Noddy Holder - vocals, guitar; James Lea - bass, vocals; Dave Hill - guitar, vocals; Don Powell - drums
Slade had already conquered the UK and most of Europe by 1976, the year they attempted to increase their profile stateside in a major way by touring, multiple TV appearances, and even a film, Slade in Flame. Though the big break never came, the band managed to make a pretty good "noize," on stage and screen as they stomped their way across the USA. This gig was likely recorded on a '76 tour stop at the Showplace in Dover, New Jersey.
Live, Slade played a mix of older hits and new material from the album Nobody's Fools, but they were still far from becoming US stars. In their English homeland they were of course massive: 11 top-five hits and seven number-ones, most all of them produced by former member of the Animals and Jimi Hendrix manager, Chas Chandler. They performed accordingly, owning the stage and rocking the hall to its rafters.
"Hear Me Calling" and "Get on Up" starts this set rolling; Noddy Holder snarls his lines with hard rock bluesy rock fervor, a la Paul Rodgers or Bon Scott. He's an excellent between-song banterer and host, though perhaps the English humor and accent had trouble translating to the Jersey crowd. They blaze through "Scratch My Back" and the swaggering "Take Me Home," then take it down a notch for "How Does It Feel" (featuring Jimmy Lea on keyboards) from Slade in Flame. The song Slade calls "Move Over Baby" is a heavy metal-esque version of Janis Joplin's "Move Over." Holder refers to "Gudbuy T'Jane," from the 1972 album Slayed? as "one of the old ones," but the number-two British single rocks with the spirit of stripped-down punk rock, which at the time was the fresh new sound. "Them Kinda Monkeys Can't Swing," is also from Slade in Flame, and this time it's Dave Hill's turn to shine on guitar while Jimmy Lea busts out the fiddle. "Yehudi Menuhin, Jr. there," quips Holder, as Lea wraps up his virtuoso performance. At 11-some minutes,"Them Kinda Monkeys Can't Swing" is an irrefutable showstopper.
Slade's set has moments that resemble the ramshackle punk breaking out of New York and London, though ironically, it was the advent of that music in 1976 that buried bands like Slade, with their rock star posturing and excessive ways. As the '70s closed, Slade was literally brushed aside, that is, until the next wave of big-hair metal lovin' kids discovered their charms. In 1983, Quiet Riot had a top-five stateside hit with "Cum on Feel the Noize," the song performed here in a highly shambolic version as the set rounds its corner to its finish. Slade top off with "Get Down and Get With It," a blues rave up that first got them going on their UK chart run. They encore with "Mama Weer All Crazee Now" (again, covered by Quiet Riot in 1984) and a medley of Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Rock 'n' Roller" and the Larry Williams hit, "Bony Maronie."
Following their attempt to expand their stateside market and despite medium success with it, Slade pressed on, though when Holder and Lea left the band in 1991, they were effectively done. But thanks to their mid-late '70s good time US run and their '80s revival by hair-metal bands, Slade will not soon be forgotten. Many years later, we're still feeling the noize.