Gary Brooker, claiming to have a bit of a cold, sounded great and hit all the high notes with power to spare. The rhythm section was lively and tight – to be expected, throughout their incarnations Procol Harum has always been a musically immaculate operation – while guitarist Geoff Whitehorn and organist Josh Phillips added coloration and emotional depth.
The only variation from the tour's standard setlist was the substitution of Cerdes with a mellower piano-based song I did not recognise. Gary Brooker gave the song a spoken introduction, but the cheers and whistles of the enthusiastic crowd made it hard for me to hear.
The band received two standing ovations, after A Salty Dog and A Whiter Shade of Pale. They closed with a rousing rendition of Conquistador that earned cascades of applause while the band departed.
In all, a wonderful and unforgettable night. My wife and I were talking over drinks prior to the performance and I realised I'd been a fan of Procol Harum since 1972, so one could say I've been waiting forty years for this concert. And I'm pleased to say it was well worth it.
Procol dates in 2012