Procol Harum

the Pale

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Procol Harum at Longwood Gardens, PA, USA

Jenice Celebre for BtP Wednesday 16 June 2010

A beautiful garden filled with the extraordinary music of Procol Harum

My dad and I arrived at Longwood Gardens while it was still daylight to stroll around and take in the beauty of these lovely gardens before Showtime. As we approached the entrance to this open air theatre Renaissance took the stage, a band I was not familiar with but truly enjoyed. After they performed and a short intermission the moment I was waiting for was upon me !

Procol Harum entered the stage to a screaming crowd ! Dad and I had the pleasure to see them up close from our fourth-row seats as they opened to a powerful (Outside the Gates of ) Cerdes. There I sat, not believing I am here listening to and seeing a group (in my opinion) of some of the most talented musicians of all time! A phenomenal band (that is still sadly overlooked by the Rock and Roll Hall of Shame).

I could not get enough of their fine arrangements: Grand Hotel was one of my favourites of the evening (after the show Josh informed us that tonight was the first time in eight months that they performed Grand Hotel, unrehearsed!) It sounded great!

The whole show was incredible including Sister Mary which Gary introduced as a new one (can't wait to hear the new recordings, hopefully released later this year). And Whaling Stories just amazed me. I wanted more as I knew the show was coming to the end with A Salty Dog and Conquistador, with more standing ovations from the audience! With plenty of screaming out for more, Procol gave us an encore with Whisky Train to Geoff's wonderful guitar work and a thunderous drum solo by Geoff Dunn! Then their signature song of course, A Whiter Shade of Pale.

I feel so honoured and privileged that I grew up listening to this fine music by Procol Harum. As my father passed it on to me , now 27, I will pass it on to my children: I'm expecting my first child as I write. He kicks when I play Procol music!

Once the show ended my dad and I were fortunate enough to go to the after-show party to meet with my inspirations and chat with them for a while .It was a pleasure meeting Josh Phillips for the first time. He is a really nice person, and Matt Pegg is just the sweetest guy. I could not believe I was face to face with Gary Brooker. It was he who inspired me to play piano. It takes a lot of talent to compose music for songs like Whaling Stores and In Held 'Twas in I to name a couple. Although Procol didn't perform Barnyard Story this evening , they did at two of the four shows my dad saw. He said it sounded fantastic. The way Gary added in the bridge is pure genius! My mom said at the Atlantic City show it brought her to tears.

After chatting a little more they were kind enough to take a few pictures with my dad and me. We would like to thank them for their generosity and kindness and inviting us in ... now it's back to our hotel with a lifetime of great memories!

Thanks Guys: you're the best!

By Jenice Celebre and my Dad Gary too.

Procol dates in 2010

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