It's been five and a half years, and then some, since Procol Harum graced the stage at Ridgefield Playhouse. While navigating the back roads south of Danbury a very unusual thought crossed my mind. Saxophone. Why -- saxophone? As far as I know there isn't any sax on a Procol recording, and who would ever bring one on stage with them? It just isn't done. What a wacky idea! Bah, perish the thought, just the ol' brain on overload, hoping to find the right way to Ridgefield in the dark. Imagine ... naaaah it's just unimaginable. Isn't it? Hold that thought for later.
Tonight's concert started right on time, Ridgefield's stage now lit by modern LED lamps looking colorful and attractive. From a balcony seat, I'd have to say volume was a little low, the mix a bit tentative at first, but after a while guitar and Gary's voice settled in properly. I have to say, best balance I've yet heard at Ridgefield.
Good mix of songs both old and new. Sure was a treat to hear Homburg, Still There'll Be More, Shine on Brightly as well as get introduced to some newer songs. Geoff spent some time playing what looks like a Les Paul Gold Top but I saw no 'Gibson' on that headstock. No matter. Terrific playing as we have come to expect. Mid set change to what looks like a Paul Reed Smith guitar brought more tones, some dialed up to extra gnarly especially on Businessman.
As the second set wound towards its conclusion, one of the techs brought a music stand to center stage. Gary explained there would be a special guest joining the band, a top-notch musician he had met while touring in 1971, or was it 1972, and then again encountered just a couple of years back when Gary sang during the Winter Solstice Celebration at St John's Cathedral in New York, Ladies and gents, please welcome Paul Winter. Paul walked on stage with his soprano sax -- and history was made! That premonition I had ... who would have guessed, who could have expected anything to come of it. Brilliant combination as they wound up the show with A Salty Dog, Conquistador and A Whiter Shade of Pale.
Let your imagination run wild - ANYTHING can happen. Try to keep it good! Hope
we don't have to wait 5+ years for another local Procol Harum concert. All the
best - from a 50+ year satisfied listener.