Idstein, Germany, 22nd June 2002

Photo copyright Jürgen Leidner

Set List

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 / It's In Every One of Us

Idstein is a beautiful, medieval town located between Frankfurt and Wiesbaden in Germany. As we arrived in bright sunshine, the party atmosphere was immediately apparent, the Hessentag festival having been in full swing for a week already. The whole of Idstein was bursting with fun and completely geared towards and dominated by the festivities. The streets were vibrantly decorated with posters, flags and flyers, the pavements buzzing with both locals and tourists all out to have a good time.

On exploring the town we came across packed pubs, cafes and restaurants, market stalls, street entertainers, and stages with different bands performing on almost every corner. Our band were not due to arrive for some time, so we spent the afternoon exploring, relaxing and soaking up the idyllic atmosphere. The people of Idstein certainly know how to enjoy themselves.   

The Hollies were to perform a little way out of the centre of town. When we arrived at the gates of the festival ground, there was already a large queue beginning to form, eagerly anticipating the evening’s entertainment (and refreshments it later transpired!!) They were excitable, but the atmosphere remained pleasant and laid back.

The venue was a huge marquee with a large stage and numerous bars. Large wooden tables were laid out across the back (there was an incredible stampede for these once the gates finally opened!!) and the area in front of the stage was left clear for standing. The temperature inside was very high and increased as the marquee filled to capacity in anticipation of the first band of the evening, The Tremeloes. They took to the stage at about 8pm and entertained us with a terrific set of their classic songs. The crowd thoroughly enjoyed themselves and were cheering and stamping their feet for more by the end.

Next up were The Rubettes, who I didn’t see much of, but who seemed to go down just as well.

The Hollies were due on stage at 10.30pm, and by the time they were ready the crowd were getting more excited and restless than ever. The atmosphere at the front was terrific, with people of all ages (including two young lads of about 6 and 11 who stood in front of us) packed in, cheering, stamping their feet, willing the band to appear. Eventually the music began, and they got an amazing reception as they took to the stage.

Photo copyright Jürgen Leidner

Carl began to feed off the large, excited crowd immediately, the bouncing beginning from the opening chord of the opening number, “I Can’t Let Go” and continuing almost throughout the set. This has become something of a tradition for the larger, festival events now. The microphone chord/stand between the legs is also becoming a regular feature and he entertained us with this throughout Tony’s first chat with the audience! Tony put it down to the heat!

The whole set went down a storm, this being a far more comfortable environment than the last venue in Holland. The majority of this crowd were not only music lovers, but fans of Sixties music. The young boys in front of us were thrilled when Carl came forward into the crowd and shook their hands. The older one (practicing his English!) took great delight in telling us about his father’s sixties music collection. He certainly seemed to know the songs, as did the younger one who did not stop jumping up and down and clapping his hands throughout. Once again, the Hollies were reaching out to and entertaining a brand new generation with their classic tunes and brilliantly crafted, timeless pop songs. 

Carl addressed the crowd in German throughout the show, very impressive, and they certainly seemed to appreciate it. His yell “Bist du fertig???” must have been heard all over Idstein as they launched into their usual powerful rendition of “Stop Stop Stop” following an extended introduction from Tony on banjo.  

Grammatically correct or not, the crowd seemed to understand and responded with great enthusiasm. This number is always a real highlight of the festivals, with Carl encouraging the crowd to bounce energetically along in time. “Long Cool Woman” was as rockin’ as ever, with each member of the band taking the limelight towards the end and Carl joining Bobby at the drum kit during his solo. The two ballads, “Air” and “Heavy” were well known and well received. Surprisingly, “Blackberry Way” did not seem that well known, but went down a storm. “Blowin’ In The Wind” demonstrated Carl in as fine voice as ever; this one never fails to send the shivers down my spine, the vocal introduction is just amazing and he sings it with so much soul, as though it were written for him.

Announcements were made regarding the departure of Allan Clarke and the band’s imminent 40th anniversary in the business. As the band took their bows to tremendous applause and stamping of feet Carl saw fit to drench the front of his shirt and jeans in water – it certainly was hot, with the weather remaining fine and the temperatures high well into the evening.

They returned to the stage for a beautiful rendition of “It’s In Every One of Us” which the audience seemed to love, and it was all over for another night.  

Photo copyright Jürgen Leidner  

My special thanks to Idstein and the people in the crowd who were so friendly, welcoming and helpful. Ich hoffe uns zurückbringe einen Tag! 

Review Helen Macdonald

Photos by Jürgen Leidner

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