The Hollies live at The Brighton Centre – 28 May 2022
The Hollies back in Brighton. Two hour set of classics and newer releases. It was a stunning evening. Good news is, the music still dazzles.
The Hollies are a British rock and pop band, formed in 1962. One of the leading British groups of the 1960s and into the mid 1970s, they are known for their distinctive three-part vocal harmony style. Allan Clarke and Graham Nash founded the band as a Merseybeat-type music group in Manchester, although some of the band members came from towns further north in East Lancashire. Graham Nash left the group in 1968 to form Crosby, Stills & Nash.
They enjoyed considerable popularity in many countries (with at least 60 singles or EPs and 26 albums charting somewhere in the world, spanning over five decades) although they did not achieve major US chart success until “Bus Stop” was released in 1966. The group went on to have periodic success on both sides of the Atlantic over the next decade with hits such as “Stop Stop Stop” (1966), “On a Carousel” (1967), “Carrie Anne” (1967), “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” (1969), “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” (1972) and “The Air That I Breathe” (1974). Overall, the Hollies had over 30 charting singles on the UK Singles Chart. More hits than the Beatles if I recall correctly.
The Hollies – The Band
Tony Hicks – vocals / lead guitar, top drummer Bobby Elliott on drums. These two guys are from the original line up. Peter Howarth on vocal duties and acoustic guitar, Ray Stiles on bass, still loving those Tiger Feet. Steve Lauri on guitar and vocals and, finally, Ian Parker was on a variety of keyboards and tambourine.
The set tonight was to be split in two sections and with no support tonight was going to be all about The Hollies. A video screen came to life showing memorable moments from the bands history, including some great B&W photos from a Poll Winners event from way back.
This, their 60th Anniversary 2022 tour sees the usual format of the two-hour show. After the video showing the band’s history, The Hollies took to the stage at The Brighton Centre with an opener King Midas In Reverse.
I think you might struggle to find anyone who has not heard of The Hollies! The packed in all seated crowd, made up of a wide range in age groups, clearly know these guys and love them judging by the welcome they received.
The band powered through some of the biggest hits Can’t Let Go / Jennifer Eccles / Sorry Suzanne / On A Carousel. A loud wolf whistle via the speakers and the crowd accompanied Jennifer Eccles. Great fun, and thanks to the fella behind me for whistling into my left ear! I think his effort was the loudest by far! Deafening!
I Can’t Tell The Bottom From The Top / Just One Look / Stay and Look Through Any Window were in the next hits segue. Fabulous. That distinctive three-part vocal harmony style was sublime and filled the venue. Not a dropped note anywhere to be found. Pin point precision was the order of the day both vocally and instrumentally. I had never seen these guys live before. I am more of your rock music listener, but I was really enjoying this, and I knew most of the songs played tonight. It was brilliant to just be there and soaking up the sounds and atmosphere.
Between the songs we would have some on stage banter or Peter would provide an over view of the song just played or the next song coming up. Fascinating for me as I had not heard any of this before. These guys played and kindled a love for their sounds for me. This material never seems to get old, and it all sounded fresh and exciting. The guys seemed to be really enjoying the performance and that seemed to rub off on the crowd.
Bobby Elliott, the stylish drummer under his wide brimmed cowboy hat shines with class and a high level of craftsmanship. On lead guitar Tony Hicks continues to amaze, entertain and dazzle the crowd. His vocals are strong and we were treated to a couple of sections involving him playing an electric sitar, or maybe a banjo kind of thing. I hope I got that right! The bass from former Mud player Ray Stiles was solid, although he did tend to stay to the back of the stage. Come on Ray, we would love to see you more up front!
Tonight everything was bright, tight and unique. It is The Hollies after all! The guys left the stage for a short break.
Best of all, this material still has that sparkle. It unified the crowd as we all joined in when we could. The Hollies reached out and engaged with the crowd. It was just damn good fun to be there! It was when legendary drummer Bobby Elliott stepped away from his kit to have a chat with us as he reminisced that provided some real emotion and memories.
it was clear to see that The Hollies are still enjoying the performing aspect. That is impressive by any ones standards after sixty years! Long may The Hollies continue. After all these years you got a new fan, me!
The guys came out for part two.
Here I Go Again / Yes I Will / Bus Stop / I’m Alive / The Baby and Sandy, which was a Bruce Springsteen song. Never seeing them live before, I was amazed that I knew every song played so far in part two, apart from The Baby!
Carrie Anne / Stop, Stop, Stop / He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother were up next. Showstoppers every one of those, but the sublime He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother was nailed down. It was so good, it was like listening to the actual record.
Click on photo to enlarge
All good things come to a close I guess, and so the final two songs were started up for an encore. That searing guitar note heralded the always intensely moving The Air That I Breathe and that was followed by a stunning version of Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress.
The Hollies gave it all tonight, It was varied from the all out I’m Alive, to the more soulful Just One Look, and the thumper Yes I Will. They are all great tunes and pop songs. Others included the toe tapping versions of Bus Stop, Carrie-Anne, and (audience participation of those whistles) I Love Jennifer Eccles. They are all historic songs etched into 1960s music history. The songs are very much still alive. Happy Days!
The Hollies are on the web here.
Thanks to The Hollies
Thanks to Peter Howarth for striking the poses! The ladies sitting around me all I asked if I knew the band as you played for the camera. Brilliant stuff and one of the reasons I love to do what I do.
Thanks to the wonderful promotion team, and thank you for the ticket.
Thanks to The Brighton Centre
Thanks to the Brighton and Hove News Music team.
Words and Pictures: Ian Bourn
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