Waldbuhne Festival, Berlin, 19th June 2004

Carl at Waldbuhne - Photo by Helen

Set List

I'm Alive / Here I Go Again / Jennifer Eccles / On a Carousel / Sorry Suzanne / Blowin' In The Wind / Carrie Anne / Long Cool Woman / Stop Stop Stop / He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother / The Air That I Breathe / It's In Every One of Us

When we eventually found the location of the gig, we could already hear the Abba tribute band in full swing and quite a bit of crowd noise, singing and cheering. I had no idea what to expect as we walked through trees but as we came to a wall and surveyed the venue, my breath was taken away!

The venue was a huge ampi-theatre, built by Hitler during the 1930s/40s for his rallies. The long rows of seats which curved round the stage were filled with approximately 18,000 people.

The Abba tribute band were luckily just finishing as we made our way down two or three flights of stairs. I concentrated more on the stairs than the band for the fear of falling, and we went and took our first positions in the standing area at the front.

The first of the top four acts were the Tremeloes. Helen remarked to me that she always thought they seemed like such a happy band and sure enough the four of them had huge grins on their faces and the lead guitarist in particular was quite happy wandering around the stage and entertaining the crowd.

Their songs were fantastic and I did find I knew two of them; everyone knows 'Silence is Golden' and I found they were the original band who sang 'Angel'- I only knew the recent cover version by Shaggy.

After a break, while the stage crew set the stage up, it was time for the Hollies to appear. The intro was the same, the opening music with strains of familiar guitar riffs playing as the guys came on stage to clapping and cheering, possibly more from the four of us, before the crowd joined in and the guys started with an energetic “I'm Alive”, getting the already merry audience singing along. As the guys followed their pacey start with their other well-known hits, the 18,000 strong audience were dancing away. The guys had a shorter set tonight as there were so many other acts but theirs was definitely one of the more memorable as they delighted the audience with their well-known hits.

I was delighted that finally I was able to stand up at a Hollies gig and "dance" to Hollies songs which cry out to be danced to but aren't at the English gigs.

The lighting for the show was perfect for me to get some brilliant shots of the lads as there was the natural outdoor lighting -still bright at 8pm- supported by the fantastic lights rigged above the stage. The only thing that ruined their set was the smoke machine to Coatesey's side. He made frantic 'turn- it- off' hand signals a couple of times when the guys disappeared behind a cloud. Indeed Carl cupped his eyes as though he was Searchin' for the crowd.

Carl's German was fantastic as he taunted the crowd about the German football team (they'd just lost to Holland); I don't think I can repeat here what he actually said. Shame Tony didn't speak German as he gave quite a short (for him) introduction in English to 'Carrie-Anne'. Maybe he was working on the same assumption as me that weekend; the majority of Germans speak English!

During 'He Ain't Heavy' I was singing along when I suddenly realised Carl wasn't singing and looked up to see him looking at his microphone with a funny smile on his face; the cable had dropped out of the bottom! But Carl was ever the professional and picked up the cable, re-attached it to the microphone and carried on singing the right words at that part of the song without losing his cool!

As Carl, Alan, Ray, Tony and Ian finished with 'It's In Every One of Us', Bob, who didn't stand looking on, suddenly appeared with a digital camera and started to take photos of the guys much to crowds amusement!

Overall, it was a fantastic set which went on for longer than I expected and the guys were as good as ever. The whole package was great, the crowd was responsive, there to enjoy themselves and were most certainly entertained by all who appeared that night. 

Review by Peej Harding

Photos by Helen Macdonald

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