Genk, Belgium, 27th June 2002
I Can't Let Go / Here I Go Again / Jennifer Eccles / Just One Look / Bus Stop / On a Carousel / Sorry Suzanne / Yes I Will / Look Through Any Window / Blowin' In The Wind / Carrie Ann / Stop! Stop! Stop! / The Air That I Breathe
Blackberry Way / Tiger Feet / Long Cool Woman / He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother
Genk is a town in the Province of Limburg about two hours train journey from Brussels and a town proud of it recreational attractions, of which there are many.
The festival itself took place that evening in a large tent in the market place. As we arrived, the council staff made big fuss of us and wished us a good evening's entertainment. That is just what it was.
The first act up was Graham Gouldman and 10CC. I had never seen them before but they were excellent and the unique thing about the night was that, of course the writer of 'Bus Stop' and 'Look Through Any Window', Graham Gouldman proudly included them in his set and then some forty-five minutes later The Hollies gave their rendering of them. The diplomat in me says honours were equal, and it was it wonderful to see them both perform the songs, writer and artists at their very best.
The only thing that was concerning me was 10CC were going great guns and you could see that the audience were thoroughly enjoying it, but my encounters with the Belgium people throughout the day had struck me that they were a very polite but culturally reserved group. This was showing in their response, which was a marked contrast to what I had experienced in Idstein a few days earlier.
When the time came for the The Hollies to take the stage, the first three songs were met with the exact same response; warm but subdued. Then something happened. Suddenly we started to feel movement among that tightly packed crowd, a sort of wave that moved from front to back. By 'Blowin' in the Wind' the crowd were singing and waving their arms. The cultural barrier had come down and politeness had given way to sheer enjoyment. I turned to a Belgian lady next me and asked if she was enjoying herself. In excellent English she replied, 'He's gorgeous and what a voice!' pointing and waving at Carl, who duly responded with a wave back. He is certainly getting a following among the ladies in the audience!
We were treated to another excellent banjo solo in 'Stop, Stop, Stop' and equally good solos by Tony in 'Carrie Anne' and 'Long Cool Woman'. I don't think I have ever seen Alan sing his bit in 'Carrie Anne' with such pleasure and enthusiasm. There was some fine drumming by Bobby and Ian seemed on top form on synth' that night.
'Tiger Feet' saw Ray at the front on full form, thumping out the words and there was one of the best displays of headbanging yet from Alan, Ray and Tony. "Watch the backs boys'!" I remember muttering, as the crowd were moving and singing along in return.
'Air' was wonderful, but sounded extra special sung by the Belgian crowd. During 'Heavy' I found my arms being pulled into the air by the people next to me, as Carl did his usual masterful performance of the song and the crowd swayed and sang in unison.
When the 'boys' left the stage, the crowd went mad, shouting for their return, banging their feet, but unfortunately the venue was in a residential area and an encore was not allowed under council regulations. I think had it been allowed both the band and the crowd would been there until the early hours of the morning, everyone was having so much fun. For the set list collectors among you, the list was the same as Idstein but 'Blackberry Way' gave way to 'It's in All of Us' due to the time limit.
Review by Carol Borrington
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