Procol Harum in Turku, Finland
8 December 2015 • Peter Cohen for BtP
When I first contemplated the idea of going to Finland, I contacted my
travel agent and explained I needed help arranging my trip to Turku.
Goodness, they said, are you wanting to go to a concert in
Turkey? Even with the similarities in spelling, Boko Haram are not
performing in Turkey, I said: it is Procol Harum in concert in
After this explanation, it turned out to be a remarkably smooth
journey; one plane change in Helsinki and, though December, no
Logomo is a delightful modern venue a stone's throw from Turku railway
station. Even though the Usual Suspects (Webmasters/One-Eye, etc) were not
present, there was not a spare seat to be had in the two-tier
auditorium. Well sold, Chris!
Shortly after 8pm, the crowd hushed, Procol Harum came on stage and we
were off! From the opening bars of Bringing Home the Bacon to the
final notes of A Whiter Shade of Pale nearly three hours later
(including a twenty-minute intermission) we were treated to Procol in top
Gary's voice continues to be as good as ever, Geoff Dunn's solo on
Whisky Train was very crisp and fluent, Dave Colquhoun sounded as
if he was a permanent member of the band and not someone playing his second
gig (this time due to Geoff Whitehorn being unavailable due to a prior
commitment). I'm pleased to say DC had recovered from his broken leg and so
was able to move round the stage unaided, without the crutches
required at the Dominion last year. I had therefore seen both his first two
gigs with the band, but sadly not the third at Tampere, due the following
day. Matt and Josh displayed their usual exemplary professional expertise,
contributing to the Procol sound that has only got better with age.
At the interval I spoke to a few of those present, some of whom had
travelled over 100km to be there. They were thoroughly enjoying the evening
and felt so privileged to be present to hear a band still at the top of
their game, less than 18 months away from the Fiftieth Anniversary of
when it all started.
Gary's repartee between the songs is an entertainment in itself. In Turku,
he was in excellent form and dealt with requests, shouted from the
audience, in his normal inimitable style. They should know that such
requests are invariably never played! For example, tonight,
cries for Conquistador were ignored, so – very rarely for a
Procol concert in the modern era – it was not played. Gary actually
challenged one persistent member of the audience to a bout of arm wrestling
afterwards ... only with knives!! He also announced that Procol Harum were
from England, not Wales, not Northern Ireland and definitely not
Scotland! Fading hopes, I'm afraid Charlie, of a future concert
north of the border!
We were indeed privileged to hear the new song [Brooker-written], Suomi.
It is a lovely ballad including plaintive cries of 'I'll be there (for
you)' so I hope it finds its way to be released in some form. You never
know, perhaps on a new album??
The first eight albums were all well represented in the back catalogue played
but there was nothing from Ninth or Something Magic. The
audience had to wait until the encore for A Whiter Shade of Pale but
were then treated to the extra 'shore-leave' middle verse. Gary certainly
knows how to send everyone home happy; there really is no better way to end
I've always thought that there is an interesting analogy to Procol in the
world of film. The great actor and director Orson Welles began his directing
career in 1941 with the film Citizen Kane. Over the next seventy
years it was regularly voted by Sight and Sound Magazine as the
greatest film ever made; it was only in 2011 that it was finally overtaken
by Hitchcock's Vertigo. Although Welles directed many superb films
after Citizen Kane, like The Magnificent Ambersons and
A Touch of Evil. they were always compared to Kane and never
got the recognition they deserved.
I think I've heard something similar somewhere else!
Procol dates in 2015 |
Setlist from this show