Procol Harum

the Pale

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Procol Harum at Canandaigua, NY, USA

17 June 2010 John Giblin for BtP

John Giblin (President of United Graphics in Buffalo, not the bass-player in the mid-80s Gary Brooker band) writes to BtP (June 2010)

Procol Harum was the first band I discovered on my own.  I had an older brother who was into The Beatles, Stones, The Who, etc and I listened to and liked those bands (and still do).  But when I was about twelve years old I heard Conquistador on the radio and was instantly connected to it.  I saved up and started buying Procol Harum records, working my way back thru' Broken Barricades, Home, A Salty Dog, Shine and Brightly and Procol Harum.  Continuing forward with the band thru' Procol's Ninth.  

I have had a list of bands that I have wanted to see a musical 'bucket list' of sorts, dating back to my teen years, bands I really wanted to catch live, a least once.  All of the other bands on that list had been checked off: from The Stones and The Who ... to Kinks ... Clash ... and on and on.  But the band that was at the top of the list was never checked off. 
I finally got the opportunity to see Procol Harum last night and they did not disappoint.  I knew, as the opening band, their set would be abbreviated.  But they came out and instantly sounded perfect and kicked their way thru' old and new ... obscure and hits, and seemed to be having a great time doing it.  Gary Brooker was in fine voice: he sounded as good as he sounded on the many bootlegs I have listened to of Procol Harum from the 70s.  Whitehorn was amazing!  The rest of the band was incredibly tight.  
I have seen comments on the net like 'they shouldn't do Simple Sister without Trower' or   '......certainly isn't as good on the Hammond as Matthew Fisher'.  But it doesn't matter: these guys can play whatever they want as Procol Harum because they are Procol Harum. It was obvious to me last night that they love playing together, love the music and work to both make it sound like the original, and also make it their own. 
I did not see the Procol Harum of 1970, but I saw Procol Harum: a living, breathing, vibrant band that can play amazingly well together.  I hope they make it back to the States soon and can keep playing as long as they want to.  I crossed them off my 'bucket list', but can't wait to see them again.  I only regret I cannot make it to Toronto tonight to see them.

Thanks for your wonderful website, setlists and reviews.

Thanks, John

Procol Harum concerts in 2010: index page

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