Review: The Hollies in Napier

By Amy Shanks

"Hello Napier!" The Hollies lead singer Peter Howarth roared to a vast crowd at last night's Church Road concert.

The air was electric with anticipation as the first notes rang out across the venue. Would the band sound the same as they did 50 year's ago?

Certainly all the elements were there - smooth, perfectly polished harmonies, toe tapping tunes and immaculate instrumentals.

Even the band themselves were pristine, dressed for the first half of the show in matching crisp white shirts and striped ties, before appearing in an identical set of All Black's rugby jerseys.

Fans wore smiles and adoring looks, though they took a little while to warm up simply tapping their hands and toes to the beat until the third track, Jennifer Eccles, had them singing along and waving their hands in the air.

As the sun dipped behind the hill providing much needed relief from the heat, original guitarist and singer Tony Hicks promised to roll out an evening of entertainment, featuring all the hits.

"We are going to be with you for about two hours and before they're over we are going to do about every hit that we have had over the years," he said.

Any mention of performing "new" songs drew a mass groan from the audience, who were clearly hanging out for those classic tracks.

There was plenty more interaction from the band as the evening wore on.

"I noticed there's a woman in the front row who loves to air guitar, so if you love to air guitar, you will like this next song," Hicks said, launching into an impressive solo of the re-mastered track Look Through any Window.

Everyone appreciated a double dose of nostalgia with Just One Look and Stay , before a 35 minute break saw the boys back on stage, refreshed and ready to tackle their most famous tracks.

The crowd too had a renewed enthusiasm and confidence as daylight faded, jumping to their feet and rushing to the front of the stage for Long Cool Woman (in a black dress), The Air that I Breathe and The Hollies anthem, He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother.

A medley, featuring Hicks alongside bassist and singer Ray Stiles, keyboardist Ian Parker, guitarist/singer Steve Lauri and original drummer Bobby Elliot was also a highlight.

Howarth rounded out the evening, with a tribute to those who turned out to see them perform. "Tonight has been truly special for us," he said.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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