Slide have a very unique approach to their musical endeavors. Couple of chart hits? Live album. Fortunes failing? Live album. People loved our Reading performance? Live EP. Revitalized career? Live album. Xmas? Live EP. Needless to say this is a very much appreciated approach, especially as Slade were incredible live. The live album we will be reviewing today is the revitalized career one. Slade’s On Stage was recorded during their 1981 tour and features most of the set from the Newcastle show it was recorded at.
The set starts with “Rock and Roll Preacher”, a good rock song, that does tend to get overshadowed by what’s to come. The highlight is the small crowd interaction in the middle where vocalist Noddy Holder parrots stereotypical church phrases. The following song is much more memorable. “When I’m Dancin’ I Ain’t Fightin’” is a much more lively rocker. It’s fast-paced, energetic and shows that Noddy has lost very little vocally in the ten years since the first Slade live album. And the guitar tone is perfect too. Slade had well and truly dropped most of the glam rock by now, and had settled into a more traditional hard rock style. The next song is the first one you’d expect to find on a greatest hits disc. “Take Me Bak ‘Ome” is certainly good enough to warrant it’s inclusion on both here and the hits discs, but it’s just overshadowed by many of the other, more energetic, songs on the album. It’s actually a bit of a feature of Slade live albums to have the lesser-known songs overshadow most of the radio hits.
“Everyday” is next. It’s a ballad. One of Slade’s few ballads, and another one from the hits disc club. I do prefer this version though, as there is electric guitar where there once was piano. It definitely suits the song better. And because this is Slade, the ballads still feature Noddy close to the top of his lungs. Almost as if to make up for this slight lull in frenetic rocking, the next song is one of the most unhinged on the disc, and one of my favorite Slade songs too. “Lock Up Your Daughters” is just absolute relentless rock and roll. This song is peak live Slade, not that the other songs aren’t. Immediately succeeding “Lock Up Your Daughters” is “We’ll Bring The House Down”, which I’m sure Slade did that night. Being sandwiched in-between two of the many great tracks on this album doesn’t help it, but it’s still a great listen, and certainly nowhere near filler territory. The next great song is “A Night To Remember”. It’s another one of the fast-paced energetic rockers that Slade is so good at, except it has a little extra to it. The back two thirds of this song is a medley/solo section, featuring some excellent musicianship, and some forays into “Purple Haze”, “Spirit in the Sky” (of all things), the drum intro to “Long Live Rock And Roll” and probably a couple other songs that I don’t know. Do tell me if you can pick any others out.
We then get another two hits disc tracks. “Gudbuy T’Jane” and “Mama Weer All Crazee Now”. They’re excellent live versions and very enjoyable, though not what I put this album on to hear, most of the time. The final track is actually just the crowd and Noddy singing the Liverpool FC theme song, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. I’m not a Liverpool fan, but it’s still a nice way to end the album.
Slade are, and always will be, a live band. And this album shows why.