Frontm3n @ The Park Theatre

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The Bavarian city of Augsburg is one of Germany's oldest, with a variety of architecture ranging from medieval guild houses, to an 11th-century cathedral via the onion-domed Sankt Ulrich und Afra Abbey. It sports a key Renaissance building in the Augsburger Town Hall with its Golden Hall, the seat of a wealthy banking dynasty called The Fuggerhaüser, not to mention a 16th-century social housing complex.

Augsburg sits on the Alpine rivers Lech and Wertach and on the Singold. The city forest and the Lech valley heaths rank among the most species-rich middle European habitats. In 1997, it became the first German city to win the Europe-wide contest Entente Florale for Europe's greenest and most liveable city.

On Wednesday 30th November I found myself visiting the Park Theatre. Built in the late 1800's, regarded as a period of industrial expansion in Germany by the Augsburg architect Jean Keller, it was destroyed by fire in 1972. After having been faithfully restored, it was reopened in 1996. The theatre is considered a unique European testimonial of 19-century architecture.

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The reason I made the five-hour train journey from Cologne was to watch something pretty spectacular by anyone's standards. That was the night, Frontm3n rolled into town. The spelling is correct and has two significant meanings. Firstly, there are three of them. Secondly, each one is literally the front man for three of the most iconic UK bands.

Peter Howarth is the lead singer of The Hollies. During his 35 year career he has worked with some of the top names in the business, including Sir Cliff Richard, and The Who. If that isn’t impressive enough, he played the part of Roy Orbison in Bill Kenwright's West End production of Only The Lonely. Peter wrote the musical, Robin Prince of Sherwood for Bill Kenwright, playing the role of The Sheriff of Nottingham.

Pete Lincoln is the lead singer of 70's glam rock superstars, The Sweet. He spent most of the 80's & 90's recording and touring with Sir Cliff Richard, Tina Turner, Shakin' Stevens and Dannii Minogue. Pete was also the front man for another 70's band, Sailor, between the years of 1996 and 2005 – before finally joining The Sweet.

Mick Wilson, the third member of the trio is the lead singer of 10cc. Another impressive CV includes working with Sir Cliff Richard, Lionel Ritchie, Gary Barlow, Cher, and Robin Gibb: Mick was also part of Jeff Lynne's ELO for the concert in London's Hyde Park.

An impressive line up like that simply couldn't fail. From the moment they stepped on stage, kicking off the performance with Bus Stop by The Hollies, to the final song, they had the audience gripped. During the evening they worked as a trio, as well as performing alone, and when you only have a guitar for company, you're up against it.

The hits came thick and fast after the first one: CoCo, Poppa Joe, Fox On The Run and Ballroom Blitz to name but a few from The Sweet. The Things We Do For Love, Rubber Bullets, Donna and I'm Not In Love were all popular tracks for 10cc. Here I Go Again, Sandy: the fabulous rock n roll classic that topped the American charts, Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress, and He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother were all classic Hollies numbers.

The trio also managed to fit in their own compositions, each performing a track from recently recorded solo albums before adding hits by the Big O: You Got It; Cliff Richard: Move It, Carrie and Lucky Lips, and even Glass of Champagne by Sailor. Inbetween the songs, each man had his own inimitable style of repartee and wit, delighting the crowd with a number of interesting showbiz stories. It was two hours of sheer ecstasy lapped up by a warm German audience that obviously knew their seventies music. Accomplished guitar playing, backed up by first class harmonies even The Beach Boys or The Four Seasons would have been proud of, in a beautiful, classical building any city in the world would have been proud to call its own. The sad thing is that all these guys are British but there are no UK dates, only European ones.

Image © Oliver Betke

Should you be fortunate enough to find yourself in Germany – like I was, then do yourself a favour – do not miss the show: ranking as one of the finest performances I have ever seen – and I've seen a few.

Ray Clark (2016)