ROCK AND ROLL
Ipswich, Gaumont (21st March 1982)
Well this is Sunday so that guy centre stage with the white collar must be a preacher but, hang on, that's no bible in his hands - that's a guitar! But of course, this is Ipswich and this is Slade! You will be forgiven for the mistake though - Noddy Holder delivered his sermon over taped church organ and a raging thunderstorm. The Hammer Horror effect was completed by billowing smoke and a backdrop of stained glass windows!
After 'Rock And Roll Preacher' the set was much the same as the December tour, although it was strengthened by the inclusion of 'Ruby Red' the rabble-rousing new single. A surefire hit. A lot of nonsense has been written about singles being 'sell-outs', Slade live have proved that it's the quality of the music not the width of the vinyl that matters and nobody in the sold-out Gaumont doubted it. One of the highlights (as ever), was Jimmy Lea's bass and fiddle solo spot, sandwiched between 'A Night To Remember' and 'Lock Up Your Daughters' - a chance for a breather - no way! By sheer enthusiasm the energy level is kept up way above the sound threshold.
Fun really is the key word where Slade are concerned, whether it's Noddy's incredible rapport with the crowd or ace guitarist Dave Hill's bum wiggling from the riser by his PA. They've been in the game so long now that they can probably do this in their sleep yet they will convince you that they enjoy it as much as you do. Even machine gun drummer Don Powell, that look on his face is concentration not boredom!
This gig was postponed from the earlier tour so the second encore was extra special. Not only did we get a rock and roll medley but a brief snatch of ZZ Top's 'Waiting For The Bus', the complete rendition of 'Merry Christmas', a rarity out of season. And the old standard 'Born To Be Wild' Impossible to follow probably - but just wait until next tour.
Finally, a word of praise for support band Spider. This eight-legged beasty was plucked 'For One Night Only' from the studio for this slot. Rusty? I didn't notice. Dedicated? - certainly. The rhythm guitarist played on despite two broken strings, that's what I call attitude. Forget everything, just boogie! The crowd appreciated it too.