Procol Harum

the Pale 

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Procol Harum at Silkeborg, Denmark

Michael Lundsgaard in Midtjyllands Avis, 10 June 2002

It may seem a trifle 'indelukket' of us to publish this underwhelmed review of Procol Harum's concert at Indelukket, Silkeborg, but it can be instructive for the avid Paler to get an insight into the mind of the ordinary music-fan. This oddly ageist review (kindly sent to BtP by Niels-Erik Mortensen) is hung up on the prospect of hearing AWSoP, and regards even a thrilling A Salty Dog as a mere means of beguiling the time until the famous hit is played; its comments about Procol being largely forgotten are also curious, given that the band plays Denmark more than any other country, and was to give a cracking performance to a packed club in Copenhagen the following night.

Songs from a former era

It was a nostalgic occasion when Procol Harum, and Kim Larsen and Kjukken, played in Indelukket this Saturday.

And while Larsen mixed of Gasolin songs (songs from his famous former band) among others, Procol's concert in many periods was too static.

Here you see the singer and piano player Gary Brooker, who founded the group in 1967.


This was the taster on the front page of the newspaper, referring readers to the rest of the feature in another part of the publication

Songs from, and for, the book of oblivion
Kim Larsen impressed with a varied show, while part of Procol Harum's concert was better forgotten ...

Kim Larsen really took Silkeborg Saturday. From early afternoon when he sat enjoying the sun ... until the small hours in the bar at the "Hjorten" restaurant, where he even was even to hear a Larsen / Gasolin medley, probably in honour of this special guest, even though he didn't look very excited about this treat. He was obviously surrounded by the ladies of the night, none of whom succeeded in luring him into a dance. [Much of the article is about Kim Larsen, who was evidently enjoyed much more by the reviewer than he was by the audience, whom BtP noted to be relatively lukewarm about his set, which had overtones of Euro-pop, while many were hankering for his glory-days Gasolin material. So we cut now to the Procol content ...]

Too long between the 'snapsene' [small strong Danish drinks, used to toast the highlights] in Procol Harum's concerts. But it also had its moments.

Old men
And so it turned out that there still would be a while before we got to hear A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum, as Larsen so kindly had promised us. And we could not help but feel that this English "headliner" was an anticlimax after Kim Larsen's energetic and out-going performance.
For even though they must be at about the same age as the main men in this group, old men Gary Brooker and Matthew Fisher didn't look or sound like he did. OK, they did warm up after a while, only to lapse back into somnambulistic mode. But once in a while, the nostalgia drifted nicely away, for the sound of Brooker's voice and Fisher's organ made us remember those days about a hundred years ago, when Procol Harum topped the charts. And when Brooker said that: "I was married a long while ago ..." just before A Whiter Shade of Pale the expectations about hearing this song  rose again. But that's not the way it was going to be, even though songs like Still There'll Be More and A Salty Dog had a thrilling effect on the body and could hasten the waiting-time by. And then suddenly they said goodnight - still without having played  A Whiter Shade of Pale. For that reason we applauded of course as maniacs to get an encore, because then we would surely get it. But no, at least not the first extra number, but then finally it came - at the very end. And it even sounded just as wonderful as at that time. Beautiful, seducing, and here it was again, that the tears was about to come - for the second time that night.

"Thank you, Silkeborg. We love you, hope too [sic] see you again."

No thanks, it will not be this way for me, Gary Brooker, for too much of your concert this night was unfortunately best forgotten.

The singer and piano player Gary Brooker still had his voice from "that time", and when we finally got A Whiter Shade of Pale as the last encore, it was more than difficult to keep a dry eye. Matthew Fisher's organ was supposedly almost as old as the man himself, but then it also had that outstanding sound of old times.

The disappointingly small audience [the amphitheatre was full ...] could also be proof that Procol Harum is also forgotten by most people. It was 1,500 people, and music-consultant Lars Boeberg, from the arranger in Silkeborg KFUM, was not very satisfied by this. 'For me it was deep nostalgic, but it may be that the people that heard Procol Harum in the old days have forgotten to go to town', as he said after the concert that will probably end up as an economic loss for the sports-club.

Trans. JAR

Procol Harum concerts in 2002: index page

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