Central Hall Theatre, Chatham, 5th March 2003

Run and get the Fire Brigade - Photo by Helen

Set List

Long Cool Woman / Here I Go Again / Jennifer Eccles / Yes I Will / Look Through Any Window / Sandy / Butterfly / Iím Alive / Fire Brigade / Weíre Through / On a Carousel / Blowiní In the Wind

How Will I Survive / Sorry Suzanne / Just One Look / The Baby / Soldier Song / Gasoline Alley Bred / Too Young to be Married / Bus Stop / Blackberry Way / Carrie Ann /  The Air That I Breathe / I Can Hear The Grass Grow / Stop! Stop! Stop! / Tiger Feet / He Ainít Heavy / Itís In Every One of Us

Chatham was a new town and venue for me. I owe my presence there to Carol Borrington, who had put me up after the Nottingham concert. She awoke me with "Do I take you to the station for your train home, or are you coming with me to Chatham?" I took a sip of my tea, I wasn't sure if I was dreaming. It didn't take me long to decide on Chatham, so Carol stuffed the maps and directions in my lap and off we sped.  

The theatre was packed. It looked very small from the outside squeezed between the shops, but inside it was lovely. Here we were again, anticipating another show. The applause heralded the band to the stage. Carl shouted ĎAre you here to have a good time?í The audience responded with "YES". The band instruments at the ready, Carl shouted Ď1,2,3,4í and they launched into 'Long Cool Woman'. More hits followed;  'Here I Go Again' and 'Jennifer Eccles'. Tony introduced Carl saying he was lead singer with the Move and they had some great songs which the Hollies would do later in the show. He also said they had a new song which would start the second half. In the meantime more hits came. Carl said the next song was his favourite Hollies song (one of mine too). 'Yes I Will' was followed by 'Look Through Any Window'. Next was 'Sandy' which Carl does so well; his diction is far superior to Allan Clark's. I'm a big fan of Springsteen, and love the lyrics to this song.   

Carl, Bob and Tony left the stage and Alan took the centre mike for 'Butterfly' with Ian and Ray accompanying him. All back on stage for I'm Alive', then red lights flashed and sirens roared for 'Fire Brigade'. The audience was lapping it up. Next was 'We're Through'  (I love the intro to this number, great drumming). Alan sang 'On A Carousel' and Carl came to the mike saying the next song was written by Bob Dylan, a great songwriter  born in Chatham and known as Chatham Bob. Carl grinned "We can't understand a word he says"; Ray mumbled Lay Lady Lay, and everyone laughed. They sang 'Blowin'  In The Wind' and everyone joined in by clapping. The end of the first half came and Carl said they were off to lubricate the prosthetics!  

'How Do I Survive' is a great song and very apt for a band celebrating 40 years in a very unstable business. I liked the song the first time I heard it and thought it should have been released as a single. Next was 'Sorry Suzanne' and another of my early Hollies favourites 'Just One Look'. Tony picked up the sitar and Carl announced "This goes down well in Bradford" as Tony started to play 'The Baby'. This is a number I was thrilled to find introduced when Carl joined the band. A wonderful sound, fantastic song. Carl's voice adds great power to this one. Then came another song I have been thrilled to hear live 'The Soldiers Song'. With Carl's theatre training, this is very dramatic. If you close your eyes and listen to the words and music, you can picture this song. It's like a mini-movie, very intense, and well deserving of the deafening audience reaction. Things calmed down as Ray took centre mike for 'Gasoline Alley Bred', again beautiful harmonies. Ray made Tony blush as he introduced the next number. "This is a song written by Tony and was number 1 in Australia and New Zealand, a beautiful song with a fantastic guitar solo". Tony was by now a lovely shade of pink as he approached the mike. 'Too Young To Be Married'  is a lovely song and one many can associate with. Wonderful lyrics and great to hear Tony singing this one. As he finished it was obvious something was wrong. Carl approached the mike and announced that the stage sound equipment had blown. Carl looked at the rest of the band; "What are we going to do?" He then explained to the audience what had happened. "We'll give it a go, tell us if we make a mistake" and he introduced Ian for 'Bus Stop'.   

Carl dedicated the next number to his old mate Roy Wood. 'Blackberry Way'. As he got the audience to join in he stepped off the stage to check how it sounded, and put his thumb up to the rest of the band to signal it sounded OK. When the song ended Carl announced "We don't give up like Girls Aloud and all that rubbish. We'll carry on". They did, with 'Carrie Ann' 'I Can Hear The Grass Grow', 'The Air That I Breathe', 'Stop,Stop,Stop' and 'Tiger Feet', the latter having the fan club (and others) rushing to the stage to dance and clap. I don't know about everyone else, but by this time I am usually reaching a frenzy, a rush of energy from out of the blue. The blood must rush to my head as I often feel light headed. Thank God then for 'He Ain't Heavy', so I can sit down before I fall.   

Finally, the band gathered together at the centre mike to sing one verse of 'It's In Every One Of Us'. Words that will have meaning to anyone who has been through an ordeal of any kind. A truly beautiful verse, and a wonderful way to end a show. Tears welled in my eyes, not just due to the lyrics, but to the end of another show.  The whole place was on its feet and applauding long after the band had left the stage.  

These concerts have been a life saver to me. I was going through deep depression when I found the Hollies again after many years of absence. Every show takes me back to the days as a teenager when life was kinder and I hadn't undergone all the heartache and pain life can throw at you. For two and a half hours I'm 16 again, with no worries or pain. I owe these guys so much. I would like to thank Carl for keeping them going, preferably for the rest of my life. All we need is the air that we breathe and the HOLLIES.     

Review by Rita Kew-Moss

Photo by Helen Macdonald

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