Procol Harum

Beyond
the Pale 

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Numerous gigs remembered

Harry Salzberg


Harry Salzberg writes to BtP

Seals and Crofts opened ... the two sat on bar stools and played their folk tunes ... I hadn't heard Procol since Atlantic City, 1969 ... that concert had been mostly the restrained Salty Dog songs, although I do remember Repent Walpurgis as the sun and Trower's guitar cracked through the clouds ...

But at the NY Fillmore June 1970 it was time for Home ... I hadn't heard any of the new songs because the album wasn't released yet in the US ... the band was introduced by Mr Graham, "Always a pleasure - Procol Harum" ... then it began ... all I remember now are the flashing lights to the power of Dead Man's Dream and Whaling Stories ... BJ and Trower were at their finest ... it was the last time I saw Trower with the band ... BJ's thunder was still there in Honolulu 1971, but the lightning was gone ...

That concert was opened by deafening Humble Pie ... there was no seating ... Gary commented that they weren't really a dance band but would 'give it a shot' ... most of the songs were from Broken Barricades, although they did close with In Held 'Twas in I ... it just wasn't the same without Robin ...

In Philly in '91 at the Tower Theater I was so excited to hear the band live again I had gotten over Trower not being there even though he recorded on the Prodigal Stranger release ... I had said to myself many times during the band's absence that if I had three wishes, one of them would be to have them get back together ... and in Philly in '93 they opened for Jethro Tull at the Mann Theater ... this performance was not as strong as '91 ... even though As Strong as Samson finished the set ...

But in Richmond, VA, '95, I finally got to say hello to Gary ... he was up alone on the stage setting up and I said to him, "Are you Gary Brooker?" ... after he admitted to that, I said, "I've been waiting 30 years to say hello to you" ... He replied, "I haven't been playing music with this band for thirty years!" ...

My sister asked where his Steinway piano was, commenting on the electric piano he was using ... Gary said, "I don't bring my Steinway to Richmond, VA", and my sister replied, "I don't bring mine to London either" ... Gary was kind enough then to let me have my picture taken on stage with him ... I introduced my seven year-old daughter to him with her nickname, 'Wiggle' ... he thought that was colorful ...

And then as he went into the hotel to get ready for the show, I asked Gary if he'd like to take a swim ... that was out of the question ... after the concert, which featured Whaling Stories, the band appeared to leave by limousine ... but I said out loud, 'They're circling around to the hotel' ... I rushed back to the hotel and met the band just as they were going up the elevator ...

I had Gary sign a poem my sister had written many years ago about Procol Harum, and then called it a great night ... and in Redhill, everything came back into focus, even without the two important original members ... my son and I went over for the weekend and will always remember that reunion ...


Harry draws our attention to his Procol-like composition, Tiger Bay. He adds, 'I would like to dedicate and offer this song to Gary Brooker, whose melodies have meant so much to me over the past 35 years.'

In 2015 he added, 'What drove me to write instrumentals was the lack of melody and the surplus of verbiage in today's music...I just got tired of listening to problems set to rhythm...I'm a drummer by trade, having played in bands beginning at college...but I bought a small casio keyboard, composed 24 songs and then recorded them live on to an Apple computer. I then decided to contact a studio musician in Nashville, Jamey Whiting, who produced and recorded my songs with a live rock band -- keyboards, guitar, bass, and drums. Hear and watch the music here


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