Guild Hall, Preston, 26th March 2003

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

Short Version: Fan-Wonderfully-Tastic!

Long Version:  The moment I stepped into the Guild Hall, I knew that the concert was going to be a huge success!  I'd been lucky to meet 5 out of 6 Hollies before the show- I'll have to arrive earlier to catch Tony next time- and I'd found all the members very friendly.

As soon as the house lights dimmed, intro music to the concert played and I was able to pick out familiar guitar riffs from some of the earlier Hollies hits. The guys came onto stage to applause and with great energy launched into Long Cool Woman. This was well received as were the "wall- to-wall hits" that followed. The guitar solos, although mostly played by Tony and some by Alan, were wonderful. The guys were on top form and Carl swang his microphone so many times I was sure he was going to drop it, but he never did! Carl's humour and jokes were great, he connected very well with the audience and is a brilliant front man for the group. When Carl, Ian and Bobby left the stage, we were treated to Listen to Me and Gasoline Alley Bred by Tony, Alan and Ray. I was blown away by the acapella introduction to Listen to Me.

Some of the bandís lesser known hits in Europe were played including Blowin' In The Wind. This was fantastic as was The Baby with Tony's electric sitar pulling the audience into the music.

Alan Coates' Butterfly was perfect. I quite enjoy Graham Nash's version but watching Alan perform this song with complete control over the audience was fantastic.

The audience were also treated to Tony's banjo work. I had never heard such wonderful banjo playing in all my life! We were treated to a very energetic version of Stop Stop Stop. It's a shame no-one danced because I'm sure that's what was expected of the audience.  Speaking of the audience, they were asked to participate during Blackberry Way as Carl held out his microphone stand trying to get the audience to sing.  He got a very welcome response to this!

The other musical talents of the band members were shown to the audience.  Ian Parker donned a miners lamp and his piano accordion and wandered through the stalls with it, much to the delight of the audience. Carl Wayne also showed us his skills on the keyboard. 

I know I wonít get away without mentioning Bobby- his drumming was fantastic all through the night as he accompanied the guys with such energy and spirit. I noticed his concentration during Soldier's Song particularly.  As he worked through the various bits of percussion and then onto his drums, he added a very eerie atmosphere to this fantastic song. I also want to add something about the lighting now because that was great and really made the show special, especially during Soldier's Song where the strong reds really emphasised the lyrics.

There were many dedications during the night.  For example, Blackberry Way was dedicated to Roy Wood. One other dedication was of Carrie-Anne to Graham Nash.  As the lighting changed to give a Caribbean feel to the song, the guys played the famous chorus singing their 'doo doo' and then from the audience we could hear Graham's trademark 'Hey Carrie-Anne' top vocal line being played and that really brought a thrill to the song.

Eventually, the crowd was up and dancing during Ray Stiles' singing of Tiger Feet and after such a bouncy tune, came He Ain't Heavy and then It's In Every One of Us.  These got the audience swaying together and many shouts for more. Unfortunately, the band had to leave us at some point!  It was a thoroughly enjoyable night and well worth all the money I paid to come to Preston and see it.  Keep it going guys and I look forward to seeing you all in November!   

Review by P J Harding

Photo by Helen Macdonald

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