Hollies' show of two halves
THIS week in 1979 saw The Hollies performing at the Colston Hall for the first time in over a decade – and there to see them was the Post's chief music critic, James Belsey.
"It's been 11 years since The Hollies last played the Colston Hall – and it has been a very long time, too, since I saw such a near disaster turn into such a triumph.
"The Hollies were awful in the first half of the concert, and you could only wonder how on earth they had managed to become the group with the most hit singles to their credit, including The Beatles and the Stones.
"They fidgeted, made bad jokes, messed a string of good Hollies hits into a shambles of a medley, and played new material with no conviction at all.
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"And then at half-time, they somehow took themselves by the scruff of the neck, became a group at last and began to deliver the goods.
"End-of-pier summer season hack jobs sprang into life and by the time they were into their final numbers The Hollies were in full flight.
"They even managed to look emotionally moved by the experience – and you can't ask any more from a rock band, whether vintage, early 1960s, or latter day new wavers.
"I was really delighted with the band by the time their second encore was into its stride.
"It's true that they need some new, and better material, these days but its also true that once their adrenalin is pumping they're a thoroughly good band, not just a set of has-beens."
Also on stage at the Colston Hall this March week in 1979 was Bad Company, a band who had first got together six years previously.
"Bad Company, doyens of the no-nonsense, punchy school of rock, returned from a lengthy absence with a deafening blockbuster of a show last night," wrote James Belsey.
"While they have been away in self- imposed exile New Wave has arrived – and stayed – but Bad Company carry on regardless.
"Cornerstone of the band is Paul Rodgers, a singer of such strength that even the band's greatest detractors – and I'm not one of them – must admit that he is one of the UK's greatest prizes.
"He has a cutting edge, a straight delivery and a directness which seems to make musical fashion quite irrelevant.
"It's just a pity that he seems to sing almost identical material to that which he was delivering many years ago when he was with Free – and the early years of Bad Company – but you can't have everything.
"I really do wish, however, that the band had turned the volume down a little – it was ear splitting.
"Styles may change, but the Bad Company success story goes on."