Symphony Hall, Birmingham, 21st March 2003

On stage in Birmingham - photo by Helen Macdonald

Set List

Long Cool Woman / Here I Go Again / Jennifer Eccles / Yes I Will / Look Through Any Window / Sandy / Listen to Me / Butterfly / I’m Alive / I Can't Let Go /  Fire Brigade / We’re Through / On a Carousel / Blowin’ In the Wind

How Will I Survive / Sorry Suzanne / Just One Look / The Baby / Soldiers 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 Ain’t Heavy / It’s In Every One of Us

“Grabbed by the Hollies!” - Review by Tony Wadsworth BBC Radio WM

When Allan Clarke quit the Hollies and retired, the future of one of the music industrys most prolific and creative groups of the sixties was in doubt. Renowned for their tight close harmonies, it was Clarke who was lead singer on most of their countless hits over the years. Who could ever replace him?

Step forward Carl Wayne.

It’s three years since Wayne was asked to join the Hollies and thanks to his incredible voice and range, the band are alive and well forty years after hitting the road and the big time. There are but two of the original members remaining comprising of the ever-youthful Tony Hicks on lead guitar and the dynamic Bobby Elliott on drums. The line-up today comprises of Ray Stiles ex-Mud on bass, Alan Coates on guitar Ian Parker keyboards and Carl Wayne.

Last night (21/3/03) at the Symphony Hall, the Hollies took Birmingham by storm. For Carl it was a triumphant return to his home city. He was superb. Having enjoyed a string of hits with the Move in the sixties, his most recent and possibly greatest success is a return to full health after undergoing major surgery towards the back end of last year. Tour dates had to be scrapped and eventually rearranged – but the wait was worth it.  

The enthusiastic crowd

All the old hits were there; 'Here I go Again'…'Bus Stop'….'On a Carousel' and many more besides – the best part of thirty or more songs in total – including two or three old favourites from Carl’s days with the Move. 'Fire Brigade', 'Blackberry Way' and a rousing version of 'I Can Hear the Grass Grow'.  Not to be outdone, bassist Ray Stiles relived the sound of the seventies with a storming rendition of 'Tiger Feet'.

Grown men (including me) were playing “air” guitar as Tony Hicks let rip with some incredible solos. Carl Wayne demonstrated his versatility playing keyboards in one number and injected good humour by amending the words of “Yes I Will” to include the line: “I’ll be true to Sue yes I will….” – a reference to his wife actress Sue Hanson.  By the end of the show, the Symphony Hall audience were on their feet (including wife Julie and yours truly) some dancing in the aisles applauding loudly and shouting for more.

I was grabbed by the Hollies at a very early age! The first time was back in the sixties when the likes of Graham Nash graced the original line-up.

The next time someone tells you there’s no replacement for originality – tell them to go see the Hollies in concert. 

Here they go again - Review by Tony Collins, Birmingham Post and Mail

Huge thanks are undoubtedly due to the surgeon who ensured that the Hollies finally kept their Birmingham engagement.  

Ex-Move singer and city-boy born and bred, Carl Wayne, has returned better than ever, following a successful throat operation last year.  

The surgery led to last November’s planned Symphony Hall concert being cancelled. But the Hollies’ 40th anniversary tour is now firmly on track with a flourish.  

Carl, who replaced Allan Clarke three years ago, was in splendid voice from the opening Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress and Here I Go Again.  

Other hits continued to flow throughout the next two hours, from lesser known offerings such as Listen to Me and The Baby to number ones I’m Alive and Can’t Let Go. Special cheers were reserved for the likes of The Air That I Breathe, Bus Stop, and He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother. 

 Photos by Helen Macdonald

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