National Concert Hall, Dublin, 20th February 2004

Set List

Iím Alive / Here I Go Again / Jennifer Eccles / Yes I Will / On A Carousel / Listen To Me / Canít Tell The Bottom From The Top / I Canít Let Go / Weíre Through / Fire Brigade / Look Through Any Window / Blowiní In The Wind

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Long Cool Woman / Sorry Suzanne / Just One Look / The Baby / Soldierís Song / Gasoline Alley Bred / Too Young To Be Married / Bus Stop / Blackberry Way / Carrie Anne / Stop! Stop! Stop! / The Air That I Breathe / I Can Hear The Grass Grow / Tiger Feet / He Ainít Heavy, Heís My Brother / Itís In Every One of Us  

On arrival in the fair city of Dublin, Vince and I could have been forgiven for thinking we were actually in Wales rather than Ireland!  The city was inundated with Welsh rugby fans making a long weekend of it for the 6-Nations rugby match which was due to take place on the Sunday.  It all added to the natural liveliness of the city, however.  We were staying in a hotel near the airport as we had not been able to get into a more central one, so our time was a bit limited, but we did do some sightseeing on the City Bus Tour, taking in St. Stephen's Gre en, Molly Malone's statue, the Guinness Storehouse and other interesting places along the way.  After that we walked across the Halfpenny Bridge into Temple Bar where of course we just had to sample some true Irish Guinness!

The time for the concert drew nearer, we got into a taxi and headed for the National Concert Hall, where we met up with our fellow Hollies fans who had made the journey across the Irish Sea. 

The theatre was strong on atmosphere and from the first moments as the Hollies walked onto the stage, the welcoming warmth of the Dublin audience shone through.  It was almost like playing 'in the round' for the boys, as the choir stalls behind the stage were occupied too.  From time to time the guys would turn around to play and sing to the people in these seats so that they occasionally saw the Hollies' faces!  Their restricted view did not detract from their evident enjoyment though, they were dancing and singing along throughout the show. 

Obviously the new backdrops couldn't be used this evening. Also there did seem to be a little difficulty with feedback, to Tony's evident annoyance at one time, because of the additional need to project the sound behind the stage. That said, it was a brilliant show all the way through from the first notes of "I'm Alive" to the last poignant notes of "It's In Everyone Of Us".  The wonderful harmonies in the two acoustic sections were very well received, especially the melodic "Listen To Me" and this tour's beautiful new addition of "I Can't Tell The Bottom From The Top" - to which Tony loves to tell the anecdote about the original keyboard player being one Reg Dwight aka Elton John who in those days could apparently be picked up for about £11!! 

After that first acoustic section Carl made a welcome return to the stage with "I Can't Let Go" which got the audience clapping again.  Earlier Alan Coates had received well-deserved applause for "On A Carousel", and towards the end of the first half the wonderful 'west-coast' version of "Look Through Any Window" also received enthusiastic applause.  After the interval it was back into "Long Cool Woman" and wall-to-wall hits as before.  Carl's 'Move' hits were also enthusiastically received by the audience, who all sang along to "Blackberry Way".  Then there was more dancing to "Carrie Anne" and a standing ovation at the end of "Air That I Breathe".  Everyone was on their feet for "I Can Hear The Grass Grow" followed by "Tiger Feet" dynamically performed by Ray.  Then the audience cheered for "He Ain't Heavy" - they weren't disappointed, Carl gave us his all with his rendition of this Hollies anthem.  Finally the spellbinding first few lines of "It's In Everyone Of Us" and then all too soon it was over, with the band taking their bows to the audience both in front and behind them. 

A wonderful evening in Dublin.

Review by Marie Ashbrook

Photo by Helen Macdonald

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