Sunday, June 22, 2014

Slade Alive! The World's Greatest Albums - The Ultimate Critical Review

I've always loved early Slade and Slade Alive! is a monster representation of the group in its proper setting - in front of a group of ravin' fanatics who obviously loved everything they did. I got this DVD mainly because I never had the chance to see them live but I loved all of the footage that I had seen and wanted to see some more.

Here there are critics discussing the album song-by-song and generally loving it, though they all pan "In Like a Shot From My Gun", a song that I love. Funnily enough, they talk about "Know Who You Are" as if it were showing the growth of their songwriting, even though it came from an instrumental on their first album! Interestingly, a number of the songs from the record were also recorded for a TV show, and bits of the footage are included in the critical review portion, which is great. I did learn something in that I did not know that at the time this record came out, they already had hits and were riding the charts with "Cos I Luv You". I was a little late to the Slade game and thought this album was much earlier than the chart smashes.

The bonus material has all of the offerings from that ferocious live TV appearance, where they start stomping and threatening to destroy the stage right from the intro of the blazingly fast take on "Hear Me Calling", that they unfortunately cut short just so they can do the long ending! Noddy's guitar sounds monstrous on "Look Wot You Dun" and the band is fantastically visual, even besides their wild outfits - real rock'n'roll! They do an excellent "Darling, Be Home Soon" - just as pretty and powerful as on the vinyl - but I just wish the camera man would show more of Dave Hill! James Lea takes up a violin for "Cos I Luv You" and Dave moves over to bass - Lea seems a little uncomfortable trying to seriously play this while stompin' along to the tune, though he does a credible job on a song that I would never imagine they would have done live. Noddy's voice is blood curdlin' in "Get Down and Get With It" and they end, as they do on the record, with a dissonance-drenched "Born To Be Wild".

The high quality live TV footage make this damn near essential for Slade fans - great fun!