Baden Airpark, Germany, 28th June 2003
Long Cool Woman / Here I Go Again / Jennifer Eccles / Yes I Will / Look Through Any Window / Bus Stop / Listen To Me / Too Young To Be Married / Just One Look / On A Carousel / Sorry Suzanne / I´m Alive / Blowin´In The Wind / Carrie Anne / He Ain´t Heavy / Stop Stop Stop / I Can Hear The Grass Grow / The Air That I Breathe / It´s In Everyone Of Us
The band ripped into the expected opener, "Long Cool Woman", with a vengeance, and the next 65 minutes or so was basically the same single, lengthy adrenaline-rush I experienced in America in the Summer of 2002 - with some important differences. What a delightful blur of great music performed by an equally great band! The general ambience of a Hollies performance and their brilliant musicianship is as important to a memorable Hollies concert as the specific song list. With such a vast repertoire of great songs ranging from "obscure" album and b-side jewels to beloved classics, the boys could perform dozens of vastly different sets for many weeks before much of any sense of familiarity set in. And if they chose to. You either "get it" with this band, or you don't.
sound was rather good considering the circumstances. The highlights for me were
the acoustic set of "Listen to Me" and "Too Young to Be
Married" (but not "Gasoline Alley Bred", unfortunately),
featuring just Tony, Alan and Ray. Logically, the band did not play
"Listen" in America last summer; at best it was a minor hit in '68 and
I never heard it until years later. I actually preferred this live acoustic
version to the original immediately, the trio played it beautifully and the
harmonies were absolutely gorgeous.
The Hollies did play "Too Young to Be Married" in America. Carl sang it here, and sang it very well, but it was a nice change of pace to hear Tony sing his own song. As always, I was waiting to hear Tony's solo - one of his greatest ever - but this time on the acoustic-electric hybrid. Brilliantly played, as it was all three times over here. I was always a little disappointed with the version of the solo on "Live Hits", but Tony is now playing it better than ever.
One of my name-checks from Carl came as the guitar riff for "I Can Hear the Grass Grow" kicked in. "Do you remember this one, Bruce?" In fact, I do - all the way back to 2001 when I first bought a Move collection to check out the Hollies new singer (I can't say how many times I've played it in the past year, however; WAY too many times to count!) I had not dared to hope I would hear any Move tunes, but the band's set was longer than I had been led to believe and I was rewarded. So I grinned back at Carl, pumped my fist in the air, and enjoyed the Hollies excellent treatment of a Move classic. The band has made it their own, especially "Roy" Hicks, and the band is one of the few with sufficient vocal talent to recreate the contributions of several Move voices on the original. And Carl remembered the whistle!
was also great to hear "Sorry Suzanne", again because of its exclusion
from the American shows. But also because of its importance in my personal
"Hollies History"; it represented their return to the American
airwaves in early 1969 after a year-long drought.
Nice job, Carl.
"Here I Go Again" and "Jennifer Eccles" were played in the Kearney, Nebraska show, but had been dropped and replaced with "Stay" by the next time I saw the group, at Cohasset, Massachusetts. So many great songs with these guys that the set changes can bring simultaneous disappointment and elation. I was especially pleased by the return of "Here I Go Again", as I had really enjoyed Carl's vocal on it in Nebraska. Enjoyed it just as much at the Baden Airpark! With just over a month since their last gig, I detected no "rust" in the Boys’ performance. A lot of the onstage comedic "looseness" reported toward the end of the UK spring tour was absent too, although the appearance of a "guest star" in the form of a rather large grasshopper at the edge of the stage prompted some ad libs from Tony and Carl at one point. Plus, Carl drew laughter from the crowd, particularly me, when he walked over to the large-screen cameraman and gave him the startled fellow a big kiss!
Towards the end of the show, Carl thanked Arnim, Konstantin, Beth, Helen and me for coming, wonderful company to be in. Just as I approved of the new, high-energy way in which "Long Cool Woman" kicked off the Hollies show, I was just as appreciative that the delicate beauty of the acapella version of "It's In Every One of Us" continues to close it. I'm sure their concerts have ended in many memorable ways over the years, but this is the only ending I know and it is difficult to imagine a more beautiful and stirring end to such a great show.
Review by Bruce Brandt
Photos by Helen Macdonald and Arnim Kilgus
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