Forum Theatre, Malvern, 5th March 2004

Set List

I’m Alive / Here I Go Again / Jennifer Eccles / Yes I Will / On A Carousel / Listen To Me / Can’t Tell The Bottom From The Top / I Can’t Let Go / We’re Through / Fire Brigade / Look Through Any Window / Blowin’ In The Wind


Long Cool Woman / Sorry Suzanne / Just One Look / The Baby / Soldier’s 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 Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother / It’s In Every One of Us 

It had been about eleven years since I was last in Malvern and the town hadn’t changed very much. What better place to see your favourite band than in the town you first ever heard them? This gig was going to be very special for me.  

The Forum Theatre had changed a lot since I’d last been there, but with the back of the theatre opening onto the beautiful Winter Gardens, as Carl later remarked, this was an amazing venue to play.  

I arrived at the Forum to huge queues of people trying to get to their seats; if this show wasn’t a sell-out then it was very close!  As the lights dimmed the audience went quiet and cheered the guys as they entered and burst into a very energetic ‘I’m Alive’; a hit that was well received by the audience. The guys kept rolling on with wall-to-wall hits like ‘Here I Go Again’, ‘Jennifer Eccles’, ‘Yes I Will’ (Carl’s favourite) and ‘On A Carousel’ before Carl said he was off to find a throat sweet - the first indication that he was having problems with his throat. The ever-beautiful three voice acoustic ‘Listen to Me’ was followed by Alan Coates’ amazing ‘I Can’t Tell the Bottom from the Top’, definitely my favourite new inclusion to the set list!   

The video screen was out for ‘I Can’t Let Go’ before the band treated us to ‘We’re Through’ where Carl’s vocals were (as usual) impeccable and his piano skills wowed the crowd as he took Ian Parker’s spot at the keyboards. At this point Parker donned his accordion, delighting the crowd as he walked around. The first Move song of the night, ‘Fire Brigade’, also had the Malvern audience clapping along. Birmingham wasn't that far away so perhaps the Move were more likely to be remembered here. Tony remarked that the Hollies hadn’t played in Malvern since 1964 (although the guy I was sitting next to reckoned it was more like 1968 and I read that December 1965 was their last visit to Malvern during the 60s). Alan, Carl and Tony were left on the stage after the Move classic and the three voices combined with the new laid back version of ‘Look Through Any Window’, leaving us crying out for more.  Alan and Tony were busy with some amazing guitar solos, it was pure magic!  The first set was rounded off with Carl’s fantastic opening to ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’- he’s certainly got a good set of lungs on him!  

It was good to see the entertaining video for the opening of the second set. The guys came on stage and burst into ‘Long Cool Woman’ followed by ‘Sorry Suzanne’ and ‘Just One Look’ before Carl announced the two European hits that his vocals suit so wonderfully; ‘The Baby’ and also ‘Soldier’s Song’, which I still find hard listening to as Carl’s vocals, Bobby’s drumming and the eerie video projections and lighting just send shivers up and down my spine.  Always an amazing performance of this song!  A hard performance to follow but Alan, Ray and Tony did follow it with an acoustic ‘Gasoline Alley Bred’ and Tony’s beautiful ‘Too Young to be Married’ with Alan performing a lovely guitar solo intro before Tony sang. Carl, Bob and Ian returned to the stage for a fun 'Bus Stop' and the brilliant ‘Blackberry Way’, which brought back memories to me (I can still remember singing and dancing along to this song in my former house here).   

As the boys followed with ‘Carrie Anne’, ‘Stop Stop Stop’ and ‘Air That I Breathe’ the audience joined in more and more and the boys deserved the standing ovation they received.  The crowd were calling out for more and were obliged with ‘I Can Hear the Grass Grow’ and ‘Tiger Feet’ (sadly not many people danced to these). I believe it was just before ‘He Ain’t Heavy’ that Carl announced he’d been suffering from a bit of laryngitis - you couldn’t tell!  The boys sang their final song then their beautiful verse of ‘It’s in Everyone of Us’ and the crowd was ecstatic, everyone had such a great time.  

A successful return to Malvern for both the lads and me!!  Keep it going boys!

Review by Peej Harding


Photo by Helen Macdonald 

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