SLADE II ZEITZ (GERMANY) ALTMARKT
7TH ZEITZER SCHWARZBIERNACHT
pictures copyright@ Ilpo Bister
Slade II was the headlining act at the 7th Zeitzer Schwarzbiernacht Festival at Zeitz Altmarkt on the 18th September 2004.
Report by Ilpo Bister
Here’s a short report from my autumn holiday visit to Zeitz in Germany and at “PopRockNews headquarters” at Großschönau (Oberlausitz).
“WHEELS AIN’T COMING DOWN” Slade ii played a private gig for some company in Finland at Aku’s Fabric (Akun Tehdas) at Tampere (Ylöjärvi) on Friday 17th September 2004, but I had no chance to get there. The partying company’s employees had two choices: Slade ii or John Fogerty, and they had made a good choice.
Slade ii flew on Saturday morning from Helsinki to Berlin and from there to Zeitz. I had my flight earlier from Helsinki to Berlin via Copenhagen and I didn’t see the BOYZ at the Helsinki airport, neither in Berlin Tegel.
In Copenhagen SAS crew fixed the plane yet, when all the passengers were already in the plane. “Now it’s okay” and we left a little late Copenhagen for Berlin. The captain had to withdraw the first landing trial in Berlin and we made an extra round during some checkings. There was some thing (flab?) that didn’t work and the captain announced that we will have faster landing than normally. And yes we did indeed, the plane came down very fast and a really rough breaking – “…and the Wheels Ain’t Coming Down…”. We had a red committee at the airport. SAS again, oh yes…
“ARE YOU THE SINGER OF SLADE?” It was really nice weather in Berlin and Zeitz with sunshine and almost +25 degrees after the very autumn weather in Helsinki. I came by train to Zeitz at 4pm and started to look for a hotel. By the concert place at Altmarkt square I heard that Don was doing the soundcheck and tried to get inside the concert area, but no way, though the guard asked me, if I am the singer of the band, when she saw my Slade shirt. I didn’t ruin the band’s reputation though.
Then I walked to the first hotel besides the Altmarkt and asked for a free room. The German staff did of course not understand English and asked the director to me. He (bad English again) thought that I was a member of the band again and asked what’s wrong! Finally he understood my question with help of Hanna from Slade II crew and said that there are not free rooms.
I saw also Steve Whalley sitting in the hotel, greeted him and left the hotel to look for another one that I found soon.
“5-4-3-2-1 SLADE ARE TO GO…” At 6pm I got to the Altmarkt, where they were just starting the evening. Some girlie trio played some boring disco numbers (Boney M,…) with good reaction by the audience though, and some singer played a couple of songs with his acoustic guitar.
The Altmarkt was full of people (maybe some 8000-10 000), who had come to have a nice party evening with lots of many kinds of happenings at Zeitz.
At 6:30pm it was time for real music. Steve Whalley (singer and guitarist) and John Berry (bassist) got first on stage with Don Powell (drummer) in his “Tarzan” suite without a shirt (why wasn’t you there, SladeMoni!). The Thunderbird intro “5-4-3-2-1-Slade are to go…”, Dave Hill jumped on stage with big greetings from the audience and the show started.
“CUM ON FEEL THE NOIZE” – “FAR FAR AWAY” – “MERRY XMAS EVERYBODY” Slade II played the longer set list starting with “Cum On Feel The Noize” and ending with “Merry Xmas Everybody” replacing “Born To Be Wild” as the second encore. The sound was loud, though I think that there was some problems with the balance at times. The “extra” numbers on the show were the instrumental “M’Hat, M’Coat” (Hill 1981) and “Wild Nites” (Hill/Hunt, also “The Bangin’ Man” that is a difficult live number, because of the strong studio sound).
The reaction by the audience was good, though I could have waited the festival people getting even wilder. I think that most of the people hadn’t come for Slade II, but to spend a nice Schwarzbiernacht, and they didn’t know even the words of “Everyday”. But mostly the atmosphere was good or very good and the BOYZ worked very hard on stage as always having good fun and lots of movement.
The highlights of the concert were “Cum On Feel The Noize”, “Far Far Away”, “Run Runaway”, speed on “Gudbuy T’Jane”, Dave’s guitar on “Red Hot” and the magnificient “Merry Xmas Everybody” with its warm feeling that takes you at once to higher atmosphere and makes you jump like with the first chords of “Look Wot You Dun” – a genious, who has created this classic – and we know who!
SUPPER WITH THE BOYZ After the concert I had a great pleasure to have supper with Slade II and their staff at their hotel, thanks to Jan Visscher who is usually their tour manager (?) in Germany. Really great and friendly people these BOYZ, who didn’t bother having yet some “work” at the hotel with all my autographs.
There was also Hanna, whom I didn’t know by name yet then, but had seen many times on stage taking care of businesses. So I asked Steve “Who is she, is she working for you?” “She is Don’s girlfriend. Beware yourself of Don!”
Steve, Don and John speak pretty thick (London?) accent and it was fairly difficult to understand it, but Dave’s accent was much easier. I gave also a graphic work by finnish artist Maarit Kontiainen as a birthday present to Don - just three years late – “35 years and still making more noize than anyone else!” (2001 - 35 and 55 years).
POPROCKNEWS HEADQUARTERS On Sunday morning I left Zeitz and travelled by train via Leipzig and Dresden to Großschönau, where I had some great autumn holidays and great fun with locals and local Slade fans at another Birthday party of PopRockNews webmaster Monika at her Gasthof Zur Weberstube.
Ilpo Bister, Helsinki