Fast on the heels of British Glam pioneers like David Bowie and T. Rex came these boot-stomping, pub-crashing maniacs. While Messrs, Bowie and Bolan gave the impression that they took their glittery space-age alter-egos a bit too seriously, Slade took nothing seriously, creating ridiculously catchy, phonetically-titled shout-along anthems for football hooligans everywhere. Their image was every bit as outrageous as their sound, replete with tartan overalls, platform clown shoes, grease paint and mutton-chops.
It’s a rocky start to this summer ’73 Winterland performance, but once Slade hits their stride, everyone is on their feet. Noddy Holder wastes no time getting the crowd on his side, involving those assembled in a strange syncopated grunt during a tribute to Janis Joplin; and a shockingly accurate Pearl-impersonation this hirsute Midlander does. It’s all about getting the crowd riled up, and Slade wrings every last ounce from every song - like James Brown after three pints of strong ale and a sausage roll. All of it builds to a glorious climax on "Mama Weer All Crazee Now," a sentiment no doubt shared by anyone that ever witnessed Slade’s howling banshee thunder.
"I have fond memories of seeing Slade perform in 1973, at Winterland in San Francisco. Being English by birth (my family moved from the UK to the USA when I was young), I had a strong interest in all forms of British rock from The Beatles onward, and I had followed the progress of Slade in the copies of the Melody Maker that my grandmother sent to me every week from England. I knew that Slade had become quite famous in the UK, and I was eagerly looking forward to seeing them on stage.
Having Slade open for Humble Pie, a British band whose music was hard and bluesy, was a good match. Humble Pie was a major band in the USA at the time, and their fans generally were the sort of people who liked to have a good time. Although Slade probably was not known to most of the audience at Winterland (in spite of being superstars in the UK), they bounded onto the stage with good cheer and gave their all throughout their performance. They clearly were determined to make a strong impression on the crowd.
The music of Slade was regarded as glam rock, mostly because of their flashy attire on stage, but they came across quite differently from Marc Bolan, David Bowie, The Sweet, etc. (Although I also enjoyed all of those performers.) Slade seemed much more down-to-earth, and much less fey. Even Dave Hill, under all his glitter and finery, could be seen as a "regular guy." (In other words, heterosexual.) Young men in America always have tended to be uncertain in their masculinity, and therefore are excessively leery of anything that is not clearly "male." (In San Francisco, where The Grateful Dead and their ilk still reigned in 1973, T-shirts and blue jeans represented the favored style of apparel.) When David Bowie performed as Ziggy Stardust at Winterland in October of 1972, most of those in the small audience (apart from my friends and myself) appeared to be gay men. In the case of Slade, however, their unaffected manner put American audiences, particularly young men, at ease.
In May of 1973, when Slade first performed at Winterland, the crowd was slightly taken aback at the beginning of their set, but quickly warmed to them. Slade played loud and fast, making no concessions in their musical approach. Dave Hill, with his outlandish outfit, had everyone in a state of open-mouthed wonder, and Noddy Holder was able to stir up a great deal of excitement with his powerful voice and his spirited personality. When we saw Slade at Winterland again, five months later, it seemed that the audience was more prepared for them, probably as a result of word-of-mouth reports from their earlier performance. Slade played the same kind of set as they had played before, but the response from the crowd was a bit stronger.
It must have been strange for Slade, then at the full height of their considerable fame in the UK, to be playing to American audiences that hardly knew them. (Being a band whose fame was built mostly on singles put them at something of a disadvantage in the USA, where singles did not mean nearly as much.) They never did establish themselves as major performers in America, which is unfortunate, because they were one of the great British bands of the period, with a strong collection of appealing songs that sound good to this day."
Michael Collins Morton 2011
"The opening act was Steely Dan, who at the time were just starting out. Slade was the second act, preceding Humble Pie. I was pretty excited to see Slade, as I had their album, Slayed?, and really liked their song, "Mama Weer All Crazee Now." I can remember them hitting the stage. Their stage presence was pretty electrifying, with Dave Hill, glitter on his face and very short bangs which gave him a distinct look. Noddy Holder had a top hat with mirrors on it, which reflected the spotlight all over the place. He was very 70s glam rock, with plaid pants and suspenders.
They all took the stage like madmen, with Dave Hill jumping off a pedestal, and Jim Lea rocking around the stage. I remember them playing some of the songs from Slayed?, such as "Gudbuy T' Jane" and "Mama Weer All Crazee Now," with a lot of enthusiasm. They were great to photograph, and one of the more entertaining bands that I saw. I got some good shots of the band, and the memory of that show will definitely be with me for a long time."
"I am trying to remember the glam rock fad... Slade, Gary Glitter, David Bowie, T. Rex, maybe Elton John for a moment, early Roxy Music, The Sweet, maybe Queen (maybe not). Were there more? Roy Wood was putting glitter in his hair and his beard, but he wasn't making music for kids. Did someone mention Jobriath? It seemed that the glam rock fad was aimed at the pre-teen crowd.
Slade was a great band, and more than a fad. They had an interactive act and could really rock. They also were a real funny band. Noddy Holder had his stovepipe hat with mirrors that reflected the spotlights back into the crowd, giving him a tool that he used to mess with people. Dave Hill's custom made, glittering gold uniform with "SUPER YOB" on it. Noddy Holder and Dave Hill were the front men. Jim Lea seemed to be the most serious musician of the bunch, but even he jumped around and wore a glittery jacket. He and Don Powell, the drummer, mostly remained in the background, churning out a solid barrage of support for the two front men.
Dave Hill played a mean, stinging lead guitar, and Noddy Holder (in John Lennon style) churned out chunky riffs that were real catchy. Slade really pushed for sing-along audience participation. "Mama Weer All Crazee Now" and "Cum on Feel the Noize" were strong rock anthems, like Queen wrote in the later days. Slade had lots of action and jokes, very loose (though tight musically) and fun. And they were LOUD."
"I saw Slade twice at San Francisco's Winterland Arena in 1973. The first time I saw them, on May 5, was with Humble Pie and Steely Dan. I remember not liking Steely Dan. My friends and I even sat down with our backs to the stage during their performance. We jumped up when Slade hit the stage. They were the flashiest band that I had ever seen. Noddy Holder announced each song and bounced the spotlight off his mirrored top hat, so the light would hit the audience in the face. I thought that was a good effect. I remember getting hit in the eyes with the light a couple of times. They dressed in bright clothes and stomped around in giant platform boots. I could tell that they were enjoying themselves as much as we were enjoying them.
The glitter look seemed trendy to me. I had heard about it being popular in England, but I had my doubts about how well it would be received in the States. David Bowie had experienced a poor turnout in San Francisco the year before. His music, and the music of other glam stars like Marc Bolan, was not popular here at that time. I felt that San Francisco was behind the times when it came to flashy rock bands. The Bay Area was the home of The Grateful Dead and other bands who dressed in old jeans. Slade did go over well with the crowd, mainly due to the hard rock sound that they had perfected playing in clubs all over England.
We waited outside to get autographs after the show. Since Slade were not the last act, I wasn't sure that they would still be around after Humble Pie's performance. I was surprised when the stage door opened and all four popped out, and started down the street toward their hotel. I remember running after them to get their autographs. They were very friendly and seemed to be regular guys off stage."
Dan: Five months later, we saw Slade at Winterland again, and waited at the stage door after their performance. I had brought with me a 5x7 matted photo that I had taken at the previous show, hoping to have the band autograph it for me. One of their roadies saw the photo and took it to them to sign. I was extremely pleased to have it returned with all their signatures. Noddy Holder had drawn a little picture on the mat, which I couldn't make out. When they all came out of the stage door, I asked Noddy what he had drawn. He said, "It's a dog pissing on a tree!" I was a bit taken aback at first, but then I laughed. We got to talk with them for a while, which is always one of the fonder memories that I have from going to those shows.
Recorded at Winterland, San Francisco, CA on May 51973 there are six tracks that appeared on a King Biscuit radio transcription disk with a running time of 34:13.
Hear Me Calling 6:38
Move Over 5:44
Gudbye T' Jane 3:46
Just A Little Bit 4:49
Keep On Rocking 3:54
Mama Weer All Crazee Now 5:26
The Download Link is here: Download Filename: Winterland 73 Cover.zip Filesize: 43.7 MB