Procol Harum

the Pale

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Notes from Lillehammer, Norway

Bob Lawrie / Per Hermansen for BtP : 27 May 2006

'Nothing but the truth' (well at the very least, my opinion) 

Procol’s performance Saturday night at Lillehammer was unusually strong: a combination of strong individual performances and a strong (some might say surprisingly so) set list. Had I seen the set list, which was dominated by pre-1970 material, prior to the show I might have been slightly disappointed given I generally prefer post-1970 Procol. However, this version of Procol has freshened up the older material nicely and as One-Eye mentions in his CNN-style on-the-spot reporting, Kaleidoscope in particular was exceptional (caused me to dial up my iPod the next day and re-visit the original).

The other personal highlight was the driving version of Toujours l’Amour (my post-1970 bias showing, no doubt). Other notables were Something Following Me and Conquistador … my son’s favorite. So what was missing? Only another 90-minute set of Simple Sister, Whaling Stories, As Strong as Samson ... .Certainly the enthusiastic crowd was looking for all of this and more (sorry could not resist).

As for the players, Mark (an apparent improvisation with a metal serving-dish in Salty Dog) and Matt were rock-solid – easily said, hard to do. Geoff’s guitar work always serving the song, never vice-versa and Gary, (despite early monitor troubles) in excellent voice. particularly on A Salty Dog. Special mention, though, to Josh Phillips. With all due respect to Maf, Phillips has firmly taken over the Hammond chair: pushing, coaxing and forcing the most of his Hammond. A dynamic performer, he has made this version of Procol as much fun to watch as to listen to.

Special thanx to Jens et al for assisting some Fellow Travellers.

Robert Lawrie

Gary changed the lyrics on Toujours l'Amour from the original: 'a French girl has offered to give me a chance' to 'a French girl has offered to teach me a dance'.

A really great performance and a very exciting set list from the best Procol Harum band I've ever heard. They played tight as the walls on the Cheops pyramid. Big laughter on the face of everybody on the stage. Josh was rocking on the organ and his solo on Conquistador was outstanding.

Very funny to watch Mark and Josh before the concert when they received the setlist. Mark had to find his notebook in the bag and sing one of the songs for Josh (I guess it was One Eye on the Future?) The setlist included of course a lot of surprises, maybe some surprises for the musicians as well?

This was the second time I heard One Eye on the Future live (first time Sandefjord, Norway, 1976) and I hope this tune will make its deserved place on a record one or another time. We need a big Procol Harum box set now! Gary, please!

Per Hermansen


Procol Harum concerts in 2006: index page

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