I had been waiting with some excitement to see this show, mainly to see John Walker being a big fan of the Walker Brother sound. The Dakotas who were on stage for the whole of the show got us off to a good start with a short set that included “Do you want to know a secret”. Then Wayne Fontana presented a very entertaining spot with plenty of jokes as well as the hits like “Pamela, Um Um Um and Groovy Kind of Love”. Next up was Brian Hyland, who I have seen on a few occasions and is a polished performer/ however I felt for some reason he was slightly under par. He delivered “Sealed with a Kiss” and “ Ittsy Bittsy Bikini” well but “Gypsy Woman seemed to end abruptly.
Part two again began with the Dakotas with another short set, “Little Children, Bad to Me” were there but the highlight was a brilliant rendition of Barry Ryan’s “Eloise”. Then to what for me was the highlight of the whole show, John Walker. He walked on stage with a long black coat looking as if he could be the next Dr Who but the first words of “No Regrets” sent shivers down my spine. The wonderful “Make it Easy” soon followed but the highlight of the set for me was “My Ship is Coming In”. The audience really warmed to John and he seemed to be having a good time. “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine” closed the brilliant performance. Two things did disappoint me, they were that it was the shortest set and that “Lights of Cincinnati” was not included. I hope John now has a taste for it and returns to tour again soon.
Peter Noone closed the show with his usual enthusiastic, relaxed, entertaining and polished performance. He really has the audience in the palm of his hand. They clapped, sang and waved to all his hits included “I’m into Something, Silhouettes, Mrs Brown, No Milk Today as well as many others. The one song finale was Dave Clarke’s, “Glad All Over” which seemed to be almost adlibbed but was a lot of fun. All too soon we were on our way home after a really enjoyable evening. If you have not booked your tickets yet do so soon, it’s worth it to see John Walker alone but you’re guaranteed a great night.
The Hollies Derby 30/04/03 Review by Jeff Martin
I must confess straight away to being a huge fan of The Hollies. However this was my first chance to see the band with Carl Wayne on Lead Vocals. This show on their 40th Anniversary Tour was fantastic. The whole group just ooze talent and after making great music for all this time they must have had a problem choosing what to leave out of the set. One of the many highlights for me was “Wer'e Through” in which we saw a fantastic performance from Ian Parker playing the Piano Accordion while Carl Wayne played keyboards. It was also nice to see “Gasoline Alley Bred back in the show too, not to mention “Stop Stop Stop” with some very fast banjo playing by Tony Hicks. I also enjoyed the three “Move” songs in the show especially “I Can Hear the Grass Grow” which was superb. All this re-enforced my view that Tony Hicks (guitar) and Bobby Elliott (drums) are two of the very best musicians Britain has ever produced. That is to take nothing away from the other band members who are all musicians from the top draw and contribute greatly to the success of a brilliant show. So what of Carl Wayne? Well he is not Alan Clarke, who was missed on certain songs. For instance I was not keen on Carl Wayne’s theatrical arrangement on “The Air That I Breath” but having said that Carl does seem to bring something extra to the Hollies. He has a fantastic sense of humour and there is no doubting his talent as a lead singer. On the whole he blended in superbly well and contributed to making the show even more entertaining... In conclusion if you like music of the sixties and indeed the seventies, you must see the Hollies live. For me they were the best band around in the sixties with that unique sound of great musicians and fantastic close harmonies. As for today well I still think you will be hard pushed to see a better show.