First impressions from the second Procol gig of 2004, only the second with the present line-up:
A slightly longer concert than the one played yesterday in Verona but very similar in the setlist. I wouldn't say the same as far as the venue was concerned: in fact the concert was a gala dinner performed in the Casino of Campione restaurant in front of some, fluctuant, 250 people. Wear of jacket and tie was mandatory.
The band started playing around 10.30 pm with some people still eating. Very unusual atmosphere with – this was my impression – not too many people who came expressly for the concert. After a few songs people started dancing, with high peaks during Homburg and AWSoP. No Italian words during Shine on Brightly (we were at the border with Switzerland!), a very well played Fires (Which Burnt Brightly), the usual strong Simple Sister and a very applauded Salty Dog.
Victims of the Fury was played again (with reference by Gary Brooker to a war we don't want) giving the impression to be now part of the Band repertoire. Having now listened to the Trower version, I'm now able to surely confirm that it's a completely different song, slow and much more piano oriented (PH style) than guitar oriented, as it's the case for the RT version. I can't tell anything about the words, as it's the first time I hear the lyrics.
Again not many organ-based songs but, surely, an improving Josh Phillips considered that (as mentioned by Gary during the concert) he only joined the band last Monday morning.
(thanks, Stefano Ciccioriccio)
I had the opportunity to attend the show which unfortunately had to be shortened due to the fact that it was held in a Casino and people "had to spend money" on slot machines, roulettes and so on !
The band went down well but it was clear enough from the "real" audience of fans that Gary in particular was feeling uncomfortable at times, playing in front of elderly jewelled tarts who knew nothing about the music at all !
Anyway, I get the honour to be introduced to Gary in the backstage and to get a copy of A Salty Dog personally signed.
He's really a gentleman and a true person; unfortunately I had not the opportunity to express my deepest gratitude for what he's done with his music over the years, since some journalists friends of mine kept on pestering him a bit about same sort of so-called musical issue, but that's how it works! No time for sentimental issues!
I wanted to tell him that in my humble opinion he is arguably one of the most impressive and outstanding artist of modern music and unfortunately his contributions sometimes are underrated by the bloody media. I wish he could get to know that from this note, and I wanted to ask him, if he has considered lately to record a solo album with a little help from his longtime VIP friends, including the likes of McCartney, Clapton and many others ... maybe he could get some deservedly wider "commercial" recognition from a bigger audience.
Thank you Gary, every time I listen to Salty Dog I cannot but shed a tear of true joy; your music reconnects with the very Divine Self.
(Thanks, Paolo Pigni)
Procol Harum concerts in 2004: index page