Earls Court 1973

Earls Court, July 1st 1973

Slade's Summer Tour of 1973 ended with the spectacular show at London's Earls Court arena. It was the first sell out concert held at the venue and would have been the first concert had David Bowie not managed to wangle an appearance in a few weeks before.

Unfortunately for Bowie, he failed to garner enough interest to fill the theatre and played to a "less than full" auditorium. The infamous opening show of the UK Aladdin Sane tour was the first time the Earls Court was used for a concert and a large proportion of the audience had very poor view and sound.

A riot ensued with fisticuffs and general mayhem. Bowie eventually left the stage and the audience were urged to calm down by a roadie, the audience finally calmed down when Bowie refused to carry on unless they behaved.

You can read all about David Bowie's gig here.

"In 1973, a very excitable Me was going through my collection of glitter, spray on hair colour (gold & silver), Royal Stuart tartan Oxford Bags, hooped socks (I don't think I found red & yellow though) 4" platforms and, as I recall, a home made top hat complete with mirrors."
"Well, I say mirrors, they were actually metal discs with razor sharp edges that I'd found in the back yard of the local launderette. I had to climb over the six foot wall to retrieve our football and found a yard full of scrap metal. I don't remember what happened to the hat, I can't remember actually wearing it?"

"It was a Sunday and myself and my mates were buzzing with anticipation of seeing Slade at Earls Court in London. The build up had been intense, the newspapers and magazines were full of Slade and the tour had been a resounding success and was culminating with Earls Court and we expected an end of tour party."

"18,000 tickets had sold out and I had one of them. The Sensational Alex Harvey Band were supporting and I'd checked out 'Next' and found it a bit naughty, expectation was high. We gathered outside my house and my Dad looked at me (14 years old by less than a month)..."
"You look like Coco the bleedin' Clown!" 
"I had heard him saying that about Noddy Holder on Top Of The Pops so I was clearly having the right effect. And so we set off on our pilgrimage to the heart of London to find Earls Court. The walk up past West Ham football ground was probably the most awkward, necks were snapping as the regular folk done a double take but we were oblivious as we chatted excitedly among ourselves."

"Boarding the London Underground, we quickly realised we were not alone, every station platform seemed to include a smattering of tinsel bedecked bodies. As we got off at our destination, normal folk were the odd ones out. It was like trying to get into the football stadium on a Saturday but the entire crowd were teenage aliens, just like us, in fancy dress and glitter."

"Exiting the tube station the crowd spilt out onto the roads and top hats as far as the eye could see, we followed the mass of teen bodies, flowing with the current, and there ahead was the huge white building with it's red Earls Court lettering. The Mecca of our pilgrimage. I was determined not to get ripped off by the vendors outside (as I had at Wembley) but, of course, I couldn't stop myself. I bought a programme and a poster. I think the programme was the black one with Slade in red & white circus lettering, no pictures and minimal content (as I recall) and the poster was Nod in the salmon pink satin shirt with 'Lennon' glasses on... I think?"

"Alex Harvey teased the crowd about having to wait for Slade but they were bloody good and I enjoyed their show. When they finished the anticipation was unbearable, the excitement was buzzing like a high voltage cable." 

"The crowd were screaming for Slade and we seemed to wait forever. We were sat in the upper tier, I remember making my way to the balcony and looking down onto the stools. There in the middle, near the stage, seemed to be what I would now refer to as 'a mosh pit' except it wasn't, of course. It was a crowd of lads, 17-18 year old I guess, that had claimed their own space. In retrospect, they were probably hooligans that had flattened the seats already, before Slade had even made an appearance. There was also, if my memory serves me well, a giant whisky bottle.... inflatable maybe?"

"Then somebody stepped onto the stage and the surge began, the whole world went crazy and the screaming reached fever pitch.... that's it!"

"I don't remember sod all else, vaguely remember standing on a tube platform hoping a train would come but that could have been any one of many Hammersmith gigs??? The rest of my Earls Court memories are probably yours too, the intro from the video footage, the 'girls with no knickers on' dialogue, the 'keeping quiet competition', etc, do I remember it or have I read about it or watched it and think I remember it. I really don't know?"

Slade's night at Earls Court was the stuff of legend. The crowd noise was truly incredible and the atmosphere electric. The entire performance was filmed and recorded for album release and potential broadcast. Disappointingly, the decision was made not to release the footage and it has become the most talked about 'what if' in the world of Slade fans.
"The Earls Court footage wasn't released because of the poor audio. Yes we're aware that the BFI have a copy but unless they can do something about the audio it's unlikely to get a release?"
Noddy Holder: The Space, Brighton. 7th June 2012

The Download Link is here: Download
Filename: Earls Court 1973.mp4 Filesize: 71.4 MB


"It was amazing to see that after all these years...my very first exposure to Slade. I've held on to the cassette tape I made back then (by holding up a microphone to the TV speaker during Don Kirshner's Rock Concert), but never dreamed I would see that footage again. It took me right back. Went right to the record store the day after and bought Sladest. It changed my life. 
Now if only someone can get their hands on The Midnight Special -- My Friend Stan and Everyday played live, with Jim on keys and Dave on bass, plus Do We Still Do It. Dave was dressed in some feathered get-up and looked almost like a human-sized chicken...."Scott Samuels