Theatre Royal, Brighton, 8th October 2000
I'm Alive / Here I Go Again / Jennifer Eccles / Just One Look / Soldier Song / Bus Stop / Flowers in The Rain / Butterfly / I Can't Let Go / King Midas In Reverse / The Baby / Blowing In The Wind
Stay / Sorry Suzanne / Yes I Will / Look Through Any Window / Peggy Sue Got Married / Blackbird / We're Through / Carrie Anne / Stop Stop Stop / The Air That I Breathe / Blackberry Way / Tiger Feet / Long Cool Woman In a Black Dress / He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother
The 8th October 2000 marked the first date on The Hollies' Autumn 2000 Tour and Carl Wayne's first appearance with the band on a major set of dates.
The Theatre Royal, Brighton is intimate, and there was a jovial atmosphere front of house. As I took my seat in the packed auditorium, the atmosphere was buzzing and it was clear that the Fan Club had bagged the first few rows. I felt for Carl, knowing how difficult it was going to be for him to stand up in front of long standing Hollies fans and prove himself. Deep down I knew he had nothing to worry about, though, and I was proven right as soon as he took to the stage. He came on last, to the strains of the "Bladerunner" theme and the audience gave him a hearty welcome.
A storming version of 'I'm Alive' had the audience clapping along and the first half of the set flew by. One highlight was the acoustic spot which included fabulous versions of 'Bus Stop' and the well-loved Move classic 'Flowers in the Rain'. It is great that the band are allowing Carl to showcase the numbers that have brought him success in the past and this section gave Alan Coates and Tony Hicks the chance to display their skills on guitar and backing vocals; the sound was fresh and simple.
The second highlight of the first half was 'Soldier Song' Carl really put his all into this one; the emotion depicted reflected his past success as an actor and the imaginative lighting effects matched the mood, brooding and wistful. Bob Dylan's classic 'Blowing in the Wind' closed the first half and the band left the stage to much appreciative noise!
The second half was a little longer and just as enjoyable. More Hollies classics, an effective collaboration with Buddy Holly and another Move number for good measure, 'Blackberry Way', which encouraged healthy audience participation! Carl's unique voice sounded heavenly on 'The Air that I Breathe' and the inevitable encore 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother'. 'Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress' gave Carl the chance to show what a truly terrific rock singer and showman he is, and had the audience on its feet, as did 'Tiger Feet', sung brilliantly by ex-Mud bassist Ray Stiles. The final numbers brought the house down, and the band were not allowed to leave the stage for quite some time…!
Towards the end of the show, Carl made a speech, explaining to the audience how difficult it was stepping into the shoes of someone as well-loved and successful as Allan Clarke, but that he was honoured to take the job on and to allow the wonderful live music of The Hollies to continue. The audience responded warmly and appreciatively, but by now I think he had already won them over.
This show is incredibly impressive and highly recommended. Each member of the band is a great singer and player, the arrangements are cracking and it is a professional and polished production. Moreover, Carl gives the performance of his life..don't miss it!!
Stay tuned for further updates, news and photos from the tour!!
Photo and review by Helen Macdonald
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