The Hollies 2005, 2006 and 2007
After the sad loss of Carl Wayne, The Hollies were once again left without a lead singer, and with a somewhat uncertain future. The band decided to continue and Peter Howarth was announced as the replacement lead singer in October 2004. Unlike Carl Wayne, Peter was not a household name, having enjoyed a career as a session singer, work in theatre and as backing singer for Cliff Richard. Although I didn’t realise it at the time, I’d seen Peter in concert once or twice, most notably as one of the singers in The Who’s Quadrophenia show in Hyde Park. The first chance I got to see Peter Howarth perform with The Hollies was at a free concert one Summer Sunday afternoon in South Shields Bents Park in August 2005. I went with David to this gig which was a shortened set and very much a greatest hits show. Peter delivered the songs well and it was clear that The Hollies were very much back in business. The first full Hollies concert I saw with Peter Howarth was at Sunderland Empire in 2006. I then saw the band twice in 2007, at Harrogate Centre and at the Sage Gateshead. Peter has fitted well within the band, bringing his own personality to the performance. As well as an excellent singer he is also an accomplished guitarist, which has allowed The Hollies to experiment with new arrangements of some of the songs. In particular, Peter often performs a very different acoustic solo version of Can’t Tell the Bottom From the Top. I’ve seen the Hollies a few times since 2007 at the Sage Gateshead, and have already written on those gigs. I continue to enjoy The Hollies in concert and can’t get enough of those old songs. Typical setlist from recent Hollies show: Here I Go Again; Just One Look; Stay; I Would Fly; Bus Stop; On A Carousel; The Baby; Sandy (Acoustic); Then Now Always (Dolphin Days); We’re Through; Blowin’ In The Wind; Long Cool Woman. Interval. I Can’t Let Go; Jennifer Eccles; Sorry Suzanne; Yes I Will; One Way Ticket; I’m Alive; Look Through Any Window; I Can’t Tell The Bottom From The Top (Acoustic Solo); Listen To Me-Hey Willy-Gasoline Alley Bred; Weakness; Lucille; Carrie Anne; Stop Stop Stop; The Air That I Breathe; Encores: He Ain’t Heavy; Let Love Pass. Thanks to John who sent me the old 60s programme pictured here. Now thats a concert I wish I had attended 🙂
Archive for the ‘The Hollies’ Category
The Hollies 2005, 2006 and 2007
The Hollies Sunderland Empire 2003
The Hollies returned to Sunderland Empire in 2003. By now I was getting used to seeing Carl Wayne in the lead vocal spot. I went with David and we both enjoyed the gig. Drummer Bobby Elliott described Carl as “a fearless performer and powerhouse singer”. Sadly Carl played his last concert with the Hollies on 10 July 2004 in Norway. Shortly afterwards he was admitted to hospital for tests, where he was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer and he passed away a few weeks later, aged 61. The Hollies were once again left without a singer, and an uncertain future, but the band again decided to continue, this time with the introduction of a less known vocalist Peter Howarth. I’ll write tomorrow of my first concert experiences with that particular line-up of the Hollies. Setlist: 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. Interval. 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.
The Hollies Sunderland Empire 2001
The Hollies decided to continue when Allan Clarke retired, and the replacement was announced as being Carl Wayne, the 60s pop star who had been front man in the Move, and had also been an actor in the midlands soap Crossroads. I wasn’t sure how well this would wrk at first, but had to go along to see the band and find out how Carl shaped up. The first chance we got to see the Hollies with Carl was when they visited the Sunderland Empire theatre in 2001. I went along with Marie, and as soon as Carl took to the stage with the Hollies it was clear that he was an excellent choice as lead vocalist and front man. He was an experienced professional and had the stage presence and professionalism to take on the role. His singing was also excellent and suited the Hollies songs. The set consisted of the usual hits, along with favourites Soldier Song, Butterfly, The Baby, and Too Young to be Married. Covers included Blowing in the Wind from the Hollies sing Dylan album which brought back memories of seeing the band play that track during a Hollies TV special in the 60s, Peggy Sue Got Married from their Buddy Holly album which featured the band singing and playing along with the voice of Buddy Holly, and Blackbird by the Beatles. The arrival of Carl Wayne in the band also allowed the band to extend their set further, including a couple of Move tracks Flowers in the Rain, and my favourite Blackberry Way. They went a step further (and possibly a step to far :)) and included Tiger Feet from bass player Ray Stiles’ old band Mud. A great show, the Hollies proving that they were very much still a great live active, and Carl Wayne acquitting himself well. Setlist: I’m Alive; Here I Go Again; Jennifer Eccles; Just One Look; On a Carousel; Soldier Song; Bus Stop; Flowers in The Rain; Butterfly; I Can’t Let Go; The Baby; Blowing In The Wind. Interval. Stay; Sorry Suzanne; Yes I Will; Look Through Any Window; Peggy Sue Got Married; Blackbird; We’re Through; Too Young to be Married; Carrie Anne; Stop Stop Stop; The Air That I Breathe; Blackberry Way; Tiger Feet; Long Cool Woman In a Black Dress. Encore: He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother; It’s In Every One Of Us. The last encore was It’s In Everyone Of Us, a David Pomeranz song which featured in the Dave Clark musical Time, and was recorded by the Hollies on their album 5317704 (hOLLIES upside down in digital number view). Ray, Carl and Tony performed the song a cappella with Bobby standing behind looking on, which was a great end to the set. The band have continued to end their set in a similar way with an a cappella version of the song Let Love Pass. “It’s in everyone of us, To be wise, Find your heart, Open up both your eyes, We can all know everything, Without ever knowing why, It’s in everyone of us, By and by and…”
The Hollies Sunderland Empire in the 90s
The Hollies toured quite regularly in the 80s and 90s often calling at Sunderland Empire theatre. By 1991 the line up had stabilised to original members Allan Clarke (vocals), Tony Hicks (guitar) and Bobby Elliott (drums), alongside Alan Coates (vocals, guitar), Ray Stiles (ex-Mud, bass) and Ian Parker (keyboards). Stiles and Parker remain in the band to this day. The set during those days continued to focus on the many hits, alongside a few albums tracks and covers. Towards the end of the 90s it was widely reported that Allan Clarke’s wife was very ill with cancer, and he missed a few shows. John Miles stepped in at short notice and covered for Alan at a handful of shows (now that would have been interesting to see), and some shows were postponed and rescheduled. The Sunderland Empire show in 1999 was one gig which was affected. I received a call on the night of the show to tell me that it wasn’t happening. However it was rescheduled shortly afterwards. I went with David and I remember them playing After The Fox from the film of the same name, complete with Peter Sellers’ voice, which amused David. The Hollies continued to be professional and perfection itself in concert, playing all those great songs to sold out crowds. At the end of the tour Allan Clarke announced his retirement from the Hollies. It was generally felt that the band would find it difficult to continue without their lead vocalist. However, continue they did and in 2000 Alan was replaced by 60s star Carl Wayne of the Move. I saw the band a couple of times with Carl, and I’ll write on those gigs next. The Hollies setlist from 1999 was: Here I go again; Jennifer Eccles; Just one look; Sandy (Springsteen cover); Stay; After the fox; Bus stop; Running through the night (the B side of I’m Alive), Not that way at all (the B side of Sorry Suzanne); Butterfly (this a beautiful sing from the album of the same name. I remember seeing Cilla Black sing this one on her TV show in the 60s!); Im alive, When I’m dead and gone; On a carousel; Interval. I cant let go; Sorry Suzanne; Yes I will; King Midas in reverse; Were through; Peggy Sue got married (from their Buddy Holly album which was their latest at the time); Blackbird (a cover of the Beatles song) ; Look through any window; Carrie Anne; Stop Stop Stop; The air that I breathe; He Aint heavy; Maybe baby / Lets dance (rock n roll medley); Long cool woman.
The Hollies Middlesbrough Town Hall 1985
The next time I saw the Hollies was at Middlesbrough Town Hall with my mate Dave. We had seats right up in the upper gallery. The place was packed and the band put on their usual top class show. As usual there was no support and two sets with an interval in the middle. The Hollies were having a bit of a resurgence in popularity, having hit the charts with the Holliedaze medley and completed a reunion tour of the USA with Graham Nash. A typical Hollies set in the 80s consisted of a selection of the hits: I Can’t Let Go; Just One Look; Bus Stop; On a Carousel; Look Through Any Window; Stop Stop Stop; Carrie Anne; Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress. They would also play some great album tracks such as the ballad Soldier’s Song (written by Mike Batt), Too Young to be Married (written and sung by guitarist Tony Hicks) and The Baby which was a single from the short period when Mikael Rickfors replaced Alan Clarke on vocals. The set would also feature a few covers including excellent versions of Springsteen’s Sandy and Prince’s Purple Rain. The last couple of songs would always be (of course) The Air That I Breathe and He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother. Great stuff.
The Hollies Newcastle Mayfair 1984
I’ve been a big fan of the Hollies since I first heard those great singles in the 60s. Bus Stop was my favourite, but the band produced so many wonderful songs. Hollies Greatest Hits remains one of the album that I continue to play a lot to this day. It wasn’t until 1984, however, that I got to see them in concert. The Hollies played very few concerts in the UK in the 70s, and I certainly can’t remember them coming to the North East, so I was delighted when I spotted posters around Newcastle advertising the Mayfair gig. I went along with a friend to the Mayfair, looking forward to hearing all the old hits. In some ways The Mayfair was a strange venue for the Hollies to play, as it was usually host to heavy rock nights. For the Hollies the venue was transformed into a cabaret club, complete with older audience and chicken in the basket suppers. There was lots of dancing along to the hits (but not by us I am afraid 🙂 ). At the time of this gig the Hollies had just released a version of the Supremes Stop In the Name of Love, from the album What Goes Around, and the line-up featured original members Allan Clarke on vocals, Tony Hicks on guitar, and Bobby Elliott on drums, along with Alan Coates on guitar, Steve Stroud – bass, and Denis Haines on keyboards. The set featured all the hits, and the band were just great. Since that gig I have seen the Hollies lots of times, taking every opportunity I can to see them in concert. They never fail to impress me, their musicianship, harmonies and stage show are all just perfect, and they have such a rich back catalogue of songs to draw on. The programme pictured here is probably not from this gig, and is more likely to be from a later gig in the 80s or 90s. I have lots of Hollies programmes, and may not have managed to date them all correctly. I’ll blog more on the Hollies over the next few days.
The Hollies Sage Gateshead 14 April 2012. 50th Anniversary Tour.
Went to see the Hollies again last night at the Sage Gateshead. It’s great to see that they have reached their 50th anniversary. A Hollies concert is exactly that; a concert. It isn’t really a rock gig, and it wouldn’t be fair to class it along the lines of a 60s show, as it is much more than that. This is a band with a great back catalogue, who have continued as a band through several line ups and the loss of key members, in particular Graham Nash and Alan Clarke. New singer Peter Howarth has now been with the band eight years, and is as natural in the lead singer role as anyone could be. The Hollies were they in my childhood years throughout the 60s. I used to buy ex juke box singles from the pub over the road. Bus Stop was one and I played and played it on a little record player. The Hollies may not have the social (or musical) significance of the Stones, The Beatles or The Who, but they were a very important part of the 60s, particularly in the UK. I was in a cheap seat looking down on the stage again. As ever the band were 100% professional and presented us with an evening of classic 60s songs. Tony Hicks still looks great and displays some nifty fret work on his electric sitar during the intro to The Baby and some great banjo on the intro to Stop Stop Stop. Bobby, is the elder statesman on the band and keeps them on all track form the “engine room” (Peter’s term) at the back. Another great show by a band who just keep on going. If I have one criticism it is that the set has remained largely unchanged for the past few years. However, the band have reinterpreted several of the songs, and given them something fresh. Look Through Any Window has been completely rearranged. King Midas in Reverse is sung by Steve Lauri, rather than Peter. Peter performs Can’t Tell the Bottom from the Top alone with an acoustic guitar and gives it new life (he is a really good guitar player). Last night Tony played an acoustic guitar on Bus Stop, and it sounded the best I have heard it for years. They have also added a couple of songs which were hits in Scandinavia, namely Stewball and Very Last Day. Set list: Set 1: The Day That Curly Billy Shot Down Crazy Sam Mcgee; I Can’t Let Go; Jennifer Eccles; Yes I Will; On A Carousel; Then, Now Always; Sandy; King Midas In Reverse; Very Last Day; Emotions; The Baby; Look Through Any Window. Set 2: I’m Alive; Sorry Suzanne; Bus Stop; Stewball; I Can’t Tell The Bottom From The Top (Acoustic); Listen To Me; Here I Go Again; Gasoline Alley Bred; Weakness; Just One Look; Stay; Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress; Carrie Anne; Stop Stop Stop; He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother; The Air That I Breathe; Let Love Pass.