The Hollies came to Wolf Trap Saturday night and proved that old beat groups don't die, they just add a fog machine, a couple of synthesizers and keep on harmonizing. With Graham Nash joining the other original members for the first time in 15 years, this seminal pop group rambled through its extensive catalogue of chart successes with an exhilarating sense of pop verve.
The crowd roared its approval as Nash, Allan Clarke and Tony Hicks recreated the intense high harmonies and bright instrumentation that rendered pop vignettes such as "Carrie Ann" and "Bus Stop" some of the most effervescent musical moments of the '60s. Clark's distinctive tenor was especially impressive on the grandiose "The Air That I Breathe." Less impressive was the band's new material, mostly undistinguished radio rock pumped full of lyrical melodrama and orchestral splashes of synthesizer.
The evening's highlight was a brief accoustic set that allowed the band's sharp harmonies to unfold in unadorned splendor. Nash sang the delicately artsy "King Midas in Reverse," and then all three joined in for an engaging version of "Teach Your Children." It seemed this charming and cheerful British musicians just wanted to prove they could sing impeccable rings around Nash's ex-partners, Crosby and Stills, and they did.