Randwick Racecourse 1973

Sydney, Australia, 28th January 1973

Status Quo

and special guests

27th January - Te Rapa, Hamilton Racecourse,(NZ)
28th January – Sydney, Randwick Racecourse
29th January – Brisbane, Lang Park Oval

31st  January – Perth, Subiaco Oval

03rd February – Adelaide, Wayville Showgrounds

04th February – Melbourne, Showgrounds
Support acts:
Sydney - Blackfeather 
Melbourne - Buffalo

Australia, January 28th, 1973

Alison Road, Randwick, Sydney

Located 5km from the city centre, Randwick is Australia's largest racecourse. Like the Hordern Pavilion, Randwick Racecourse was pressed into use as a concert venue after the demolition of the Sydney Stadium in 1970. The Hordern was Sydney's main indoor venue throughout the '70s but its relatively modest capacity (5,300) precluded its use by many 'big-name' acts. Slade would play there in 1974 on their second Australian Tour.

In the 1960s large outdoor concerts were unusual, concert amplification for rock music was still in its infancy and the PA systems available to The Beatles in 1965 were hopelessly inadequate (100 watts) when ranged against combined lungpower of 60,000 screaming teenagers. The invention of the Slave Amp (1966) followed by the ground-breaking sound system put together by audio engineer Alan Markoff for the Woodstock Festival, changed everything. Woodstock proved that rock music could attract audience of wholly unprecedented sizes, and in so doing it ushered in the so-called 'Stadium Era'. By the early '70s, events started to use large and powerful mixing desks and PA systems, as well as huge and complex lighting rigs.

Due to Australia's relatively small population, there were no large American-style indoor arenas, so when major rock tours began visiting Australia in the early '70s promoters were obliged to stage the concerts in large outdoor venues like Randwick Racecourse and the RAS Showground in Sydney. The shortcomings of this practice soon became obvious, poor acoustics and of course they were open to the elements.

Status Quo at Lang Park, Brisbane.
Photo by David Mulholland

This tour was significant to Australia in several respects. It was the only visit by progressive rockers Caravan and folk-rockers Lindisfarne, the latter having had a minor Oz hit with Fog on the Tyne in 1971. The tour was the first of many for the bottom act on the bill, Status Quo. Their popularity would eventually eclipse that of Slade, and bassist Alan Lancaster eventually settled there after he left the band in the late 1980s.

For UK rock legends Slade, who were then at the height of their fame, it was also their first tour but they had three singles in the chart and their LP Slade Alive had been top of the album charts for the past six months. It was still #1 when they arrived on the 23rd January 1973. Stepping off of the plane (pissed) they were greeted by a crowd of press and tv crews sporting 'a wheelbarrow' full of Fosters lager. The crowds averaged around 30,000 plus for Slade at the Race Course venues.
In Sydney, the Jands sound system was severely tested by Slade, who were legendary for the punishing volume at which they played. According to the Jands website, Slade's sound man 'Charlie' (Ian Charles) Newnham, took one look at the mixing desk and declared
"I don't use the meters (or the other controls), just push all the faders to the top."
After the first show, Jands' crew wisely moved the DBX160 limiters away from the mixing desk, installed them backstage and set them to protect the PA system! Slade spent a fortune on shipping their own personal rig (800 watt WEM PA) to Australia (and Japan which followed directly on from the Australia tour) and all over the world. They eventually built a second rig for their American tours which stayed in the country.

"They probably used the WEM PA for indoor shows in the UK but they played outdoors in Australia and the PA we (Jands) supplied was quite a bit bigger. However I notice that for all the other acts you can see our floor monitors across the front of the stage. In the pictures of Slade there are no floor monitors but there are some stacks on the side which are not ours. They may have used their WEM PA as side monitors."
David Mulholland - Jands
As with New Zealand, in Sydney, the outdoor concert was marred by heavy rain, which began at midday and continued until evening, despite the fact that Melbourne was in the grip of a drought at the time.

"...60,000 people in the, pouring rain, it hadn't rained for 30 years. All the newspapers the next day were saying SLADE brought rain to Australia."
Don Powell: 17th December 2012

Because of this, the order of performance was changed with Caravan appearing first, then Lindisfarne, then Slade and finally Status Quo. Normally Slade, the head line act, would have appeared last. Noddy Holder claims in his book, Who's Crazee Now?, that Melbourne was the only gig on that tour that was dry. In fact, due to no canopy, Status Quo got sunburnt during their performance prior to Slade going on last. This was certainly not the case in Sydney as the announcer can clearly be heard telling the audience that Status Quo will be on soon.
"They played the older songs because we were a little behind them in England. We caught up with their act by the next tour in 1974. When Slade toured here in '73, Slade Alive! was at Number 1 on the charts.... the album Slayed knocked it from the Number 1 position."
Anthony Tigani - Concert attendee
In 1973, the monster that was Slade had taken on a life of its own. The band members were 'shooting the rapids' trying to influence where fame was dragging them but mostly 'just along for the ride'. Chas Chandler had the unenviable task of trying to hold onto the reigns of the beast. He spent 1969 & '70 polishing the group into a professional rock band but in '71 they took off with Get Down & Get With It and Chandler wasn't ready. Early '72 he was struggling to hold it back, unsure how to market them. Consider the difference between the singles Coz I Luv You & Look Wot You Dun, and the album Slade Alive! all released in the UK within a six month period? I think Chandler tried to hold back the tide until he could find the right niche for the band but the flood swept them into the sea of Glam Rock and Top Of The Pops.

At this time remember, the world was a large place and it was difficult to keep in touch with what was happening across the planet. It took Billboard magazine a month to report the news that the Australian Musicians Union forced Slade to feature local talent on their tour.

Billboard: 24th February 1973 
It was a particularly interesting time for the band because they were just starting to explode in the UK, on Top Of The Pops most weeks in progressively outlandish costumes. Although Australia loved the music, it was probably barely aware of the 'Glitter Rock' revolution on that small island where the Queen lived. This was the year that Ken Watts brought Michael Shrimpton over to Melbourne to take over the ABC entertainment unit. Late in 1974, they would start a series of 25-minute programs at 6.25 p.m. on Friday nights. Countdown would be born and Oz Pop would never be the same. Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum had a huge influence in the 70s, 80s and 90s. The show introduced a lot of overseas bands to Australian audiences. Molly was in attendance on this tour (in Melbourne where he was abused by a drunken Buffalo) but at this time he was a representative of Go-Set music magazine.

In Sydney, the support was a local group called Blackfeather:

"Blackfeather were a great band (I had a couple of their records). Never realised they supported Slade! I bought the 45 of Boppin' The Blues when I was about 11. Great stuff indeed. I've actually met Neal Johns (vocalist) a couple of times over the years. They were a good local outfit though and I'll never forget them playing my school dance in the early 70's. AC/DC also played my school dance in their extremely early days, Bon Scott had been on board for about 4 months at that time!."
Steve Cross

Dave Hill's silver suit must have been a surprise?
Photo by David Mulholland

Back in January 1973 though, take a look at the sleeve on Slade Alive!... A simple bold red cover, no hints at all as to what the group looked like. Even the Coz I Luv You cover gave little away, all dark and moody (I suspect this was Chas keeping his options open again). Glam Rock was around but the crowds dressing like the band (the way they would a couple of years later for the Bay City Rollers) was definitely not happening. The Australian audience would have come expecting a proper Rock Concert and they would not have been disappointed. Gobsmacked maybe... but not disappointed?

The tour was, at least in part, in conjunction with Color Radio 4 IP although it was not broadcast. 4 IP was a popular AM rock station (FM broadcasting wouldn’t arrive in Australia until around 1975) who would have provided inexpensive (or even free) promotion for the concert. In return they would have got their logo on the ads, posters, etc. and a banner on the stage as you can see in the Brisbane, Lang Park shots by David Mulholland.

This recording reveals some interesting comments from Noddy Holder, several times he says
"We want to thank you all for waiting for us in the rain, you been great"
and the alcohol has obviously been available because his language is more naughty than usual. He was always near the mark' with his comments but during Darling Be Home Soon he says:
"I can't hear fuck all?"

...and he later says
"Somebody just hit me with something and it hit me right on the cock!"
...which had already earned him a backstage visit from the police in the UK. Just as well that wasn't broadcast on the Queensland airwaves? After Darling Be Home Soon he asks
"Can we get it up any louder?"
...this time in reference to the PA. and before Coz I Luv You...
"We usually get everybody to stamp their feet but it won't make no noise on the grass?"
At the end of the song he shouts...
"Oi, Oi, Oi! Hang On? All the security fellas, all the security fellas down the front, we don't want any rough stuff...."
...in a bit of a panic, asking if the people involved are OK afterwards. The crowd barriers were inadequate at the time and security would be swamped with people trying to climb over them. Another part of the learning curve. It sounds as though they got a bit heavy handed and Noddy would make a habit of getting vocal about these occurrences which would eventually earn him a broken nose in 1978.

Particularly interesting from an sound system point of view, is the beginning of Get Down & Get With It, where Holder's voice causes the PA to squeal with feedback. There is some footage of this event which was broadcast on Australian TV and is remembered well by one of Oz's finest, Steve Cross.

  • Hear Me Calling
  • Look Wot You Dun
  • Move Over
  • Gudbuy T'Jane
  • Darling Be Home Soon
  • Keep On Rockin'
  • Lady Be Good
  • Coz I Luv You
  • Take Me Bak 'Ome
  • Get Down & Get With It
  • Mama Weer All Crazee Now

The Download Link is here: Download
Filename: Slade Archive 08.rar Filesize: 114.82 MB

At least 50% of this text was bastardised from the excellent Milesago site and the JPS site. Milesago has some great info on late 60's & 70's Australasian music. Jands Production Services deal with live entertainment, sound and lighting. Both have comprehensive and interesting history pages worth reading. I would like to pledge my undying love to David Mulholland, without whom, this would have been a far less interesting post. Many thanks for the photos and the info. As to the Banjo poem, don't take it as political, the reference in my mind was to Slade. Not so much a British Band as a Global Band, enjoy!

Scott Samuels has now re-qued this recording.


  1. They actually came back to Sydney after the Randwick show and played the Hordern Pavillion on 6th February 1973 with Caravan...it was the first concert I'd been to and I still have the ticket. I also saw them at the Hordern the following year twice! Awesome live band

  2. Totally agree about David Mullholland. I remember well his radio shows on ABC FM in the late 70s - "Currently Playing Rock" and "Sunday Folk". I was a teenager at the time and he was a huge influence on my musical development. An unsung yet largely forgotten legend of Australian broadcasting!

  3. This was my first concert. I was 15 yo and if I remember correctly it cost $3.50. I lived on the far south coast of NSW and was staying with a friend in Sydney. I remember how wet it was, getting hit with oranges and soggy bread and loving the music. To this day I do not know how two very young 15 year olds got away with going to this concert.

  4. Michelle Headlam11 August 2014 at 10:27


  5. I was 15, too Didge, and stood down the front in the rain all afternoon. I can remember that a group of "sharpie" wankers- with their white shoes, braces, shaved heads, caps, and "martin" jackets got on stage and did their stupid dance during Slade. They might have got up during Status Quo too. The security didn't do much (on appeal from Noddy I think) in fear of it turning ugly. They let them dance and then they got off again.
    What a day. Yep all for $3.50 (or maybe less)
    In 2012 I saw The Quo at The Hordern and their music is still exactly like their albums- especially Big Fat Mama- pretty much not for note.
    Listening to Slade today on itunes prompted this comment. Old rock doesn't fade.

  6. Still remember the bloke on the roof of the pavilion at Randwick doing a jig in a kilt when Jim Lea did an electric violin solo. Security was in a tizz trying to figure out how to get him down. From recollection underwear was not high on the list of the kilt man's priorities. Wonder where he is today? It had been raining all day and that roof must have been slippery. Brilliant concert. The energy was amazing. I was 13 at the time and managed to be near the front.

  7. The best concert ever! Slade in Sydney. Can you repost a download link please?