Procol Harum, Birmingham Town Hall [28 February 1977]
Procol Harum's music is a dedicated assault on the senses. A battery of electronic gadgetry and a stageful of instruments sets the scene, a light show adds atmosphere, and five incredibly talented musicians complete the picture.
They have two levels of playing – as loud as they can, and louder than that. But everything is calculated to set the adrenaline pumping, the ears ringing and the feet stamping.
Last night they began slowly. A small but attentive audience could only muster lukewarm applause. And they were probably right. But as the strains of Grand Hotel died away and crescendo piled upon crescendo in The Worm and the Tree, so the acclaim became louder and livelier.
The dynamic blend of guitarist Mick Grabham and organist Pete Solley (also a knockout on the fiddle) forms the basis of the Procol brand of orchestral rock. It could be just the thing to re-enliven a static music scene.
Support band Heron, led by former Incredible String Band member Mike Heron, played a pleasing and lively set and proved a more than capable warm-up act. No doubt about it they're on their way up.