"The reason that Matthew left? I don’t think there really is a particular one. Probably his inability to adapt to certain circumstances. Life in a rock band presupposes the ability to adapt to uncongenial situations; Matthew can’t demand always to play in places like Wembley. If he’d already left and come back a number of times, it’s certainly no secret. For now we have Josh, who is an excellent organist and has already played with the group. Anyway, nothing’s certain, we’ll see in the future."
That’s how Gary Brooker, 59, the extremely famous English singer and pianist who brought Procol Harum on stage at Campione’s Salone delle Feste del Casinò last Saturday, describes the most recent exit (on 17 of June last year) of Matthew Fisher, the original organist who in 1967 was one of the creators of A Whiter Shade of Pale, among the most famous songs of all time and who has immediately been replaced by Josh Phillips.
Brooker, lauded by legendary colleagues like Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, and other ‘divinities’, and recently invested by Queen Elizabeth with the MBE (Member of [the Order of the] British Empire) goes on doing what he does best: singing, in a distinguished way, here at Campione too.
The songs An Old English Dream, Shadow Boxed, and The VIP Room from the latest album The Well’s on Fire stand alongside the classics Grand Hotel, A Salty Dog, Homburg, Shine On Brightly, and Conquistador, and the less well-known but still great Pandora’s Box, As Strong as Samson, Fires (which Burnt Brightly), Beyond the Pale, and Simple Sister, while the couples in evening dress dancing on the floor seem like elegant choreography to the music, in contrast to the ‘rocker’ look of Geoff Whitehorn, lead guitarist, well supported by the rhythm of Matt Pegg and Mark Brzezicki. A fine evening, and as the finale the indispensable A Whiter Shade of Pale.
(The line under the photo describes GB as ‘Founding Father of Rock…)
trans. Martino C
Procol Harum concerts in 2004: index page