REVIEW

 

SLADE
BBC Insight [no label 1CD Torrent: 81303]
Live at New Victoria Theatre, London UK, April 24, 1975. Ex FM stereo. Rare and excellent

By 1975, Slade’s star was definitely beginning to tarnish. Four years had passed since their initial breakthrough, in an age when four years was a virtual eternity, and they no longer hit #1 like they used to. But it would be churlish to say they’d lost it completely. Their 14th straight hit single, "How Does It Feel," had just spun off their movie debut, Slade In Flame; their 15th, "Thanks For The Memory," was poised for release. And the roar that accompanies their arrival on stage, to power through a dynamite "Them Kinda Monkeys Can’t Swing," proves that the faithful had never lost their devotion.

The sound quality here is stupendous, as full and meaty as the band (and their repertoire) deserve. Arguably, Slade fans have been treated dreadfully by their heroes. There are just two official live albums, and neither catches the band at the peak of both their powers and their popularity. This set, too, is at least 18 months too late to truly recreate the magic, but - as they pound through "The Banging Man," "Gudbuy T’Jane," "Far Far Away," "Everyday," "Mama Weer All Crazee Now," and a well-chosen clutch of recent album cuts - you can still feel the glitter flying, the satin flapping and the electricity arcing from stage to stalls. And, though there’s a lot of hits that were left unplayed, memories of Slade as perhaps the primo live band of the first half of the 1970s come hurtling relentlessly back. - Dave Thompson

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