line ups), Nugent, UFO, and Rainbow among others this concert remains my favorite. I'm sure the fact that it was my first show and my favorite band has something to do with it but what a way to kick it all off."
The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1975.
Thanks to Matt Shaugnessy for his experience. Live photos by David Slania, probably not from the Chicago gig?