Sunday 24 July 2016
The Prog Stage featured the folksy tumble of sound that The Fierce And The Dead produce, their performance being spirited and at times playful; Blurred Vision distinguished themselves by having a bass player who understands the power of space, a crisp drummer and a personality-driven guitarist and singer, I think from what he said of Iranian descent? A planned interview didn’t happen, but we shall catch up with this group. The singing Strat lines sounded right for a sunny afternoon and they signed off with a variant on Another Brick In The Wall. Headspace were heavy prog rock and turned out to feature our old friend Darby Todd on drums. The Von Hertzen Brothers made a great effort to connect with the audience and succeeded. Hawkwind’s current incarnation were up next and I think we got some good images of the group.
Finally, a band that can play anything and play it well, everyone aboard a master of their instrument and a majestic songbook plus one of the most distinctive characters in the business as lead vocalist, Gary Brooker. Procol Harum tonight deliver the most varied set of all the acts over the weekend with melody at the forefront. An ace in the pack was the guitar of Geoff Whitehorn, swooping, snarling, singing, chugging, imitating seagulls on A Salty Dog. English Garden [sic] was beautiful and tempered, bearing in mind that they had kicked off their show with a gritty blues with rolling piano. Some of the PH numbers have tricky drum parts, but no problem tonight. The noble blast that is Conquistador was delivered with fire and emphasis, one hell of a song. As for Homburg, I remember playing that myself and it had a lot of chords! What on EARTH is that song about? The blues strut of Whisky Train got the audience clapping. While I think of it, the lighting and sound balance for the Procol (open air) set was the best and clearest I have ever experienced at a festival.
Brooker reminisces about some of his favourite music, rolling into a Percy Sledge tune, jazz and then some Bob Marley before seguing off into Whiter Shade of Pale, with room made for a stately and fitting guitar solo. A satisfying, colourful and above all warm set from absolute masters.
Procol dates in 2016 | Setlist